While recent strong cold fronts have been blowing many anglers off the water, a few fortunate anglers have sneaked out and found red monsters. In two completely different locations for an entirely different group of fisherman, gigantic redfish seemed to love the approaching weather, making for trophy catches.
For the crew of captains Steve Brownlee and Adam Reister, they found redfish between 43 and 48 inches when joining Capt. Mike Goodwine of Blackneck Adventures in Tampa Bay.
"We decided to go right before and fish during the front as that is when these fish love to feed," said Capt. Brownlee. "These are breeder-size fish and were in 4 to 13 feet of water."
The crew fished Friday morning as clouds, rain and storms pushed in with the approaching cold front from the Gulf of Mexico. The gamble to fish in the quickly changing weather paid off: The anglers landed eight monster redfish that put up a great fight on light spinning tackle.
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"The bait is the secret to knowing what these big bulls are looking for," Brownlee described. "They live in this area year-round and transition within a few mile radius. I think they live here because of the massive amount of bait."
The general area Brownlee speaks of? "That's a secret!" he said.
Less than 20 hours earlier but many miles away, a similar monster appeared offshore for angler Tony Destefano. He ventured out from Warner's Bayou Thursday afternoon in search of bottom fish, such as grouper, amberjack and snapper.
While fishing about 30 miles offshore in 96 feet of water over a swiss cheese bottom, Destefano thought he had a different kind of red on. His cigar minnow and live pinfish combo on the bottom resulted in a hookup that he will not soon forget.
"I thought it was the mother of groupers; it fought just like one," he said. "We had already caught a 15-pound and 24-inch red grouper. I knew it had to be something big."
The big surprise from below ended up being an absolute monster of a redfish, one longer than Destefano's 48-inch measuring stick on the boat.
"It was a few inches past the tape, probably about 52-inches total."
Another awesome display of why to always expect the unexpected while fishing.
One thing both trips had in common? All the monsters that were caught were released to make more in the future.