The 40-inch club is something most local anglers dream about. It usually refers to snook. But there’s an even rarer club that anglers find themselves in -- the 40-inch club for local redfish.
Capt. Griffin Deans recently joined the 40-inch club for redfish while captaining another angler to the 40-inch snook club.
As a captain Deans usually fulfills the request of his clients, but a suggestion of his own turned into a once-in-a-lifetime catch. On a late June trip, Deans was just about done for the day when the monster struck.
“We spent most of the day catching trout; the guys wanted fish to eat,” Deans said. “When we had enough I said, ‘Let’s see if we can go catch some snook.’ We went to Miguel Bay and fished the corner of an island. After catching a 25-inch snook I thought that was a good fish to end on.
“I put the Power Pole up and started the engine. Zoltan Fodor still had his shiner out and it started singing. The fish hit about 5 feet away from the mangroves and made a run about 100 yards through the channel. I kept idling it. It circled around the boat twice before I netted it. It was a big dog. I don’t event think the guy realized what he just caught!”
The biggest snook Deans had landed this year soon gave way to the biggest redfish he would land in his life. Like most water loving captains, he spent an off day fishing with family. This time he was the star.
“We were fishing for tarpon and they wouldn’t bite,” Deans said. “We changed plans trying some docks in the river but most had boats on them and nothing was there. We went outside rattlesnake and I looked on the sandbar where I saw a huge fish.
“At first I thought it was a shark or a cobia. We threw out some chum and it went crazy for them. I realized then it was a huge redfish, so I readied a bait, put it on its nose and it ate it instantly.”
With Deans on the rod the fish made some long runs: “I’ve never had to chase a redfish before, it just wouldn’t stop.”
After about a mile, the beast was finally landed. It was measured right at 40 inches and was Deans’ first of that size. And with slot limits and seasons, the best part is both fish were released to fight another day.