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The night time fishing has been red hot lately and I've been pushing a few folks to try their best to get in on a little bit of this action before it slows down.

Got a phone call from good friends Randy and David to set up a little night time excursion for Friday night and Saturday night/ early morning.

Friday afternoon arrived and Randy and David showed up with their friend John and his 14 year old son Alex in tow in time to witness a beautiful sunset.

Expectations were high and the anticipation was killing everyone as I retold the stories of the past 3 nights. I finally got everyone to think about resting and we hit the sack at 9:00pm for a quick nap before the festivities.

Up and at 'em at 2:00am. We hit the water to a 10 - 12 mph south breeze and made an uneventful ride to our first stop of the night. At least I thought it was uneventful when I felt that mild dragging sensation as we ran thru some skinny water on the way out. More on that later.

We eased out of the boat with our headlights on and slipped into the dark waters and witnessed the streaky illumination afforded by the startled mullet in their headlong rush thru the bio-luminescent creatures which were thick across the sandbar.

The five of us scattered in different directions with instructions to return to the boat in about 1 1/2 hours to see what kind of pattern developed. I immeadiately hooked up with several nice fish topped by a solid 24"er all on red/white Super Spook Jr.

I headed back to the boat at the alotted time and met up with David. After talking with him, it seemed he was having only limited success so off he headed in a new direction. Meanwhile, I angled over to meet up with the rest of our party and came across a ridge in the sandbar where the water depth changed from knee-deep to nearly waist deep in just a couple of steps. Seemed like a good ambush point to me so I stepped back on the shallow side and proceeded to work the area over with my topwater.

In about 15 minutes, I was rewarded with a silent explosion and heavy racing pull on the line. I instantly knew this was a good fish. I fought her for several minutes and the strength of this fish told me she might be even better than I expected. The only question left in my mind was just how big was she?

As I felt the strength sapping out of her and as the runs became shorter and less furious, i took a moment to switch on my headlight to finally gat a look at my prize.

Wow! It is always so amazing at night to turn on the light and see the reflection on those silver sides. This time was no exception. And what silver sides these were. This fish was easily the largest I have caught at night on topwater easily topping the 30" mark on my rod. Instantly I went into CPR mode.

I waded the short distance back to the boat easing the fish along in the water still attached to my topwater. I called for David to assist me in taking a pic so I could release her ASAP.

As I arrived at the boat, two things had my attention. Just as I arrived at the boat, the big fish let loose with one last burst of energy and much to my chagrin, the hooks slipped from the corner of her mouth. A little early on the release but she was back where she belonged nonetheless. Second thing I noticed was my boat was sitting awful low in the water.

My first thoughts were that I may have knocked a hole in the bottom but the first thing I did was check the plugs. Sure enough one was missing. I absolutely remembered putting all the plugs (5) in my boat and I remembered the little dragging sensation I felt on the trip over and figure I must have run over a drum line or something in the water that pulled the plug out.

Fortunately I carry extra plugs and I told David I was going for a little spin to let some of the water drain and replace the plug. Took almost 20 minutes and I still didn't have all the water out but enough to keep us afloat and in good shape.

We regrouped and saw that as a group, the fishing had been pretty slow this night but we weren't done yet. David did manage some nice fish and one I saw him land, he conservatively guesstimated to be around 28". Although from my position, it looked a lot bigger than that. I'll let him tell that story though. He released her not wanting to drag her all the way back to the boat for a pic.

We moved to our second wading spot but only managed to pick up a few dinks so it was off to do a little drifting over deep rocks.

14 year old Alex was having a tough trip so far with only a couple of dinks to show. He was a real trooper as he continued to grind it out non-stop through the morning. It finally paid off in a big way as he snagged a "rock" that started shaking its head violently and swimming at an angle towards the boat. We couldn't tell right away how big she was until she finally stuck her head in the air and did her best to throw that fire tiger assassin out of her mouth.

Alex finally brought her beside the boat and I had the honor of lifting his new personal best into the boat. WTG Alex! Here is the beautiful 24"er shortly after landing her.

Alex wasn't satisfied with this one fish and 30 minutes later joined his Dad on a double hook up. Both fish were landed, Alex with a solid 25 1/2"er improving on his personal best and just a tad larger than his Dad's fish LOL.

And he wasn't through yet. Just mere minutes later he set the hook on his 2nd upgrade of the day and welcomed aboard the best fish of his short fishing career, this beautiful 26 1/4" big girl. Awesome accomplishment Alex!

And the release

We finished out the day with 10 nice fish of which 8 were over 20" and 6 of those were over 24". Not a bad night on the water. Looking forward to fishing with the new prodigy again real soon. Remember to practice conservation and just keep 5. Later, Aubrey


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It is an UGLY, UGLY story

I had just done a 250 yard power wade to get to the boat to get a picture of Aubrey's 31. As he went to empty the boat of water, I moved off a couple of hundred yards to the sand bar we had been fishing. Aubrey followed about 20 minutes later and set up about 50 yards from me on the right. My Skitterwalk Jr was flushed right at dawn, and before I knew it, I had a large fish in my hands. It was the uggliest spec I had ever seen. The bottom of it's tail was cut off, and it looked like it had been hit before by a dolphin. The color of the fish was quite washed out. I quickly measured it from the butt of my rod to the first guide, and it was about 4 inches short.

Being that I was physically exhausted from wade fishing since 3AM, and that I had done the power wade just a few minutes before, I hollered over to Aubrey, held up the fish, and released it. He asked how big, and I told him 26. Afterall, I believed that my rod measured between the butt and the guide 30 inches.

We rallied back at the boat an hour or so later. It was there that he told me that he thought that it was bigger than 26. I told him no way, as it appeared about 4 inches short. He held up his rod against mine, and noted that the guide on my Falcon was about 4 inches further up the blank than the first guide on his Castaway. We pulled out the stick, and the distance between the butt and the guide on the Falcon was 34 inches.

This was the fish that I had been looking for, and it was gone in a flash, with no documentation. It just wasn't my day.

It was a great trip however, and nothing beats the thrill of catching big trout on topwaters in the dark. Thanks Aubrey for taking us out and wearing our tails out.

And by the way, that is not a wig. LOL @ Alex! Congrat's on 3 personal bests!
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