|Petie smiles as he
displays this catch.
true brotherly fashion Petie Bourg says to his older brother Jerry, you
gonna see if they're biting at Game Wardens Point? Nah, say's Jerry,
I think I'm a gonna head for the Cork Hole, I caught a nice mess of trout up there
the other day.
Petie is as nice a guy as you will ever want to meet. He
is the seventh son of 14 children of the Bourg family. He is a Viet Nam
veteran and made that tour about the same year I did, 1967, You'll know his
boat by name, yep, you guessed it, "The Seventh Son". I've listened to
Petie and his friends as they the plans for the days fishing and
almost always there's a lot of fishing hole names being bandied about.
Beside the two names mention above I have heard names like "The burnt camp",
or "The Redfish Hole", and the list goes on. When I hear people name their
fishing holes I wonder just how did they came up with that name. The one
named Game Warden Point, Hmmm....
I'm thinking now as I write of some of my favorite fishing
holes and of the many enjoyable hours I have spent at each one. I remember
one fishing hole in a bayou I lived on in central Florida that till this day
I refer to affectionately as "The Honey Hole", I have caught some nice 15 to
18 pound Snook there. My friend David Patterson and I fished that hole so
much we knew just when to be there. We knew to be there on a late
evening, outgoing tide would do the trick, fact is, we knew the best time
would be at about 45 minutes after the tide had turned out. When I first
moved to Florida back in 1983 we had rented a house on a canal that led into
this several hundred acre bayou. The only boat I had was a 14 foot aluminum
flat bottom that I used in the farm ponds around Fairburn, Georgia to catch
bass and a mess of bream. My son and I would paddle it out on the bayou and
because we didn't have a motor that would push us fast we had to fish every
spot and that's when I found we always caught fish in this same hole. Later
on I remember we had some company come down and I mentioned I had a "honey
hole", I would take them fishing at and guaranteed them we would catch fish,
when it was time to go back fishing, someone says let's go back to that
"Honey Hole", the name has stuck for years and all the friends I have ever
taken there call it by that name.
Does this sound familiar? Have
you ever named your fishing holes and if you do just how did you
arrive at the name? I think when you put a name to a fishing spot it
has to earn the name given. How much would you pay for a charter
guides fishing holes, it probably would be beyond reach in price and then I
wonder if he would really give up all of his fishing holes for any price.
After several years of living in Florida I finally purchased a 19'
Keywest boat and for the next 5 years or so we fished offshore waters off the Gulf of Mexico from
central Florida. We
would launch my 19' Keywest boat from Nick's Park in New Port Ricky, Florida.
We would head for the reefs that lay starting at
about 12 to 14 miles offshore, we caught some mighty fine Groupers there. It this part of Florida's West Coast the
water is shallow, and at 22 miles offshore we would be in only 49' of water.
I had a Loran "C" on the boat and I found that coupled with a good depth
finder leveled we the playing field when we were trying to catch fish
consistently. When we would find a reef that produced fish to our liking we
began to keep notes and to write down the Loran numbers. We would look at
the bottom structure and note what was down there, i.e., rocks, coral or
what we would call the garden bottom. We logged what we caught in this
spot and what bait we used. The time of year, day, tide and weather
conditions all played an important part in catching fish or going home with
an empty ice chest.
Here are a few tips that will help you locate and develop you own set of
"Named" fishing holes.
1.) Offshore Fishing: Never pass up a big
turtle while fishing offshore, you know the ones with a head the size of a
basketball, and they weight a couple hundred pounds. I have found they will always
be over structure. Stop, throw a marker out and press that event marker
button on your Loran or GPS as soon as the numbers on the Loran or GPS
settle down, I make this statement to those of you who are not aware there
is a lag in the position shown on your Loran or GPS, for instance if you are
doing 35 miles an hour and you press that button you may be as much as a few
hundred feet off the actual position. Let me tell you, a hundred off the spot
where the fish are will make a world of difference. To make up our markers
we used one of the empty gallon oil containers with a string tied to it, and
a brick on the other end, Hey, it works, wrap about a hundred feet of string
around it, "more if you're fishing deeper water" and you're good to go.
Drive around the marker and get a good look at the bottom, see what's down
there. You say, but how do I tell what's down there with a depth finder,
simple, find yourself a spot where you know what the bottom looks like and
remember what that looks like on your depth finder screen. If you catch a
piece of coral on your bottom fishing rig and pull that up, look at the
screen, remember that you're on coral bottom. Did the anchor come up with
mud, sand or a piece of coral, all these things can tell you what's on the
bottom. Learn what kind of fish hangs out in the sand, if you are catching
Squirrel fish then I'll almost guarantee you, you're on a sand bottom. If
you catch what you're after i.e., grouper, red snapper, look at the screen,
remember what's down there, make notes about all the conditions down there
and around you.
2.) Offshore Fishing: Never pass up those
deep diving birds that hang out offshore, you'll see them sitting on the
water and then disappear for a few minutes while they make those incredible
deep dives to the bottom. Some of them I have found over reefs as deep as 65
feet. These birds look kind of like Loons, I don't know what they are, but I
do know they have found us many a Grouper hole. Cormorants will also hang
out with them. I remember one day in about 55 foot of water we came across
several of these birds, so we stopped, threw out the marker and then tried
to anchor down over the marker. By the time I got the wind figured out and
the drift of the boat we were a 100 feet off the marker. I looked at the
depth finder screen and recognized we were on the sand, I kind of knew it
would be futile, but we baited anyway
with live Squirrel fish and went down to the bottom, not a bite. We said ,
before we leave lets at least get anchored on the marker. We did, and I
heard Jimmy Nix, my brother in law grunt at soon as his bait hit bottom, he
came up with a 16 pound Red Grouper "Gag". In a matter of minutes we had 11
fish in the boxes and that's all we had room for so we pulled anchor and
went home. Watch out for those birds, it works.
3.) Offshore Fishing: If you're in luck and
find a good reef to fish, but you're just not catching anything then
move to the very outside of the reef. I have found the larger fish seem to
prefer to hold just along the edge of the structure. I suppose they can dart
out from a hiding place there and catch the bait fish that prefer the sand
bottom, such as Croakers, and the like.
4.) Inshore Fishing: When fishing
inshore for such species at Speckled Trout, Redfish, Snook and the like, the
tides, time of year, day, weather and water salinity all play an important
part in finding your inshore fishing holes. I really like my notebook for
this sort of thing. I can note the conditions as mentioned above. If you are
catching fish, note what this hole has that other places do not. What is the
bottom like, is there an Oyster bottom, are there drop offs where the
current makes an eddy. What kind of bait fish do you see, is there a lot of
Mullet around. The tide movement, time of year and day are probably
the most important factors to note. Be sure to note the bait used and did
you do something special to the bait, i.e. did you tip you're lead head jig
with a piece of real bait such as a piece of shrimp, cut bait and the like.
With a little work you can develop your own set of "named" fishing holes and
have one for the morning, noon and evening all year long. The number one
thing I must mention here is if you happen to be staying at Ricky's Motel
and run into Petie Bourg tell him you read this article about his fishing
holes and he will be willing to share some of his secrets.