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Expectations were high after a week of warm days and mild evenings. With water temperatures on the rise and spring in the air the bite surely had to have turned on.

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Bait was plentiful at the <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /><st1:place w:st="on"><st1:PlaceName w:st="on">Skyway</st1:PlaceName> <st1:PlaceType w:st="on">Bridge</st1:PlaceType></st1:place>, nice white baits and pinfish filled our cast net. On one toss I was sure I scored big time as the net was heavy and I could fill the vibration coming up the line signaling frisky baits. To our amazement the net was full of grunts there had to be 300! Once prior to my surprise I had a similar scenario only the net was full of beautiful angelfish.

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On Valentines Day first mate Chris brought along his lovely new bride Samantha, its clear who wears the pants in that family! We were exploring <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:PlaceName w:st="on">Tampa</st1:PlaceName> <st1:PlaceType w:st="on">Bay</st1:PlaceType></st1:place>’s eastern shoreline for Sunday’s charter. Expectations were high, with decent moving water that was now hovering near 70 degrees the snook bite had to be back on. In the first 30 minutes I had my baits crushed twice but lost both fish after a very brief hook set. You all know the feeling as your drag screams only to stop as fast as it all started. I was on the bow when I heard a loud commotion at the stern. Looking back I saw Chris was onto something big, really big. The fish was not coming up and was displaying huge head shakes which we new had to be a bruiser redfish. Chris got the first glimpse and I all heard in a panicked voice was get the net get the net! As I dug out the net I got my first view of the fish and as suspected it was a redfish but no ordinary redfish this was huge more typical of the bull reds taken during the spawn near the beaches or on <st1:State w:st="on">Florida</st1:State>’s other coastline near <st1:place w:st="on">Cape Canaveral</st1:place>. The bull red took one look at Chris and was off again. The 4<SUP>th</SUP> time to the boat the red was still fighting and as it rolled off the stern the line went slack! Sadly no happy ending with what would have been Chris’s biggest red that had to push 40”. Collectively the boat slammed on Saturday with redfish, snook and trout all caught.

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Sunday we picked up our clients Jason and Stan at 9am with plans to duplicate much of what we did Saturday. First stop first bait Jason had a blow up on his bait but with the snook a little sluggish the baitfish quickly made its way to safety. We had another handful of strikes the next 30 minutes but nothing made its way to the boat. Our next spot provided an all time first for On The Mark Charters. Mr. X (name excluded to protect the innocent) was on the bow casting to nearby mangroves all of a sudden on Jason’s next cast he went with the rod. Oops did I say JASON! It appears Jason got so excited when we saw 4 nice snook cruising by he decided to join them. We quickly retrieved Jason no worse for wear just a little chilly. Now that he was safely on board with had another problem as Stan could not stop laughing. You had to be there as this was absolutely hilarious. By the way if anyone is trying to call Jason you may want to wait a day or two while his phone dries out. I digress, back to the action or lack there of. Jason managed a small snook before we made another move. Stan again had several hits and lost a snook in mid air. Jason had a solid hit as the evidenced by the drag screaming but the fight was over very quickly. Toss in a handful of ladyfish and it was a slow day overall.

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The fishing was not good but the company was great which is what it’s really about. Jason, Stan thanks for spending a Sunday afternoon with us.

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