Tales from the Tupperware Navy By: Bruce Butler

Welcome back Yak fans, and happy 4th of July. The hot Florida weather is upon us. What I mean is that the flats are heating up. I’m talking about the water temperature. With that being said, the bite is still good, but planning is the key.

On recent trips I’ve found that you have to cover some area to dial in the fish. They’re moving around, and it’s like playing hide-n-seek. One day you’ll find them in a creek and the next day on the flats.
The best way to dial them in is with jigs (gulp glow shrimp 3 or 4-inch are working well), my trusty Zara Spook, spoons or even dead bait. As you approach an area, work these around you in an arc and watch for a reaction. A good strike is nice, but sometimes it’s just a swirl. When you get that, stop and work that area for a while. This method has produced some beautiful reds lately. On a recent trip, I hooked into three 27-inch reds in less than 15 minutes–and that my friends, is what it’s all about. The best bite has definitely been on either side of the low tide, whether on the flats or in the creeks. I know the flats guys in my area are struggling to find any reds lately. That’s why I love a kayak–it’s all about getting to where they are.

The other fish that seem to be everywhere right now are sharks. Black tips and sharp nose are nailing anything natural I throw out there. I caught eight the other day, and I wasn’t even targeting them. One was definitely targeting me though. A two-foot sharpie wanted to see how the trout on my stringer tasted and I actually hit him on the head five times with my paddle, and he still wouldn’t give up. The little bugger finally got part of one. He waited until I was landing a nice red and pulled a sneak attack. A 19-inch trout became a 16-inch trout while my back was turned.

This made the paddle back interesting because, as I went across the deeper water, all I kept thinking was, “Now I’m chumming, and where there are little sharks there are big sharks.” While I like to bring my catch in alive, on that day, I kept the stringer in my lap for a good part of the paddle. Let’s just say I hate surprises and, believe me, a big bull shark can take the fun right out of your day. That’s it for now. Have a safe 4th. God bless America, and see you next month.