Archive for the ‘Fishing Journal Entries’ Category

Down southin’

Friday, January 14th, 2011

Made it back to the glades – finally – this past Tuesday, but a thick blanket of fog made navigating the tricky route through the inside bays pretty dicey. I ran a few sections using my GPS as eyes, which was spooky, and even when it began to clear off entire sections of shoreline would disappear for a time. The wet conditions and muddy water weren’t conducive to photo snapping, but I fired off a few. Sun finally came up…just in time to reveal muddy water and a tepid tide. Home I went. But I won’t complain. I was “down south” after a long layoff, a few fish came to the boat, and I drank in the solitude like an elixir.

Creek Crawlin’

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

Putting through Alligator Creek...which was indeed loaded with gators

Over the holiday break I had a chance to get back down into the Everglades—the perfect opportunity to let the new outboard on my little skiff stretch its legs. I followed my buddy Joe and his dad in his boat, and we wound our way through tight creeks and fished deep backcountry spots on a warm, breezy day. We caught our share of reds and snook, and the little skiff ran well. In a pending post I’ll detail the recent and long-overdue upgrades, since I know how much anglers enjoy discussing gear. In short, I’m back in the game—just in time for what is some of the best backcountry fishing of the year.

Wind-borne Reds

Thursday, July 22nd, 2010

I headed out solo this evening to try my luck on a nearby flat, knowing full well that the wind was cooking at 17 knots or so. Sure enough, the bay was chopped up and ugly, and I considered going home early before spotting a good school of redfish among the waves. I lost two big fish and then landed two thick, copper-sided reds that went back no worse for wear. The school was packed up tight and very aggressive, sending baitfish fleeing as they moved across the flat. I believe they would have hit anything that moved: lures, personal flotation devices, small barnyard animals, you name it. Their raw power was stunning; when they exploded on top they literally knocked the paint off my lures. Epic stuff on a windy evening…and uncanny timing given the latest fishing tip, below.

Ditch Fishin’

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

We gave the snook a deserved break this past week, opting to fish some remote canals for bass instead. Joe and I did just fine on bass and snook, and Abby and I fished a residential canal minutes from our home over the weekend and scared up a few fish. No records were set, but we took the first step toward a personal 2010 goal: to catch a peacock bass locally. We also brought PITA the Wonder Dog along for her first boat trip, and she showed angling promise. Sadly, we learned that some of the remote canals we fished will soon be filled in as part of the controversial Everglades Restoration Project. I’m sure these people’s hearts are in the right place, but the canals in question and the surrounding land are brimming with fish and other wildlife, including water birds of every stripe, otters, deer, alligators, and a host of assorted, furry critters. I’m doing my best to educate myself about the specifics of the plan, and I’d appreciate any insight our readers can provide.

A storm in a port

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

My buddy Pete and I tried to get out and chase some redfish and snook this past week, but Mother Nature copped a ‘tude again and, after about 20 minutes on the water, we were forced to run pell-mell for the dock to avoid being deep fried. Can’t recall a year with so many afternoon squalls over DependaBay. We’ll be back, regardless.

Summer pattern

Tuesday, August 18th, 2009

Two trips last week – one with MoJoe and Abby and another with my old high school buddy Brad. Slow going, with high, weak tides, lots of weeds that limited our plug fishing, recurring storms that chased us off the water and lots of big, fearless bull sharks in the shallows. Did manage a couple of healthy loner redfish between the raindrops. The sunsets at this time of year – framed by dark clouds rolling in from the Everglades – are at once beautiful and menacing.

Weather or not

Thursday, August 6th, 2009

On Tuesday evening Abby and I snuck out for a quick shot at some afternoon snook and redfish, but Mother Nature copped a major ‘tude so we languished at a nearby waterfront restaurant, discretion kicking valor to the curb. Not a bad backup plan. Today we gave it another shot with my buddy Joe in tow, and the weather was more kind. Not a great trip fish-wise – though we did have a shot at some big reds, caught a trout or two, and landed a nice snook – but the highlight of the trip was the free light show courtesy of a falling sun and some funky cloud formations, with golds bleeding into pinks bleeding into blues. Yowza. Some pretty paint jobs entertained us until darkness fell, while bottlenose dolphin and brawny bull sharks jockeyed for position around by the skiff. We live in paradise, truth be told. But don’t tell anyone – it’s crowded enough as it is.

Middle Keys Magic

Saturday, July 25th, 2009

Abby and I headed back down to the Keys this past week with the kiddos, taking a much-needed break from work while sneaking in a final getaway before the end of what has been a wonderful summer. Our destination was Marathon, Florida, one of the “middle Keys” in the state’s famous chain of tropical islands. My aunt and uncle introduced me to Marathon many years back, inviting me along on their annual offshore fishing trips. I owe them for that, since it’s a wonderland. Though I don’t own a large boat capable of deep water pursuits, Marathon abounds with opportunity for the shallow-water angler.

Our goal was simple: to fish and snorkel away each day between long naps and good meals. Though we were beset by a series of problems with my little skiff, we nonetheless snuck out to Sombrero Reef (a fantastic dive spot that materializes out of deep water along the continental shelf), explored both Key West and Big Pine Key one afternoon, and – despite windy weather and grumpy seas – also managed to populate the cooler with enough chunky mangrove, lane, schoolmaster and yellowtail snapper for several delicious meals. All in all, it was a classic tropical getaway. A handful of memories stand out: the sight of a shiny permit gliding across a stark white flat, a burly barracuda slicing the largest of our catches into writhing halves before clearing the water by eight feet, a water spout that never quite reached the churning Atlantic, smiling faces lit by glorious sunsets. Now that’s a vacation. Alas, it’s back to the grind, golden sunsets and azure waters in mind.

Marathon Men

Monday, June 29th, 2009

This past week I had a chance to sneak back down to the Keys (Marathon, FL) with some buds I’ve known since high school – including my cousin, whose family has plied the Atlantic down there for years. We’re all longer in the tooth and a bit less spry than we once were, but you’re never too old to learn new stuff. In fact, we learned that birds sometimes mean dolphin, more often tuna, most often nothing. That a few birds are better than a flock of birds. That tuna are real fast. That our eyes aren’t what they once were. And not just our eyes. That marlin aren’t accommodating. That the sun in the Keys is hotter than a Cambodian cathouse. That hardcore offshore angling is not just the province of the young. That crabs like beer, tarpon can cost you a limb, sharks can clap, shared bathrooms can be hazardous, blue drinks taste like poo, skunk apes have sex drives, old guys get homesick too and tequila in icy drinks can affect departure times. Among other things. Oh, and we learned that you can’t let too many years slide by before spending some quality time with old friends. Er, friends that you’ve known for a long time. Aw hell, you know what I mean.

Life’s a beach

Saturday, June 20th, 2009

How it’s done: Wake up late. Complain about heat and crowds when the wife suggests a trip to the beach. Grab the little 4-weight fly rod on the way out, almost as an afterthought. Grumble when she suggests a walk. Spend time casting at and catching a few small snook in the wash until tide goes slack. Trudge along behind wife on the way back to car. See big shadow moving in from deep water. Make wild cast, hook up, see most of line disappear off spool in seconds. Run down the beach looking like a deranged fool. Land big snook. Pose for tourists. Act calm, even seasoned. Hide shaking hands. Follow wife to car, saying what a good idea it was to hit the beach on a lovely Saturday morning. Ignore wife’s wild eye rolling and creative use of action verbs.