That slim stretch of land halfway down the Keys is a stroke of geological genius for anglers. Only three miles to Islamorada’s south stands the reef, home of snapper and grouper. From there, the sea floor quickly drops off to the continental shelf.
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.
A mini fishing vacation that offers a little bit of everything, all the time. No boat required. One lazy night a few friends and I made a spontaneous decision to drive to the Florida Keys. Our quest to cure boredom has since turned into frequent trips in search of tarpon, snapper, grouper and other great fish.
Tripletail offer a curious challenge to the fly angler, and they are available around the state. Days and nights of stiff northeasterly winds had hampered our attempts to venture into the windblown Atlantic for more than a week. But now the long wait had ended with the arrival of calm winds and moderate ground swells.
As we exited the bustling Turnpike on a sunny March Friday afternoon after a six-hour drive south from Tallahassee, we noticed the weekend traffic picking up, boats being trailered to the water, tops down on convertibles and Jeeps—spring had arrived in the Sunshine State. Winding back on a county road to a series of dirt roads in western Martin County, my husband Tony and I made our way to a gate where cattle skulls welcomed us from each side of tall fence posts made of railroad ties.
This is East Central Florida’s fabled No Motor Zone, 10,600 acres of water nestled in the Banana River, east of the Indian River Lagoon. It was established in 1990 to protect the manatee population. Merritt Island forms the west bank of the N.M.Z.; the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station is the barrier from the Atlantic Ocean.
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.
Get out of the way and into the fish on the Indian River. I had known that there were schools of redfish on the shallow flats at the southern end of Mosquito Lagoon. Until now, however, I had been unable to catch more than one or two fish a day, no matter what I seemed to do. I was about ready to give up.
The next generation of boaters already has some ideas about their future rides. It’s good to see that the Best Boat magazine and TV show, about to start their third year in 2015, have found their audience in Florida—even if some of them, like Mavrick Kampff, are a bit younger than we expected.