Sketchy low tides and a minefield of oyster shell? No problem for these Northeast Florida kayakers. Edward Abbey once said if you want to see the desert, get down on your knees and start crawling. Kayaking is the boating equivalent, with fish and other wildlife only inches away.
Tricks to take big bream on fly. Several years ago, I caught a mixed bag of four dozen bluegills and shellcrackers during a single, glorious afternoon. While that was practically all the law allowed, the real kicker is that these fish weighed close to a pound apiece.
Lose yourself (and maybe a few flies) in the tangly wilderness of Cedar Key. Cedar Key is flyfishing central for Big Bend waters. The island offers access to a sprawling salt marsh complex of tidal creeks and channels, Spartina grass, oyster bars, and islands covered with pine, cedar, and cabbage palm.
Besides their willingness to bite when other fish won’t, catfish are crowd favorites at fish fries. The farm-raised channel cats, in fact, are among the few seafood offerings I find consistently satisfying at restaurants. Shrimp, salmon, lobster, and saltwater catches of the day such as mahi and grouper seem to arrive at my table in varying and unpredictable degrees of freshness and doneness—usually over-doneness.
Islamorada earned her place among bonefish and tarpon anglers, but today caters to a more diverse crowd. Recently I sampled the modern array of flats fishing possibilities out of Islamorada in the Florida Keys. I was on a two-day trip based at La Siesta Resort and Marina.
Big rewards lurk under big bridges—if you’re prepared. The same fastidious thought needs to go into a night bridge-fishing expedition as an offshore trip. I admit to being a bit lackadaisical about safety when fishing a foot-deep grassflat far off the beaten-boat path.
Proper technique allows kayak and canoe fishermen to land large fish without getting dumped overboard. Offshore kayak fishing is a relatively new technique, and many anglers are learning on the fly. Safety must always be the first priority.
The first time I live chummed offshore I had my angler standing beside me with a fly in the water waiting for a fish to cast at, only to have a 15-pound bonito make an arrival that just about ripped the rod out of his hand. There was no need to set the hook, as all his concentration and strength went into retaining possession of the rod as the fish dumped the 8-weight well into the backing.
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