Tales From The Tupperware Navy By: Bruce Butler

Welcome back Yak fans. Woo-Hoo, I made it to 2019–who would have thunk it. I miss-spent so much of my youth, I was in deficit spending before I hit 21. But here we are.

I hope each of you had a wonderful Christmas, and I guess we’ll see what the new year brings. World peace is probably asking a bit much, so I’ll settle for great fishing. Oh, and if I get my wish, I’ll share (lol)!
While on that subject, the Hernando snook reports are the best in years. Up and down the coast, line siders in all sizes are showing up. Let’s hope it’s a mild winter. I’d love to see them hang around.

It all began on a winter day way back in 2018–you know last week. On a trip to one of my favorite spots, I hit the water around six am to be in position for an early negative seven tide. So, here I am in the perfect position at day break with a mile of grass flats exposed in front of me and there wasn’t a fish to be seen. I was expecting to see tailing reds, black drum, and sheepies everywhere (as they have been in the past) on a tide like this at this time of year. So, here I am. Dead calm water and I could see for a mile. What I saw was nothing–no tails, no movement. Like Charlie Brown used to say “good grief.” This horrible fate continued through the outgoing and into the turn of the tide and I’m getting frustrated. I mean “come on, where could they be?”


My savior was the incoming tide. As it came up, the fish arrived. First to show were the reds back in the creeks (I think those buggers were there all along). I picked up a 29-inch and a 22-inch. Then the rats and puppies (small reds) went back to the outside. Now, the trout decided to make their appearance as well. So, after months of saying fish the outgoing to the turn, the bite turned on me to the low to mid incoming and I was still catching fish toward and past the high. I’ll keep you posted cause this ain’t normal.

As the tide started to really rip (remember this was a negative seven day) I rode it back in the creeks and the fun really began. As I approached one of my drum holes, I noticed some surface activity. This is normal with mullet around. I got in position, dropped a line and picked up a couple of black drum and mangroves. On the third drop, I left it toward the bottom and decided to investigate that aforementioned surface activity. I flipped my trusty Spook Jr. out and immediately got nailed by a snook, and then the fun began. Every cast was getting blown up on and, in the end, I missed a dozen, hooked 14 and landed 11, all in the lower 20-inch to 24-inch range. Folks, this just doesn’t happen in Hernando county–at least not that I’ve heard. Just then, that line I’d been ignoring took off and I landed an inshore goliath grouper–what a day.

So, with a horrible beginning came a memorable ending. Paddling back, I tried to remember if I caught two or three small reds. Who knew it would matter later. Anyhow, I guess I’ll call it a 4-slam day (trout, red, snook) as well as black drum, sheepshead and mangrove snapper. I think I’m going to like 2019 if this was any sign of things to come.

Until next time, tight lines. Bruce