Roy and I began our day fishing the Block 69 rigs just out from Flatboat Pass on the east side of the river. With the sun just starting to creep above the horizon, we began heaving Carolina rigged shrimp and croakers around a few of the rigs.
While Roy typically prefers croakers this time of year, it was the shrimp that were most productive on this particular day. We were hooking the shrimp through their last tail segment and casting them toward the corners of the rigs.
"There have been a lot of big fish come off these rigs in the last few weeks," Roy said, as we eventually gave up our search for a giant on the man-made structures so we could move to some of the beaches. "Let's go try to get our numbers up, then we'll move to some offshore stuff again to try for a big one."
It was evident that there would be lots of trout on the beach, as the baitfish action on the surface of the water was intense. Mullet were flipping everywhere. Pogy slick were popping up along the entire stretch. And the frequent slash of some kind of predator fish could be heard as we rigged up our popping corks with chartreuse sparkle beetles, H&H cocahoes and Deadly Dudleys.
Our corks almost immediately started going down, and our numbers started increasing. While these weren't the trophy fish we were looking for, they were solid 2- to 3-pound fish. Roy informed me that if we had started at the beach rather than on the rigs we could have slammed these same fish with topwater walking baits, like Top Dogs and Zara Spooks.
Still in the big-fish frame of mind, Roy suggested we pack it up and ride out to an offshore sandbar that was shallow enough to form some crashing surf above it.
"We've been doing well fishing the corks right in the surf," he said as we started lobbing our plastics into the waves. "There have been some really big fish here, but there are also some big sharks. Just a couple days ago, we had some trout get bitten in half as we were reeling them in."
This particular bar produced a few trout and a couple bull reds, but Roy still wasn't satisfied, so we moved to another nearby bar. This time, there wouldn't be any more moving until we were finished.
We began casting purple/chartreuse and black/chartreuse H&H Cocahoes on 1/2-ounce jigheads right on top of the bar. If the trout didn't pick it up as soon as it hit the water, they would grab it as soon as it hit the bottom. The 4- and 5-pound trout parade began.
"It's hard to argue with all these big fish," Roy said, realizing that knowing what lived on the offshore structures had spoiled him to what other anglers would give anything to catch on a consistent basis. "I had one I know was at least 10 pounds get off right at the boat the other day. I thought it was a big red, and when I realized it was a trout it was too late."
Our bulging ice chest was evidence enough for me that the trophy trout parade at Venice is still marching on.