First off, sorry for not posting lately. No excuses other than me being lazy. I've been doing a lot of fly fishing, trying to get good at that. I figure in 7 or 8 more decades I might be able to catch a fish once in awhile. For now it's been a struggle. Anyway, back to the topic.
I normally don't fish live bait. In fact, I loathe it. It takes so much of the skill out of fishing and to me it's just boring. Yes, it's a VERY good way to catch fish, but I don't get satisfaction from it like I do with artificials. Also, there's nothing like a tarpon thump when you're pulling a big jig on braid... they hit like they're mad at you like you stole something from them. I love it. But last night... last night was different. There was whitebait absolutely everywhere. It was one of those days where you can feel it bumping into your lure as you retrieved it. I knew fishing would be tough with all that bait around so I reluctantly pulled out the cast net, grit my teeth, and threw the most beautiful Z shaped, almost banana looking pattern you've ever seen. Lol... I had to throw my 8' net because there was so much bait around I knew the 12' would be nearly impossible to get in the boat. The 12' I pancake quite literally 100% of the time I throw it, but that 8' net is typically a half moon at best. I just can't throw it anymore, most likely because I only bring it out a couple times a year. So I laughed at myself after my taco toss that I may as well have kicked in the water, started to pull it back to reload and throw... but it was full. Blacked out both livewells with the worst cast net throw I've seen in a long time. I'm not sure if that's bad luck or good, but we got bait.
Then came the fish. Tarpon ranging from 20-40 lbs, all on 3000 sized spinning gear, 10 lb braid, 30 lb leader, 4/0 circle hooks. We jumped 7, got 6 to the boat, had a blast. At one point I had one on and my guest started reeling his line in... I told him to leave it out so we could double up. We quickly did. So I got my fish off, and he's fighting his, so I start to tie on a new leader. I get tied up and he's still fighting his fish so I throw another bait out back and it gets crushed. So we had sort of two double ups in a row. We stayed for one more fish, caught it, then happily went home after a great night out... live bait or not.