Too weak to resist the tug

Alright, I admit it.  Last night I totally succumbed to the "I just want to put a bend in the rod" mentality.  Usually, I try and cull bigger fish and move on when I find schoolies under 25", but tonight, I just couldn't walk away from the action.

I showed up just as it was getting completely dark, around 7pm, to a South Shore spot.  I wanted to keep things relaxed, just walk a bit, and enjoy the light and variable wind conditions.  It was full high-tide, which gave me access to good structure, but forced me to walk in soft sand.  This was actually OK by me, since I haven't been running or biking at all- I needed to do a little work.

It was a beautiful: clear but moonless, and there was a nice 2-3ft swell rolling in making white water at the beach lip.  It felt like heaven.

I went one way at first, picking my way along the shore with my big 3.5oz Gibbs Danny in "just white".  It's the same plug I caught my 40#+ fish on.

I went probably a half hour without a hit.  And as I was starting to get a little nervous no fish would be around, I felt a tap.  No fish, but about 10 seconds later I had a hit almost in the wash and landed a 28" fish.

Literally the next cast pretty far out I had a really nice hit, I actually heard it- it was calm enough throughout the night I heard sporadic pops as schoolies took bait off the surface.  I hooked up and had a very fun fight with what turned out to be a chunky 35" fish, probably just under 20lbs.  In the wash she actually came off.  But here's the level of my committment: I dove into the wash and ended up on my knees hugging her to shore.  I laughed at myself, it was an automatic reaction I didn't even think about it.

I wanted to take a picture, but there were people around (fishing?  I'm not sure) so I was relegated to just letting it go after a moment of appreciation.  I'm not letting people in on teen bass.

After that I just walked around fishing various points, rips, holes, etc.  I had a slow pick for a while, maybe 3-4 fish over the next hour, hour and a half, on a variety of plugs.  I tried to keep them big, but did throw the SP for a few minutes and landed 1 smaller schoolie- 23"?  I also used the Maine-iac metal lip, a RM smith metal lip I just got, a super strike needle, a tsunami sand eel, and the savage gear glide bait.  The latter yielded me a 26-27" fish.

I then found myself in an area with sand eels, or they were there before this last weekend.  I snapped on a sluggo and had hits immediately, but after 4 casts still hadn't landed a fish.  Schoolies.

I had a choice to make: move on and look for bigger fish (they were probably around after all) or just stay with the sure thing.

I couldn't move on, I just didn't have the will power tonight.

So I stayed with the sluggo and landed 4 or 5 schoolies in the 22-26" range over the next hour.  It was exceedingly frustrating though, because I was getting hit every cast, or there about, but only landing fish maybe every 10 casts.  I put on a small Big Ed needle, and they wouldn't touch it.  SS needle: wouldn't touch it.  SP minnow did yield me a couple fish, one was in the cookie cutter 2011 age class, so like 25", but I was going even longer between hits than with the sluggo.

I put on a small bunker metal lip I just got used online after they destroyed my sluggo and I was unwilling to give them another.  I landed 1 or 2 more fish on this, one was borderline keeper but wasn't.

Then, it was over.  I don't know if the water got too low, or the fish moved on, or what, but when I went 15 casts without a hit, I switched one last time to the big Gibbs, had no hits, then the Savage glide bait for a few casts, no hits, and decided to call it a night around 11:15PM.

Still, even with my giving in to the schoolies, I caught something like 13 or 14 fish, with one decent fish and another small keeper, in 4 hours of fishing.  I can't complain about that.