32" Speck from Little Lagoon

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32" Speck from Little Lagoon

Post  Pier#r on Mon Jun 01, 2009 12:17 am



http://www.al.com/outdoors/mobileregister/index.ssf?/base/sports/124376130862580.xml&coll=3

A giant speckled trout among Alabama's Little Lagoon giant speckled trout
Weight of 32 1/8-inch speckled trout estimated at more than 11 pounds
Sunday, May 31, 2009
By JEFF DUTE
Outdoors Editor

In the 45 years Richard "Rock" O'Neill, 75, of Mobile has been fishing Little Lagoon, he's lost count of the number of speckled trout up to 5 pounds he's pulled from its often crystal-clear waters.

He is certain that he's caught at least a dozen fish weighing more than 6 pounds, with two of those fish weighing between 8cm HALF and 9 pounds. He also remembers the afternoon a few years back when he and friend George Hieronymus quit fishing when the first 10 specks they put in the boat weighed more than 50 pounds.

Two weeks ago, O'Neill said he astonished a neighbor on the lagoon when he pulled out a filet knife and began carving the thick slabs off of an estimated 7cm HALF-pounder.

"He couldn't believe it," he said.

O'Neill also emphasized he rarely kills big trout and that he's released untold numbers of roe-laden sow fish over the course of the four decades-plus he's fished the lagoon.

On the evening of May 24, however, O'Neill wrestled a fish of such size that there was no threat its filets would ever be released to the grease in O'Neill's house. The fate of those filets will be up to the taxidermist, but its mounted skin is destined for a place of honor on a wall, he said.

O'Neill had steered his small skiff to an area east of Little Lagoon Pass where dredging operations a few years ago to build up land for development on the lagoon's south shore had created a deep hole close to the bank.

He was using light spinning gear, 8-pound-test line and a split-shot rig, consisting of a small weight 15 inches above a No. 2 long-shank, light-wire hook to cast live shrimp toward grass lining the rim of the dredged area. The hole's sloped banks fall into 10-12 feet of water, he said.

O'Neill doesn't anchor, preferring to drift through an area while working as much of the grass edge as he can on each drift.

O'Neill said he'd caught a few smaller specks when he got a different kind of hit at around 6:30.

"He hit like a freight train, then came to the top and swirled a couple of times and I knew I had a biggie," O'Neill said, "but I didn't know what. I wasn't sure if it was a redfish or a trout.

"It zipped by the boat and at first I thought it was a redfish, then maybe a trout, but then it made another hard run and I thought 'Good God, that can't be a trout."

Finally able to turn the fish's head and work it closer in the fading light, he was able to positively identified the fish as a speck.
"It was at about this time I began to wish I had someone with me to help get it in the boat," he said.

O'Neill's apprehension over how he was going to land the fish proved justified when he finally got the huge fish boatside after a 10-minute fight.

"I had a heck of a time getting him in," he said. "Every time I'd get him close to the boat, he'd see it and take off again."

Just like Police Chief Brody wanted a bigger boat when he first saw the shark in "Jaws," O'Neill said he knew he needed a bigger net the first time he tried to get this fish in his boat.

"I was trying to keep his head up with one hand and get him in the net with the other, but he was so dang big he fell out of it," he said. "I really thought I lost him a time or two."

Using both hands to hold the rod and net together, O'Neill worked the fish into the net then quickly scooped it up and over the gunwale.

"All I could think was, 'Thank God, I got it in the boat," he said.

The fish measured 321/8 inches, O'Neill said, but he's not sure exactly what it weighed because he doesn't own a scale.

"A chart I have says a 32-inch speck should weigh 11 pounds, and since mine was an eighth-inch over, I figure it was somewhere around 11.5, 11.6," he said. "That's good enough for me, but I probably should have weighed it somewhere.

"It really doesn't matter what it weighed because it'll still be the biggest trout I've ever caught."

[size=85] 2009 Press-Register. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.[/size]

Pier#r
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Re: 32" Speck from Little Lagoon

Post  gulfcoastgamefish on Mon Jun 01, 2009 7:18 am

Thanks for posting this #'r, I was trying to not think about it much more since I have spent every fishing moment this year scouring that lagoon. Just Kidding. What a story. I heard about it at the end of last week and told my neighbors. They called BS and then saw it in the paper yesterday. What a story. 40 years fishing the lagoon. I told people there were nice fish in there. afro
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Wow

Post  Lagoon Lizard on Mon Jun 01, 2009 5:06 pm

Nice fish and it was so windy last week when we were there we had a hard time staying on the Lagoon.
Good job
LL
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Re: 32" Speck from Little Lagoon

Post  tom wicker on Tue Jun 02, 2009 3:25 pm

when I seen this I thought "OMG" but I didn't dare tell a soul I knew they would say old Tom is telling some fish tales
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big eater

Post  FloridaBroFish on Wed Jun 03, 2009 9:10 am

Looks like he ate every single one of those ladyfish me and Gamefish caught last week.
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Re: 32" Speck from Little Lagoon

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