53 Inch Redfish Fight On Mosquito Lagoon

Capt Tony had been seeing big reds in a certain location in 2ft of water for a week or so but getting no strikes, still he called and ask me to go out and took me to the spot. After 10 or 15 minutes, shortly after daylight, we started seeing huge dorsal and tail fins. No hit, no hit, no hit, it was beginning to look like a dry run because they have been disappearing around 8am or so.

Then a slight tug and I let her take line for 3 or 4 seconds and reeled down on her. She took a few yards of line and turned back straight towards the boat with a bow push that looked like a submarine headed our way. Maybe 10 yards from us she turned away and screamed near 120 yards of line, enough that Capt Tony Kozloski upped the power poll so she would be pulling the boat but that still was not good enough so he turned on the trolling motor. Finally she slowed and stopped but would not give me line. Eventually we used the trolling motor to gain 50 yards or so and she was gone again, back out to the 100 yard line!

She started circling the boat and the Capt would use this opportunity to gain the length of the boat on her. Eventually she neared the boat and she dodged the net. With motors in the water on both ends of the boat I dropped the tip of my rod into the water so the line would not get cut on the keel and the Capt yanked up the trolling motor. I moved my rod tip under the water around the bow and was home free! It had both our hearts pounding for a bit. We brought her on the boat so the Capt could measure her, 53 inches, and take some pictures. When he touched the hook it fell out of her lip. We got her back in the water quick but it still took at least a half hour or so to revive her enough that the Capt felt she was strong enough to survive. It did not look good for a long while and I told Tony if she dies I would not be fishing for the big ones again. Lucky for me and unlucky for the big reds, I shall return.

This was an amazing 40 or so minutes that will be forever etched into my memory. Thanks Capt for a great day.

Testimonial by Ron Phillips