South Florida - Late Feb - early March

Discussion in 'Trip Reports with Pics' started by Chris Bellows, May 3, 2013.

  1. Chris Bellows aka. topwater

    Posts: 1,508
    The Salt
    Ratings: +559 / 0
    Been a slacker getting this trip report written up. Visited Florida for the first time this past winter/spring and arrived to the coldest weather of the trip. I had never been to Florida and everyone looks at me like I am an idiot, but I was blown away with how flat the state is. I guess I didn't pay attention to the landscape when watching Miami Vice or Burn Notice.

    It was still warm as we drove from Ft. Lauderdale to Key West. I was able to do some limited shore fishing at night but had no luck besides a couple beady little eye balls tracking my fly back towards the lights one night.

    The plan was to fish as many shore spots as I could as we drove from Key West to Key Largo but this was when the cold weather arrived. Strong winds, cold temps, and heavy rain pretty much blew apart the next few days as we hung out in the room at the beachside resort with occasional jaunts to the beach in fleece and rainjackets.

    Luckily I made contact with Martin Bowers on this board and he invited me for some night snook fishing up around Jupiter. I drove up the last night and arrived in the dark. We started fishing around 9:30 pm and fished until 5:30 am when the drive to keep fishing was stopped by the reality of an 11 am flight home.

    I wish I could hot-spot where we were fishing. All I can remember was the first bridge was amazing with all of the jacks. The orange light had a ton of snook.... and so on and so on. ;) I arrived in the dark and left in the dark.... maybe that's Martin's secret for such uncrowded fishing.

    Martin knows the spots well and luckily for me the fish were surface oriented so I fished a gurgler around 99% of the time. I had never fished in the dark so the casting was pretty entertaining. More times than I could count I would think I had the distance right and have the fly fall at least 20' short on the first try. The fishing was honestly, everything one dreams of on a fishing trip to a new place. The jacks' aggressiveness makes fish we think are aggressive in the NW seem downright dour and picky in comparison. The snook made you work just hard enough for them. One of my favorite moments was watching the largest jack of the night leisurely swimming around a piling twice before breaking me off after a long fight.

    The night fishing was surreal and a great experience.I just read his tarpon night fishing report and that sounds frackin' unbelievable.

    Martin saved the trip as I got back to the hotel in Ft. Lauderdale around 7:30 am, took an hour nap, and somehow woke up and made the flight. I slept a bunch on the plane but never would have made it home had my wonderful wife not driven from Sea-Tac to Port Angeles in a driving rainstorm.

    Here are some pics of the night and if I ever relocate to Florida you can blame Martin. Seriously a great guy and I hope I can reciprocate with a salmon trip in the Strait / Neah Bay this summer.

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    Wild eyed look after another snook busted a Gurgler

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    Largest jack landed

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    Radioactive ladyfish... that's some kind of slam... right? :)
    dcm, DimeBrite and mbowers like this.
  2. Irafly Active Member

    Posts: 3,448
    Everett, Washington, USA.
    Ratings: +878 / 1
    I think I'd like to take up a Martin fund on the forum and see if we can't buy him something nice. He is one amazing dude for sure. I'm hoping to hook up with him again this summer. That snook fishing is pretty cool at night and I've developed a couple patterns that I'd like to try under an indicator. Nice job hitting the Jacks, I'm jealous, but I did end up with my first tarpon on the fly rod.

    He will be in somewhat close proximity sometime this summer I think it would be cool for the few of us who have met him to take him out to dinner at least.
  3. mbowers Active Member

    Posts: 189
    Jupiter, FL / Victoria, BC
    Ratings: +76 / 0
    No fund needed! As long as someone gets some time on the water with the help of someone else on the board is payback enough for me. If I do find myself in WA I will let you guys know.

    Sorry about the windy weather.. I think it's just finally starting to get nice down here. Weird winter.

    The accessibility (with a boat) and quality of the inshore fishing do make it pretty tough to consider moving elsewhere in North America. The offshore fishing is awesome too but somewhat weather dependent in a smaller boat.
  4. Yak Member

    Posts: 200
    Woodinville, WA
    Ratings: +5 / 0
    Nice work Chris, sure would be fun to connect on a Neah Bay trip again like we did some time ago. Jack