Sunday, April 10, 2011

Ship Island Sheepshead

It's been a while since I've posted anything.  I was in the process of moving out of my apartment and into my new place.  Change of location got me closer to the beach and my favorite places to fish.  Thats good!

Just before I moved I went wade fishing on east beach to see if I could make the first hook up on my new fly rod.  Caught a little flounder.  Got a picture of it. However, there is no proof I'm on the other end.  I'm going to have to make sure I have a buddy to take my picture or figure something out.  We shall see.

Caught him on a Shrimp looking fly. Still don't know names yet.

I am lucky enough to have a US National Park in my backyard.  Gulf Islands National Seashore runs across the Mississippi Gulf Coast and into Alabama.  One of the pockets of protected land lie approximately 12 miles offshore on Ship Island.  You can catch a ferry from Gulfport Harbor to the Island and they let you off and your free to go and do whatever you want.  I grabbed my fly rod and went yesterday with my roommates.

Ship Island.  That fort and a few little shacks are all there is.
After stepping off the boat onto the dock, I headed for the west end of the island where the waves from the south and the north collide and crash.  The water was most turbulent there which seemed to be where the fish wanted to be.  The water was pretty clear (I think it could have been clearer but it was windy) and you could see fish cruising the surf. 

We had a point where a fish was cruising past my roommate Brian and he yelled across the beach, "Here Comes one."  And we chased it and casted at it.  It was very active compared to the fishing I'm used to.  Usually you just cast blindly at structure, or changes in current (which I also did, but).  It reminded me of Rabbit Hunting in Michigan when the snow falls.  You try and catch them running and when you see them, you shoot.  In this case, you catch them running and you try and cast in front of them soon enough to stop them and let them look.  It was fun, but INCREDIBLY difficult.  I have a lot of practice to still do learning to cast.

Unfortunately I was unsuccessful with a hook up on this trip.  I had a few shots where fish gave my fly a look.  One time, I was casting and just laid an egg. My line was tangled and laying 3 feet away.  I saw the fly fall to the sandy bottom and then out of nowhere, A sheepshead bolted in to get my fly which was tangled in leader and fly line.  He stared at the fly and took off.  Good thing he didn't hit.  Talk about a mess.

We did have one success story.  Brian was blind casting the north end of the island.  There the water was a little deeper and I had lost my polarized sun glasses so I couldn't see any fish.  I had pretty much gone on cruise control and was ready to head home.  I look back and his rod is bent over and he's laughing.  He hooked a sheepshead on a pink shimp looking fly he had.  He fed the line back through the eyes and the fish managed to go on several solid runs before he finally landed it.  It was an awesome experience and has me pumped to go back and finally get my hook up! 

Money. Just Money.
Because I have friends that have never seen what I think makes this fish really cool, I'm going to post some pictures from a year ago when I was fishing with a friend and caught a few.  They have human teeth.  They eat crustaceans and use these ridiculous looking teeth to crush shrimp and oysters and whatever else it is they eat.

Stick yo finga in there.

I want.  Two. 
So overall I'd say the day was pretty awesome.  I got some sun on the beach.  We caught a few fish, Andy caught some Hardhead Catfish that looked fun, but are just a pain and no pictures to speak of.  And overall, just let my soul marinate.  The barrier islands are a great place for that.

Go Blue!