Again, won't know if you don't go

Friday I got "stormed" out and couldn't head out.  Well, that is, I didn't because by the time the storms had passed it was 1;30 AM and I had given up.  I could have- and should have- gotten up early and gone out looking for some surface feeds.  But by the time I gave up re-freshing the weather app on my phone it was 12:15 and I just went to bed.  Figured I give it a go on Saturday night, since it's been terrible, and it's SUPER SUPER hot, 1x a week is probably enough casting practice anyways.

So anyways I won't go into how silly I was on Saturday but, yes, I did run for a few hours in the blazing heat, so I was pretty cooked and ended up dragging my feet.  I was so close to just bagging the whole weekend and doing something different.  Again, long story short I didn't leave the house until much later than I had planned.  It ended up being fine, because the storms didn't blow through until ~10PM.

I hit the surf right as the storms blew through.  There was a truck where I park, and two dudes chumin' it up talking fishing.  I HUSTLED just in case they wanted to chat with the new guy in the wetsuit.

When I took my first cast, there was still some "rile" to the water.  But it was relatively calm.  I hucked out the my SS darter yellow-over-white, as an automatic reaction to the conditions.  I fished it for...20 minutes?  Nothing.  My lowly confidence was even lower now.  What a season.

OK, time to change it up.  Find a profile that's much different.  Snap on a Mag-Darter.

First cast, maybe 30 feet from my casting platform, BANG.  The water explodes as the little lure is hammered by fish as it rose towards the surface.  This happens a lot- the line angle changes and it pulls the fish towards the surface, and then seemingly as you're about to pull it out- boom.  Right?  If you fish at all you have experienced this I'm sure.

Anyways, the fish took off into the current.  Drag!  Guys, my drag was going FINALLY.  I laughed out loud.  I tussled with the fish, it washed past me, pulled it back etc.  Got her in, what a beauty.  I thought she was about 28" but when I measured her up against my tape marks on my rod she ended up "taping out" at ~31".  Took me a second to get all the hooks out of the fish, and I'm afraid her eye might not be the same (did my best) but she swam away with a strong kick into the warm water- I wanted a picture but she had other ideas!

Next cast, BANG fish on right in the same spot.  This one seems significantly smaller, but when I get her in she initially looks about the same but "tapes out" on the rod at 28" +/-.  Another keeper sweet.  Stealth picture above.

Few casts later, but further out, another nice hook up.  Fight her aggressively in the warm water (30lb braid but an 80lb leader- testing it out) and she puts up a great fight.  This fish also tapes out at 29-30".  A decent night, finally.

I think...maybe it's just the tide stage now, the incomings really moving now.

So I tried things that had similar profiles- 6" swim shad, small savage gear freestyler- and had no hits.  I tried an SP minnow too, and had a few little taps but no hook ups.  Snap on the Mag darter- first cast I get a hit, third cast I hook up with a ~26" schoolie.  Guess they're into the Mag darter!  This happened last year too in the fall with peanuts in the water.  The Mag is a dynamite peanut imitator, so maybe that's why?

Anyways, then I went a while with no hits.  So I tried tons of different stuff from 4oz wood lures to 1/2oz bucktails.

Then, just for shits and giggles, I put the Mag back on.  Instantly getting bids, but no hook ups.  Taps and such.  It seems they're super fussy.  So now what?

Try ripping it across the surface?

So I do that.

First cast doing so, another schoolie landed.  Pretty cool!

That was it for the night besides another couple taps.  Drove home SO HAPPY to just have a few keepers finally.  Really glad I went out.  Yes, I've only  been out 1x in the last 2 weeks, but I almost didn't go at all.  I have next weekend, then I can't get out until Mid-August.  That, hopefully, will be full blow peanut time and the start of bait bonanza time.

I am wrecked this morning from running and lack of sleep so I think I'll just do some fly fishing close to home tonight...