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Fishing with Jason LeValley

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  • Don
    The first weekend in June, I participated in the Great Calusa Blueway Fishing Tournament. I didn t exactly set the world on fire with my catch, but I was
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 4, 2006
      The first weekend in June, I participated in the Great Calusa
      Blueway Fishing Tournament. I didn't exactly set the world on fire
      with my catch, but I was lucky enough to win a 1/2 day kayak fishing
      trip with Jason LeValley, from Angler's Outlet, in Cape Coral
      (www.anglers-outlet.com/). We met monday morning, at 7am, for our
      trip. Kurt, from the Sun and Moon Bed and Breakfast, in Matlacha, was
      kind enough to let us launch from his property - thanks, Kurt! The
      Sun and Moon was the site of the tournament, and he treated everyone
      like royalty - just like his guests.
      Jason offered to let me use one of his specially-rigged 13' Ocean
      Kayaks for the trip. I already had my boat on the truck from sunday's
      outing, and this is the boat I always fish out of, so I figured why
      not save him the extra effort. I did use one of his fishing rods,
      even though I had brought my own, and he said that we would use his
      lures, so I left my tackle bag at the truck. He also offered to
      provide cold drinks, but I'm used to providing for myself, so I did.
      His fishing rods were actually very similar to my own. Shimano 2500
      series spinning reel (NOT the cheap ones - 2500 covers a wide $$
      range) on about a 7' rod, with 20lb. Proline, tipped with about a 3'
      long 20 lb. flourocarbon leader. I use shorter rods - 5 1/2' to 6' -
      that's the main difference between our rigs. The extra rod length
      might give a slight edge in casting distance, whereas the shorter rods
      are a bit easier in tight quarters, fishing around mangroves.
      We launched from a little hole in the mangroves, right across the
      street from the Sun and Moon. This put us on a large open area of
      very shallow water, that was just loaded with mullett. Jason said
      that quite often, redfish were found with the mullett, so we worked
      the area with that in mind. He rigged my rod with a white bass
      assassin minnow on a weighted hook, and instructed me to give the lure
      plenty of action, by twitching it along the surface. We didn't find
      any redfish hanging out with the mullett, so we left that area after
      numerous casts, and only hooking up with a ladyfish - a small member
      of the tarpon family - quite a jumper.
      Jason told me that we would be working our way to a "lake" that
      was hidden away in the mangroves. On the way there, he told me to
      "streamline" my deck gear as much as possible, then he took me through
      a twisting, turning mangrove tunnel, that was worth the whole trip. I
      love that kind of stuff - Chubby Checker's "Limbo Party" playing in my
      mind as we passed under and around the mangroves. The route wasn't
      confused by possible side-routes, there being really only one choice
      of forks along the way.
      When we got to the "lake", Jason told me that snook could be
      caught pretty much anywhere on the lake, from the mangrove shoreline,
      to the middle of the lake. We paddled over to the windward side,
      where there appeared to be two possible tributaries under the
      low-hanging mangroves. I started working that area, after dropping my
      small anchor, to hold my position. After making about a dozen casts,
      fanning them around the area, I was just preparing to lift my anchor,
      to move on to another spot, when I heard splashing among the mangrove
      roots. It appeared that a snook had gone after something, and had
      gotten tangled up in the roots for a few seconds. The spot was just
      withing my casting radius, so I stayed put for a few more casts. In
      my third cast to the area, I hooked into a snook. He put up a good
      fight, splashing & head-shaking numerous times, and stripping some
      line from my reel, despite the heavy drag. I measured him at 26", and
      Jason's scale showed him to be about 4 1/2 lbs. He took a few
      pictures with his digital camera, and promised to e-mail them to me.
      I'll post them here, as soon as he does. We stayed in the lake for a
      while - catching a couple more snook, and Jason joined in the fishing,
      catching a couple of snook himself.
      I was surprised that there would be sizeable snook in the lake.
      It was very shallow - not much more than 3' deep at the center. There
      did not appear to be many baitfish there either - certainly no schools
      of them. We speculated that maybe they were there for shrimp, that
      might be hiding in the mucky bottom in the daytime? I thought that it
      might be interesting to go there at night, with a bright spotlight, to
      see if there were a lot of shrimp in there (their eyes glow in bright
      light). This time of year, though, you'd have to be part-blood-donor,
      part-masochist, even with bug spray and a full bug suit!
      Jason is a helpful teacher, answering all kinds of questions.
      Besides being a kayak fishing guide, he also offers other guiding
      services, and competes in area fishing tournaments regularly, keeping
      his skills fresh. If you might be interested in his services, you can
      contact Captain Jason LeValley at Angler's Outlet, in Cape Coral, or
      go to their website, at: www.anglers-outlet.com/ , or e-mail Jason
      directly at: captjasonlevalley@... . Angler's Outlet plans to
      start a "fishing school" in the near future.
      Don McCumber
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