Saltwater Keiryu, Cool Fish Slow Fishing

by Alan Luecke
(Kansas City, MO)

Southern Puffer

Southern Puffer

Southern Puffer Gulf Flounder Sheepshead Red Grouper

I just got back from a week in the Pass a Grille neighborhood of St. Pete Beach, Fl. Like the rest of the country the weather was an issue. Our flight was delayed three hours waiting on a storm front to clear. After the storm we had a chilly day and a week of cloudy water. No sight fishing for me, but suffering is relative. I fished four beautiful days in a very beautiful place and caught fish every day if not at the pace I hoped for. Big cold fronts are not the fisherman's friend wherever you are.

Pass a Grille is the very southern end of St. Pete's gulf beach. It's a mile long and one block wide with the Gulf on one side a wide channel with a sea wall on the other and a rock jetty on the southern tip. Small Pinfish and whiting (Gulf Kingfish) are fun to catch in the surf line with a light rod and some Isome Sandworms which hold up much better in the surf than real shrimp. The jetty is always full of spin fishers looking for Snook and Pompano but the rocks and corners around it always have something to catch. In Florida "always something" means Pinfish, the saltwater equivalent Green Sunfish. Fish are fish, especially when things are slow. And saltwater fish are stout. A Pinfish fights like a Smallmouth, just smaller.

There are two public docks on the bay side that give access to some structure and deeper water. They were a good place for me this trip. I love the surf but not much was happening there.

Twenty minutes away in Fort Desoto State Park I found a bridge over a small cut, or pass as the locals say, that had easy access and a constant tidal flow. My first two fish were new species! A new favorite place. The pass produced a Sheepshead, a Red Grouper and a Gulf Flounder and of course lots of Pinfish.

My rig for most of the trip was the Daiwa Kiyose 43MF with #3 level line, 5X tippet and a #10 Bonefish hook with AA shot and live shrimp. This is a capable and nice rod for bank fishing. I can cast it all day one or two handed without even thinking. I'm sure the shrimp I fed to the Pinfish were a significant addition to the ecosystem's protein content. They have an amazing ability to quickly clean a hook no matter how elaborately the bait is impaled.

On the docks I landed Pinfish, Mangrove Snappers, two Southern Puffers and another Flounder. I also had two very substantial feeling fish break me off very quickly, probably Catfish or Grouper. I reloaded with the Kyogi 18 and 0X tippet, but did not find anymore big fish. I debated everyday about using the 43MF or the Kyogi. The perfect rod most of the time or a less handy, heavier rod just in case. In the ocean you can always be instantly out gunned no matter what you bring. There is rumor of a Goliath Grouper under those docks.

Inshore saltwater is all about bait fishing, but just for the record I did catch a fish on a fly, a White Killer Bugger, naturally.

This was my third trip to Pass a Grille and it's always a different puzzle to solve. The Flounders and Puffers along with the Sheepshead and Grouper were new, but I didn't catch one Grunt which has never happened in Florida or Mexico. Next year it's the Kyogi at night for the big guys.

A special thank you to Vern B. who has become my identification specialist. Vern's an experienced birder and knows how to dig out the hard ones.

Comments for Saltwater Keiryu, Cool Fish Slow Fishing

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Apr 23, 2018
Beautiful Fish!
by: Les Albjerg

Alan - I always enjoy seeing your saltwater pictures and read about your adventures! Do you think saltwater fish fight harder than their same size freshwater brothers and sisters?

Apr 23, 2018
Hard fighters
by: Alan Luecke

Les-- they seem to. I'm always surprised that the fish aren't a little larger when I get them to the surface. I caught a large Pinfish (about 12"-13") that was the equivalent of any freshwater fish I've caught short of a carp.

Apr 23, 2018
brings back memories
by: bill piatek

Used to fish in that area once a year with UL spinning. They always seemed to fight harder to me, especially Jacks.

Apr 23, 2018
Attack of the Killer Saltwater Fish
by: Herb S.

Yes, guys, saltwater fish are much tougher than freshwater fish in my experience of 30 odd years of ocean fishing. And that applies to ANY fish in the ocean, as Alan found out with that big pinfish.
Alan, I also enjoy your saltwater posts. My wife and I try to get down to Florida each fall and early winter, but have missed it the past three years. We’ve been all over the state, including the Gulf side, but really like the east coast better which is much less crowded. So far I’ve mainly surf fished, with some pier action and a bit of bank bait dunking on inside waters. Melbourne Beach is our favorite area and we can’t wait for this November. Besides the usual spinning and baitcasting tackle this time I’m taking my Daiwa Kiyose 39SF and maybe the 33SF, too. The surf is a bit rough for keiryu but there’s plenty of access to the IRL (Indian River Lagoon) at Sebastian Inlet and other spots including fishing platforms along the causeways as well as small inside piers. I’ve tied up some flies and sabiki rigs to go with the bait hooks. Report pending.
Happy fishing,
Herb

Apr 23, 2018
Kyogi Time!
by: Les Albjerg

Herb - You ought to send that special email to Chris and order a Kyogi 15 for Florida fishing! I was making lines for the Kyogi 12 and 15 today getting ready for chasing carp in the trees this week, and the progression casting the Kyogi 15 is awesome, smooth, and balaned. It can be fished one handed, but is a dream two handed. In my opinion, the Kyogi 15 and 21 are the most balanced of the four rods. The 12 and 18 are a bit tip heavy, but very manageable. You won't be disappointed in the power of these rods! It will make the Daiwa Kiyose 39SF feel wimpy. I am sure you would enjoy tangling with smallies this summer in Michigan with the Kyogi 15 so you will be practiced up for fighting those saltwater fish in Florida! I love the Kyogi rods for bigger fish or deep nymphing! These are awesome rods!

Apr 24, 2018
Thanks, Les
by: Herb S.

I've been looking at the Kiyogi rods along with longer kieriu rods with 4X capability. The Suntech Kurenai Long 61 is really attractive and very light for its length. The Suntech Field MasterSuguru Long 63 is a bit longer with a lower price but heavier.

The question is: Do I want to target carp? The carp I see in the small rivers I fish are few between and extremely skittish. By the time you see them it's usually too late. Smallmouth and largemouth, on the other hand, are plentiful and a longer rod would be a benefit. A long keiryu rod would also be great for our larger trout rivers up north. So for now I'm sticking with what I have and saving up. But who knows? Maybe I'll get carp fever sometime? I really appreciate your advice; you've been there, done that and that makes your opinion very valuable.

Happy fishing,
Herb

Apr 24, 2018
PS, Les
by: Herb S.

I got carried away with thoughts of carp and freshwater where I do the vast majority of my fishing. You are advising Kiyogi rods for saltwater and I kind of skipped that.

Most of the posters on saltwater fishing here on TB are using lighter kieryu rods and going after smaller fish. The 39SF is beefier than those rods, so maybe I'm being a bit over gunned. But the 39SF is very compact and I'm already overloaded with rods. The machined rings on the butt sections I think will be a benefit in the harsh salty environment when it's time to break the rod down and clean it.

One of the things I want to try in Florida is catching bait for conventional fishing. But I mainly want to just go after the smaller fish for a change between surf fishing sessions. The area we're going to should be ideal for that.

Happy fishing,
Herb

Apr 24, 2018
More Bass than Carp!
by: Les Albjerg

Herb - I have caught way more bass (large and small mouth) with the Kyogi rods. However as Chris says in his review of the Field Master Suguru Long, "In the past, I have suggested a Suntech Keiryu Sawanobori as a nice rod for smallmouth bass. I think the stronger maximum tippet recommendation for the Field Master Suguru Long makes it a better choice." I would have to agree with him. Smallmouth on my Keiryu Sawanobori in the river has been more of an adrenaline rush than I care for! Chris also says in his review of the Fieldmaster, "I have not yet had a chance to fish with the 2H model, but the specs are very similar to the Field Master Honryu (now discontinued)." I have an 8 meter Field Master Honryu. It is a handful, but much needed for smallmouth bass fishing on the Snake River. The Honryu isn't rated for 0x, but it is a handful!

Have fun comparing rods! One thing I have learned is if you really look them over, and analyze your fishing environment, it will become very clear from Chris' write-ups which rod will meet your need (want). That is how I ended up with the Fine Power.

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