Florida Sportsman Dream Blog Trip: Thanks for joining Meagan and Jeremy’s Dream Trip Blog. For ten days we fished and blogged and you can see our adventure day by day here. We began our trip in Pensacola. Next, we traveled down the Gulf Coast to Steinhatchee, Tampa Bay and the Keys. Then we headed north again, stopping in Flamingo and Stuart, ending at home in St. Augustine.
Our adventure has officially begun! We ended up coming to Pensacola a couple of days early to spend some time with family and to do some much needed maintenance on Lil’ Blue. Cooney (my nickname for Jeremy) replaced the cylinder head and rebuilt the carbs to get her ready. We finished sooner than expected and were so excited about kicking off our adventure that we decided to start a couple hours early and camp at Ft. McRee.
We set up camp and then headed to the second jetty to see if we could catch some dinner. As soon as the sun began to set, the redfish bite turned on.
Cooney hooked up with a redfish immediately. No wonder this is one of our favorite spots to camp at Pensacola.
Then, a double hookup of reds after dark at the second jetty. We caught 5 slot and 3 oversize reds within an hour.
All were caught on ghost crabs that we dug from the sand earlier in the day. Cooney grabbed them with his bare hands.
Once we were worn out from fishing, we headed back to camp and grilled up some steaks and one of our redfish. This redfish we kept for dinner.
Fish fillets ready for the campfire. It turned out to be such a perfect evening! There was just enough sea breeze to keep the bugs away and to keep the temperature down.
The sky was crystal clear and the moon and stars were shining so bright.
We spent the rest of the night around the campfire catching up with our friends and making them jealous with details about our adventures to come. We used old pallets as firewood.
We woke up before daybreak the next day and started preparing for a long day of fishing.
The wind had died out and the water had turned to glass. Conditions were looking perfect for doing some trolling and spot fishing in the Gulf.
The only problem was our bait supply was very low and, though there was a ton of bait in the water, none had enough size to do us any good.
I threw the castnet at the “Sugar Cube,” a manmade island located near Pensacola Pass. It’s just a big sand dune in the middle of the waterway, with a nasty little hole that accumulates salt water and small fish during high tide. Not too many people know that it’s a honey hole for finger mullet and bull minnows.
We had almost given up hope when we came across a huge school of squid, which is very rare around here. My brother Corey castnetted the squid (he was on baitnet duty). I was a spotter, even though I am very proficient at throwing nets. (I’ve been throwing them since I was about 5 years old.) Needless to say, the boat got disgusting extremely fast. All of our towels, clothing and equipment ended up covered with squid ink, but we were all so happy to have baits that none of us cared.
Since the water was so clear and calm, we decided to scout the sand bar from Fort Pickens to Pensacola Beach Pier looking for cobia. We saw a few, but had no luck and decided to change things up a bit.
I wanted a higher viewpoint with the ladder. It’s what we jokingly call our “redneck tower.” The legs get strapped down for safety. So far, I have yet to fall off!
We headed out to the three barges and hooked up on 6 large red snapper, 1 nice black snapper, 2 nice size triggerfish and a decent Spanish mackerel.
Jeremy hooked up to a red snapper. We saved these coordinates in our GPS for next month when snapper season is actually open. The water started to chop up, so we headed back to fish with family and friends from the beach.
There were schools of Spanish mackerel, bluefish and ladyfish all over. Most of the Spanish macks were undersized but it was still fun to fight them with the light tackle we were using. There were also several schools of large silver mullet running around the point that couldn’t be ignored. All of the family was fishing, even my little sister Kylee. She was on sandflea patrol. Around mid-afternoon the Blue Angels started practicing for an up-coming show which is always such a treat to see. We absolutely love this place! I can’t imagine a better way to start off our trip. The weather was perfect, the water was breath-taking, the fishing was great, the boat ran fantastic and I got to spend time with my wonderful family.
We went back to my parents’ house for the night to pack up and prepare for the next section of our journey. My Dad, Kylee and I worked on cleaning the fish while Cooney cleaned up the boat and camping equipment. We are going to be leaving for Steinhatchee around 6 in the morning so we can get there in time to fish with Capt. Tommy Thompson. I’ve heard that this is a beautiful place to catch redfish and trout.