I must start by making a correction this week. I called the Old Corundum Mill Site Campground a trailer park last week and got a lot criticism. It is actually a nice campground and good fishing so if you're in the mountains up around Franklin, N.C., it's a fantastic place to camp.
This week the tale I have to tell comes from a fishing tournament. I do not know the tournament's name, but it was designed to raise money for 4-H scholarships. It was a small tournament with only 20 boats participating. My son and his family were one of the boats.
If you do not remember, last Saturday was a nice day with one exception. The wind had returned in all its glory. It blew 20 to 25 knots. My son said this caused him to try places he had never fished before, just to get out of the wind. In the end, this worked out well, since it opened up new territory for him.
He was fishing the northern part of Pine Island Sound and Charlotte Harbor. They launched at the proper start time and went to work looking for bait. This was his first indication that the wind was going to be a problem. They couldn't find any bait. They do not know if the wind had stirred up the water on the flats so bad that the bait had gone to deeper holes or what, but he had to race back to the dock to buy shrimp. Then they started their trek again.
They fished wherever they could get out of the wind, finding small fish everywhere they went.
This tournament was based on the total length of fish you caught. Each team was allowed one redfish, two trout and one mystery fish. In this case, the mystery fish turned out to be a ladyfish.
Many tournaments will designate a mystery fish, and you do not know what it will be until the captainsí meeting the night before the tournament starts. The fish is usually not a prized fish, but one that is common locally. Thus, the ladyfish was chosen.
All the boats had to be back at check-in by 2 o'clock. So they fished hard all morning, with each of the grandsons catching a 24-inch redfish, one on the last cast of the day.
There were several other small redfish caught as well as trout, but no ladyfish graced their boat that day. So at weigh-in their total length was 55 inches. This was good enough for fourth place. Not bad.
I also have heard reports from the southern end of the county: Fort Myers Beach and the Estero area. There, fishing has been just as productive this week as the northern end. Having received no reports from the lower Pine Island area, I can only surmise that it should have been just as productive.
Though I did not make it out this week, I did get a call wanting to book a trip. During our conversation, I asked what he wanted to catch. His answer: big fish like marlin. After suggesting that if he really wanted marlin, he should go to the Keys, we parted ways. It is amazing to me the number of people who read the fishing magazines or watch the fishing shows and think we catch marlin everywhere in the state. If you are planning a trip out of the state, do your homework first and see what they catch where you are going, so you won't be disappointed.
With school coming to an end soon, start planning those trips with the kids. And wave when you see the Tar Heel.
Captain Sam O'Briant is a license local guide who may be reached at 994-1495, captobfishing.com, or Captainobriant@Gmail.com.