Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Fish not for dinner

Apart from speckled trout and redfish, time spent on the Laguna Madre will usually yield encounters with some other species. This last trip was notable for hookups with some unpalatable but fun fish, such as a few crevalle jacks, which are occasional visitors to the bay:

One of the Spanish nicknames for Jack Crevalle is "toro", a tribute to their strength. These ran right at ten pounds, which is about as big a jackfish as you want to tangle with on light gear. Much bigger than that and they'll just tear you up.

One day we spent nearly the whole time throwing topwater plugs and getting into the occasional trout as well as large numbers of skipjacks, or, to use the less local name, ladyfish:

While lots of fun to catch, they take a toll in gear. Sharp gill plates and abrasive mouths lead to cut-offs, even with a bite tippet. Poor man's tarpon, they jump off the hook about half the time, which is perfect- exciting strike and jump and no lost plugs.

More unusually, A got a hit on a topwater plug that led to a strong, fast run and stubborn fight. It turned out to be about the largest needlefish I've ever seen in the bay:

It's rare to hook one of these fellows, given their bony jaws and impressive dentition:

Note, too, that huge eye- the better to see you with, my dear- to be followed shortly by employment of all those teeth. Most the times, the needlefish you see back in the bay are about half this size.

One of the great things about fishing salt water is that you never know exactly what might turn up on the end of your line.

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