Florida vacation/fishing trip

Discussion in 'Fishing Reports - Out of State' started by LEJoe, Mar 21, 2008.

  1. Spent two and a half weeks traveling the great fishing state of Florida. Got back last week and boy, did we have a great time! We weren't going to stay so long but, when we were scheduled to return, CNN kept showing footage of the snow in Columbus... sooo... why come back to all that mess?

    It was just my wife and I cuz all our kids are grown and gone. I have two in St. Cloud and she has two in St. Petersburg. So we went to the Keys!! (huge grin) We did stop by my son's place on the way to the keys for afew days to visit with the grandchildren. Didn't get a chance to fish during that time cuz we haven't seen them for a year and there was a lot of catching up to do.

    On the 28th of February, we went to Winter Haven to watch the Indians first game of the year. Nice place. Sad to see them leave there. Chief Wahoo is on their water tower!

    On the 29th Started a three day stay at the Old Wooden Bridge Fish Camp in Big Pine Key. This is "bridge fishing". In all my travels through out Florida and seeing all sorts of people fishing from a bridge, I have never tried it until this year. It was a balast!!! We arrived late afternoon the first day so I wanted to check in and just walk up and down the bridge to see what the locals were doing. I had my wife's Honda Accord stuffed with all kinds of fishing gear. Rod cases, tackle boxes, camping gear etc... worthless there.
    But as fate would have it, the Old Wooden Bridge Fish Camp has a general store with everything that we might need to fish there and not look too much like tourists. (they had cold beer and live shrimp, that's all I need to know!)
    We caught dozens of grunts and had fun doing it. Couldn't stay out in the sun too long though cuz I still had my Ohio winter skin. We saw spotted Eagle Rays jumping around the bridge and lots of different Florida birds. Ahhh ... vacation.

    We left the Keys on March 4th to begin my wife's half of the vacation and visit with her children in St. Pete. I rented a cabin for four days in the mangroves on the inter coastal. I invited my son to bring his 18ft center console jon boat with a 70hp Yamaha over and to my surprise he did! We fished hard for a few days and only came up with one snook. Which he caught. But that's ok, it WAS his boat and all. But it was grand just to be out on the water with my boy shoot'en the breeze and cast'en mirror lures up into the branches.

    The last leg of our journey was spent with some old friends of ours in the area. We always look forward to our vist with these people. My wife Julie use to work with his wife at All Children's Hospital in St. Pete. He's an old salt that takes me fishing whenever I show up. I pay close attention to him because I don't know that much about salt water fishing yet. I hang on everthing he says. This year we wound up going out on his bosses boat the Friendly Fisherman II out of John's Pass. (while Julie went shopping all day with her friend) It was a 12 hour trip about 80 to 100 miles out into the Gulf of Mexico. Mark Hubbard was his name and he owns Hubbard's Marina.(www.HubbardsMarina.com) It was a $90.00/person trip and Mark let us go for free. I bet he knows that I will be back with many members of my family.

    We had a great time with many fish being caught. We were targeting Amberjack. The one I caught was an awesome catch. We were using circle hooks and my buddy told me DO NOT try and set the hook! He said you will feel pressure, a tap tap tap... then you will feel like you are being pulled over the side. That is when you start reeling. Do not jerk the rod! This is not lake Erie. He was so right. That Amberjack took a dive to the bottom of the ocean and I couldn't raise the rod from the railing for awhile. Turned out he was 2inches too short. (story of my life) Amberjack need to be 28" to keep and mine was only 26". As walleye fisherman here I bet you can understand how hard it was for me to release a 26" fish. A guy on the other side of the boat released a grouper than was estimated over 250 pounds! So I didn't feel so bad.

    All in all it was a great learning experience. I learned things that I didn't know that I needed to know. That's a good thing. Looking forward to next year. But for now, I'm gearing up for Turtle Creek!

    Tight lines,
    Lake Erie Joe
  2. NorthSouthOhioFisherman

    NorthSouthOhioFisherman The Young Outdoorsman

    Sounds like a good vacation Joe missed ya around here... We had open water on the lake and everyone was going out of Cat. Dock and pulling limits jigging in under an hour! JK :D I havent gotten to fish at all lately and its snowing again!!!! Glad you had fun in Florida cya out there...