Florida Fishing

1/2/17 @ 6:56 PM
ORIGINAL POST
cds
cds
USER since 9/18/01

Barring any unseen issues,I'll be heading to Florida for a few weeks this winter. I'm trailering the motorcycle and the canoe. Camping...I'll be starting north of Pensacola,then headed to the Apalachicola NF. From there I plan on a couple campgrounds on the way to the Ocala NF. Stay there a few days then work my way down the gulf coast to Naples,where I'll either stay with relatives or - more likely - in the Big Cypress,then one of the Everglades campgrounds.

 I plan a ride down the keys but most likely will just ride the bike. Maybe camp a night or two if I can find a site but probably won't fish.

 But everglades and some other tidal creeks and rivers. Maybe some surf'beach fishing or pier fishing...Definitely inland for bream or cats...

 I'd like to eat some fish - the length of the trip depends on how little I spend per week - but I don't want to "live" on fish or even make this a "fishing" trip.

The question I've got is about gear: I'd like to be minimalist...and cheap... I have older reels that work just fine. They were primarily walleye reels that have been retired....Good enough for saltwater? I'd like stuff that can do double or triple duty and if it only lasts the trip,so be it.

Rods too. I have plenty of medium action rods that I've used as loaners for folks on my boat...But if I have to buy something I would.

 Terminal tackle?...In the everglades and other tidal creeks, I plan on just pitching jigs to eddys for snook,trout,etc...because that's all I've done before but I'm open to suggestions.

I'd appreciate any advice anyone wanted put out there. Thanks in advance.....CDs

 

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2/24/18 @ 11:17 AM
cds
cds
USER since 9/18/01

That's a really nice surprise,Luv2hunt.

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2/23/18 @ 5:42 PM
LUV2HNT
LUV2HNT
USER since 11/3/03

I'm down here now. Did Marco Island yesterday, Tigerpaw Beach. Irma did a good job down here. Roofers are the new millionaires... Surprised my mom for her 75th b-day. She was really surprised when I walked in the door un announced. Head home tomorrow...

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2/23/18 @ 11:29 AM
cds
cds
USER since 9/18/01

Next year...The big conundrum is "stuff". Specifically,I want a boat. Another boat. A boat that can handle 4' seas. And saltwater - so no,not my Lund ProV 1775. Nor my johnboat.

 A boat I can keep in the Keys. A boat that won't cost me more than I can afford but yet a boat that didn't get damaged by Irma....Lots of "hurricane boats" on the market right now from what I'm told.

 So...how do I get a boat down there..And a trailer with my motorcycle (and living quarters)...Or BUY one down there...and not buy a passel of problems in the process.

Rhetorical questions. Not sure if it's a good idea...and guys with wives - ya'all know that the cost of a boat can sometimes double if she decides to spend "equally".

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2/21/18 @ 6:27 PM
A5¢
A5¢
MEMBER since 6/15/09

This year, January, Fort Myers.

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2/21/18 @ 4:50 PM
Mr.Bass1984
Mr.Bass1984
USER since 6/12/10

Thanks CDs.  I went on that thread and checked them out.  Looks like a fun trip.

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2/20/18 @ 5:26 PM
cds
cds
USER since 9/18/01

Bass-I’d posted a bunch on the “what did you do today” thread as I went....but here’s some:

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2/20/18 @ 3:36 PM
Mr.Bass1984
Mr.Bass1984
USER since 6/12/10

Pictures?

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2/20/18 @ 1:34 PM
cds
cds
USER since 9/18/01

Ok,back from the Keys.

 Big Pine key and the rest of the middle and lower keys were certainly still very much affected by Irma. Big Pine,the Torch keys,Cudjoe...just a step above disaster area but many businesses were open...Some homes were only marginally affected and some were washed away. Most somewhere in the middle.

 I had several people thank me for coming down and spending my money....and I had a great time.

To say that the lower keys was a "war zone" was a gross exaggeration but it will take at least two years to recover from Irma...Most Conchs are pretty damn resilient but there's some folks who will never recover.

Fishing - even though I was limited to the kayak - was great. Usually. Wind was a huge factor. I was able to get to the edge of Hawks channel - about 1.4 miles offshore where I was - 4 times. Probably should have only done that once but 3' to 4' seas are doable in the yak. With care...It's that "one wave out of 7"  that's half again as big  as average and the statistical "3 waves per day" that's 2x. Not such a big deal in a boat but in a yak it means if it ain't tied down it's gone....Became competent with a 6' cast net. And a 5',and a 4'. Wind and how deep I'm standing in the water decided which I used...Fished Bahia Honda channel several times too. There were times that fishing was almost boringly easy. Other times not... .. By the time I had my morning shark fishing tactics (and equipment) down most large sharks in Spanish Harbor channel had become leader shy. They weren't at first. Biggest that I touched was about 22" across the top of the head. Fought that one for almost 3 hours - really wanted to get it into shallow water for a pic - but it just wasn't going to happen. Roughly 10' nurse shark from an 11' kayak. Had a 6' tarpon on for an hour. Caught tons of smaller fish and ate 6 different species and one meal of iguana. Never caught a legal lobster but caught dozens of shorts. Had a manatee bump me with it's tail fluke as I snorkeled... 

 I learned a ton of new stuff - and not all fishing related. Got some insight about my own life and resolve to change some things...and I'll be back down there for another extended stay...

 I hung more with locals than others staying at the campground. I didn't really fit in there. Some of that was because I don't drink or smoke weed...although weed's damn-near legal there. At one point I passed a pipe from an 80-year-old to his 76 year old wife..

 Oh - the rest of the state...The Pensacola naval air museum was worth the two full days I spent there. Sucked that the Gov't shutdown happened on the day I planned on moving camp to the everglades but I adapted. Besides,those days were really windy so I would have been limited but found places...If I were a bass fisherman my PB would come off the kayak launched from Loop Rd in Big Cypress,probably at night.

 Forced to stay at the "swamp ape headquarters" campground on 41 one night. It really wasn't as bad as I'd thought. I'll probably skip Picayune Strand SF in the future but the canals there are big bass sleepers - they get no pressure...and I have no interest in bass fishing there....Collier Seminole SP. Far enough out but also close enough in to the Naples area...

 Anyway,great trip.

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12/31/17 @ 1:43 AM
cds
cds
USER since 9/18/01

Yes,livebait,I'm aware of the storm. I've seen hours and hours of youtube from right after the storm...weeks after...and even several kayak fishing videos from last week...Even saw youtube of my BIL bringing the dogs out to crap right as the Irma's eye wall hit Naples. He really thought he'd still be able to watch the Packers but everything went out right as the game started. 

 I have a campsite reserved at BPKFL . Not every place is open and some campgrounds are taking advantage of the down time and moving away from RVs and tents and more towards "resort". That "development" has made some folks upset that affordable places they've been going to for years will now be out of their budget.

 I appreciate the head's up but charters are running,resorts are open (not all). Restaurants,grocery stores,gas stations and bait shops are all open...the water's cleared up weeks ago...people are fishing everywhere they fished last year at this time.

 Ya,I know that it won't look like it did last year. Gawking at the damage should eat up a few hours on the motorcycle.

 I DO hear that folks who got reservations to camp at Bahia Honda had those reservations abruptly cancelled a few weeks ago. I'd gotten the head's up that the park would no way be ready for campers and opted instead to go with BPKFL. I would have preferred Bahia Honda and they (Reserve America) were accepting reservations. They began accepting them some time in early November and I was excited but then I got word that more than likely they'd cancel when it was too late to get in anywhere else.

 

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12/29/17 @ 3:04 PM
livebait wizzard
livebait wizzard
USER since 11/21/09

You do know that Big Pine was ground zero for that September 2017 Hurricane?

Most if not all of the marinas and campgrounds were decimated. 

Have a buddy 5  miles to the south who says its still a war zone as of today. 

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