Cast Net Couture: There’s a Hole in the Bottom of the Bay

Screen Shot 2014-07-31 at 4.58.16 PM
[dropcap]B[/dropcap]y the time I got to where he’d marked, he was much further up the creek, and he was now in the general location of what we had always known to be the “hole”. Whenever we have previously fished this channel, there had always been plenty of water present to hide the features of the bottom. We had always known that the hole was there, and it is a deep one. But, even just a few inches of the water was so shallow that the kayak balked at moving. I slogged through the ankle-deep mush to retrieve the fish he’d laid out and walk them back to the kayak.

Reid declared that he wanted to move to the other side of the hole, toward the bank of the slough. In the gloaming, I suggested that he should wait for me to finish packing away the caught fish. Then, I’d grab my net out of the kayak and stand near him as he crossed through the hole to the other side. If, the hole was as deep as we suspected, and if the mire in the bottom would not allow him to swim, I could toss my net over him to pull him out. He agreed. A minute or so later, with me standing next to him, he charged off into the watery unknown toward the other side. He promptly went down into the swirl over the top of his head, virtually disappearing.

I was ready to throw my net on him when in a huge surge of adrenaline, he bobbed to the surface and charged through the muck up the other side, churning out of the hole and up the bank in one forceful movement. There is never a dull moment in pursuit of Mr. Mullet. He was soon pulling in two and three fish at a time on each cast from the opposite side of the hole. These fish were stranded. There was no escape. With the exception of the hole, there was no water left in this part of the Harbor. Fifteen minutes later, with the fishing was over, we had more than 35 fish in the box, along with the trout, flounder and one big red.

The sun was long gone and it was going to be a long drag in the shallow water back to the launch. I knew that most of the way back would be a walk, not a paddle. It took both of us to drag my kayak back down the mud-exposed creek bottom, loaded with a hundred pounds of fish. When we finally made it back down to the creek mouth, where his kayak was located, we rinsed the mud off the fish, and repacked them with fresh ice, dividing them up between each kayak. We then started the tug of war with each kayak to get them out far enough into the bay to be able to paddle, rather than drag them. In the main part of the bay, there was barely an ankle’s worth of water left, and the tide was still falling.

We stopped a few minutes later to rest, andItookacameraoutofmydryboxto catch the last rays of sunlight at the mouth of the Harbor. I asked Reid to position him- self between me and the dusky sky. When I loaded the pictures to my laptop the next day, I was amazed that the camera managed to capture pictures of my six foot two inch teenager-turned-man in silhouette again the darkening horizon. The day was spent, and so were we. There was still a 30 minute pitch- black paddle back to the launch where the truck awaited. The coolers were full of fish. My heart was full of memories.

Let’s get casting! Contact me at lostcreek- or click to join me on Facebook at The Wet Net Mullet Fishing Society group page. Castfully yours … Jeff Tilley