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Fishin’ Key Largo

Monday night I got bad news: Jim was scheduled to work on Tuesday. That would have put our plans to go fishin' on hold for another week, and figuring the trip was cancelled, I stayed up way past my bed time to get some work done. I woke up at 7:30 (damn sunrise!) and puttered around the apartment. Jim called at 9 to say "we're goin' fishin' after all!" I got directions to Key Largo and quickly assembled everything I would need.

As I was putting my yak on the car, it poured down rain. I was soaked head to toe. I drove off, wary of the weather but reassured in the knowledge that Florida's weather changes every five miles. As I drove down, I proved myself correct - we ended up having a great day in Key Largo!

I met up, after driving for two hours or so, at noon. Captain Jimbo, Chef Mike and I unloaded our gear and set off. After being ribbed about my choice of tackle (I'll change it, I didn't know any better, sorry!), specifically the PowerPro, ahem, "floss" I had, we got into the first fishing area - a moderate rate drift through the mangrove channels surrounding Lake Surprise in Key Largo.

Jim and Mike had a few follows, a few hits, and I cast gingerly towards the lure-snatching mangroves. I must give myself credit, however, for being fairly brave and at the same time fairly adept with my tosses - all those years of fishing the tree-crowded streams of PA paid off.

As we paddled out into the lake itself (which is, I think, really just a big sound), we fished the flats along the shorelines, chucking Top Dogs, Skitterwalks, and Super Spooks. Mike uses the "piss them off" technique, and Jimbo uses the "lure them into a false sense of security" technique. Both seemed effective, and I tried both methods throughout the day. Jim used a very fast, twitching retrieve with his comfort lure - a copper-colored bucktail jig.

Eventually, casting over the potholes around the fringe, I hooked into something fairly mighty. My pole bent, the hook (barbs pinched down) was set, and the fight was on. Fifteen seconds or so later (a long time with a fish on), I increased the drag too much and the fish - probably about a two to three foot barracuda - spit the plug.

I continued working the middle, and some mini-islands of mangrove, until I lost sight of Jim and Mike around a big mangrove island. I tossed my red/white Skitterwalk as far as I could heave it and looked to the right for the duo. As I looked back I saw a tremendous flash at my plug, then the drag screamed zzzzzzziiiiiirrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!! Fish on! A few seconds into a run, a two or three foot tarpon leaps from the water. I saw the plug come flying out of its mouth while it was mid-leap. Sigh.

I had a few hits, a few follows, and did a lot of paddling the rest of the day. Jim and Mike both caught a mangrove snapper on a topwater - very odd. I took several pictures with my disposable (but waterproof) camera and will get them developed when I take another 10 or so photos. We paddled in around 7, went to a restaurant in Key Largo named Hobo's around 8, and were on the road again by 8 or 8:30.

I learned a lot today, including the fact that key lime pie - authentic key lime pie - is yellow, because authentic key limes are yellow. It was the first time I'd had key lime pie, and it was delicious. I got back home at around 10:15, and found that Flint was able to "hold it" all day. Good dog.

Tomorrow is another day. And, guys, I promise - I'll get the right damn line this time. 🙂

One Response to "Fishin’ Key Largo"

  1. Just a short note on key lime pies. Basically, the reason they SHOULD be a creamy yellow has nothing to do with the color of a ripened key lime (it is rare that anyone use fresh key limes anyway), the juice has a rather indistinguishable color. The sweetened-condensed milk (white) in combination with the egg-yolks is what produces the yellow. Glad you enjoyed your time in the Keys, it is indeed a magical place.