|My first "keeper" trout|
The action just got better and better from then on with different fish showing up everywhere! i cast out my Gulp shrimp and soon as it hits the water my line starts peeling off the reel before iv even clipped the bail over, i crank down and get greeted with a fish which was one of my top targets while over here Mr Jack Creval :-) and man people didnt mess about when they said these fish fight like nothing else...... not a skyline jumper but long runs and grumpy dogged fighter which when you pull they pull straight Back!! not a big first Jack but i was chuffed to bits and couldnt be happier
Jimbo was still wacking out trout left right and centre, while i seemed to hook everything but trout with a couple Yellow Jacks after this fish, they didnt fight as much as the cousin above but still amazing sport! i catch out the corner of my eye Jims rod slamming over..... this was either a HUGE trout or another Jack. after a quick but touch scrap the fish shows its face and Jim has nailed a chunky "keeper" Mangrove snapper which was cool to see it wasnt long before i was in too and these puppys dont half pull your string i tell ya!! once you get them out the water you can 100% see why there called Snapper!! you wouldnt want these fcukers grabbing your fingers...... talk about savage! the noise it made when it snaps away was like clicking your fingers AWESOME stuff
|my first "keeper" snapper on a 5g jig|
The next day Jimbo had some old lobster boat wrecks lined up for us to try where we would fish lures and cut baits which could literally show up any fish..... every hit on the lure or bite on the bait rods got your heart thumping! we chummed the water around the boat untill all you could see for as far as you could see was tons of Pinfish and other baitfish, it wasnt long before the cut baits got a hammering from the small snappers and pinfish i landed a few tiddler Yellow tail snapper and muttons and then my rod lumps over im IN!!! on the ultralight jigging gear, i could feel the fish peeling braid off the rod and rubbing the wreck but i dont fcuk around and tried to put the breaks on using only 10lb braid but i was getting somewhere and the fish was coming my way! to my joy i nailed my first Gag Grouper.... such a pretty fish!!
Chuffed to bits over this fish and WOW what a fighter!! by this point the wreck was crawling with pinfish so Jimbo said lets hit the Flats with the bucktails in search of the Bonefish...... and i wasnt prepared for what i was going to see next! these flats are soooooo beautiful and really have to be seen with your own eyes to be believed. they had fish screaming from every nook and cranny, truly amazing stuff drifting these flats where we saw huge nurse sharks, stingrays and the one fish that triggers my imagination HUGE Barracuda..... with a few over 30lb! now iv had about 15 Cuda so far nothing over 4lb so seeing these monsters with teeth like a dog my heart started ticking!! Jimbo swears by Cuda for shark bait which gave me the chance to load up the "proper" rods....... i clipped on one of the wake baits and a wire leader and stood ready for battle with these monsters of the deep! I kid you not everywhere you looked was unit sized Cuda until i clipped a lure on..... they certainly arent the savage beasts everyone makes them out to be! and after 20mins of firing out plugs i only managed a few follows! i cast to this awesome looking channel where we could see Cuda lined up in the tide and WHAM i get a hit! but hang on this isnt a Cuda.......
|My first Houndfish on a wakebait plug|
Talk about Garfish on steroids........ if we got these in the UK trust me you would want to be hooking these all day every day!! soon as its hooked it leaves the water on this "mini Marlin" run this stuff just cant fail to get your fishing juices flowing, if it doesnt then you need to consider golf or something!! it was getting Hot now so we headed back in for a pit stop and chill before the evening Poon chasing...... fishing doesnt get any better than this!
Carnage...... Heres a look at what these Cuda do to lures..... this Lucky Craft Sammy was fresh out the box on this morning! i took 19 cuda to 5-6lb and a small black Grouper all off the surface while wading the flats in front of the house i had trebels literally squashed and the lure completely destroyed by these Cuda and hand on heart had some of the best fun ever! once i had figured out what they really wanted to hammer it was like taking candy from a baby and the Cuda just loved to smash the shit out of these lures! what will always stick in my mind here was the whole peacefull atmosphere around me as i waded along a island with not another angler in sight and onlt the noise of birds in the LongKey reserve behind me, Turtles and rays swimming around me and warm water up to my waist. HEAVEN ON EARTH and ill never forget this day. On this evening Jimbo had some guys stayin near by who would be on the boat for my last few days, so it was time for me to crack on and hook some more Poonz and enjoy fishing these amazing waters...... it was just me my rod oh and the fishing buggy!!
On the second form last evening i managed to get out in the break of some bad weather where i could shore fish off the rocks with my trusty lure rod in hand! I managed to get the fish going cross eyed again for the IMA melty nymph where i jumped 4 Poonz all around the 20lb mark except one that beasted me id say around 40lb which literally kicked the Shit out of me there was nothing i could do.... that fish spooked the others for a bit! so i messed around trying for a snook behing the marina for half hour before giving the Poonz another go! when second cast i get smashed good and proper! with a massive hit i struck 4 times and braced myself..... i kid you not this fish ran off best part of a 100yards on the first run before leaping out of the water a good 6-7ft and then tanking off again sooooo fast my reel got HOT from the friction of me trying to calm it down..... my heart was skipping beats as i scrambled down the rocks in hope of landing this fish, i was shaking like a leaf and after 15-20mins of sheer madness and tug of war i managed to touch the fishes flank before yet again it decides to go ape shit right at my feet almost jumping into my arms!! two more 20-30yard runs and my arm is aching now so time to get a grip on life Danny Boy! one last ditch attempt and i get it to the Boga where i bear hugged the fish to get it under control. i lifted it out the water and sat it on the soft lounger where it behaved good as gold. i removed the jig and quickly weighed it at just over 24lb on the Boga..... BUZZING
The whole time iv been in the keys we have been baiting up the canal behind the house, we had Poopy fish, Mangrove snappers, HUGE Pinfish, jacks and Angelfish. but a target for me was the beautifully marked Parrot fish that swan around as if they were flying such a amazing sight, i had to catch one of them buggers!! the photo above doesnt do this Parrotfish any justice truly amazing colours the greens/blues and the hot pinks and WOW dont they scrap...... like our ballans but X4 all the way to the net!! we also stumbled across one or two weird and wonderful fish which made us question ummmmmm how and if we should actually pick this up!! including the awesome Pufferfish which i caught while getting bait for the Poonz but also this crazy character....
Some kind of Triggerfish which had teeth like some horror character in a film iv never been so unsure what to do with a fish than this creature.... it had skin like a shark and covered in lumps and bumps with a silly little trigger on its forehead! the eyes actually looked at us they were almost as big as a humans eyes very Unfish like indeed....... by this time my time here in florida was rapidly coming to an end and i started to feel the UK blues coming on a trick! talk about gutting knowing i was leaving here after two solid weeks on the water. Jimbo had more guys ready for there fishing trips and the final day saw us hiding for cover in epic thunder storms so my day of 100% fishing till i dropped didnt happen but it didnt matter as i had a complete ball here in the keys with my good friend and fishing Buddy Jim Odonnell where i was made to feel at home and enjoy the lifestyle and good company...... truly a mind blowing trip and will change my fishing for the rest of my days..... fishing here in cold damp UK seems a little less appealing ha ha ha ha ha. well tight lines and i hope you enjoyed the pictures and tails i know i certainly did! Thanks again to James i had a ball buddy :-)