After breakfast we packed up the car, checked out of the hotel and drove about 45 minutes south into Islamorada to meet up with our fishing guide for the day. My dad had fished with Captain Xavier before and today we were searching for yellowtail snapper.
|Blue water of the Florida Keys|
Maybe someday I will try these exact same fishing methods in New Jersey - anchoring on some rocks or reef and drop a bag of chum in the water and see what shows up. Why not?
We fished for a while in this location picking up some dinner fish. Mangrove Snapper are also called grey snapper and they are quite delicious. A few times we hooked into something much larger but it managed to take us into the rocks and eventually cut the line. I presume a large grouper was down there doing some damage to our baits. I also hooked a large nurse shark that I fought all the way to the boat before releasing.
Our next spot was about a 15 minute boat ride away and in deeper water. We were out past the Islamorada Alligator Reef lighthouse in about 60 feet and we were specifically targeting yellowtail snapper. Although we were mostly unsuccessful, I managed to get one yellowtail of keeper size. I threw the cast-net on a small school of ballyhoo that gathered in our chum slick. The ballyhoo made great bait for other fish lurking in the deep and I managed to catch my favorite fish of the trip - a beautiful black grouper.
|Great White Heron|
Continuing this long day, the plan was to drive up to Ft Lauderdale, stay overnight at the Hard Rock and then fly out very early the next morning. It was a bit of a hassle and very tiring but we got through it all without any issues.
At the hotel I spent about an hour repacking all of the fresh fish (fillets and whole fish) into my cooler bag - making sure to keep everything well iced. I took very good care of the fish that we caught from both days so that it would stay as fresh as possible for the trip and for another few days at home. Against my better judgement I went to the casino and lost some money before going to bed.
All in all it was a successful day and the trip was perfect from start to finish. Tomorrow morning we check out at 4am to catch a 6:30 flight back to Newark. Then, believe it or not, I have another marathon day planned as it is my 30 year high school reunion in Nutley tomorrow night! Who planned all of this???