Monday I spent much of the day packing camping gear, since Tuesday son Maxx and I loaded the canoe onto the roof of the chariot and drove to Flamingo. Every time I go there the trip seems longer. Why is that?
When we got to the park the fee to get in was $10, but there was a $3 canoe surcharge. I just canít believe it. Does the park charge extra for binoculars and large telephoto lenses as well? What a crock. AnywayÖ
Hurricane Wilma wiped out most of the infrastructure in Flamingo. If you donít camp thereís no place to stay, or eat. Non-campers must commute from Florida City, or points farther away than that. So bring a good tent, a Coleman stove, and a cooler full of food if you go. Be sure to secure that cooler, especially at night, or the raccoons will eat all of your supplies. Tent (or RV- no hookups) sites are $16 a night.
Wednesday morning we launched the canoe in Coot Bay Pond. Just as we were about to shove off Maxx realized he left his wallet, and fishing license, in the tent. I gave him the keys and off he went to get it. My ears detected the not very subtle crash! pop! of feeding fish. Before Maxx got back I had jumped three tarpon on a little crease fly. They were all little three-weight sized fish, but I had a five-weight so I wasnít too over-gunned.
When Maxx got back I picked him up and handed him the rod. He hooked the second fish that bit and had it in hand after a couple of incredible jumps (by the fish, not Maxx).
We continued on our way and found a number of snook. For a while every one he threw to spooked, literally a couple of dozen fish. I think that every one of them saw us first. Finally we found one whose behavior clearly indicated he didnít know we were there. Maxx dragged the crease fly right by his face and Pow!
We had shots at fish on and off all day long. Maxx ended up with two snook and two tarpon, and missed an embarrassing number of strikes. I mostly poled but did manage to get one tarpon. The wind came up strong and the paddle back was challenging.
Thursday morning we launched at Bear Lake. There was a moderate east wind when we launched. We expected the wind to freshen, since there was a small craft advisory. We paddled most of the north shoreline and didnít see much, so went down the creek into Long Lake. We saw one snook and one black drum in there. We ran over the snook and the drum didnít want any part of Maxxís fly.
By now the wind was fairly howling, it was after noon, and we hadnít really seen anything, nor had we gotten a bite. We started working our way back. It was an easy paddle, what with the 20 knot tail wind!
When we got back into Bear Lake it was all whitecaps. We paddled the south shoreline for a while. Like the other side it looked great but we didnít see anything. Some exploratory casts yielded nothing, either. We landed back at the boat ramp around two PM not having gotten a bite. The wind was howling, there was rain on the horizon, and we decided to bail on the trip since we had planned to leave the next day anyway.
We stopped in Homestead to eat at a place called NicoMex. They serve authentic Mexican food, and youíll feel like youíre actually in Mexico. Practice your Spanish before you visit this place! And bring an appetite- youíll need it! The food was great, the portions generous, and the price just right. I highly recommend it to those with a taste for gastronomic adventure.
Rain chased us all the way home. It was a real long, miserable drive with wrecks every couple of miles. While we got home safely, when I got home my computer monitor was burned out and thereís red tide in the Mosquito Lagoon, bad news on both items.
Susan and I spent the day cleaning the house yesterday, preparing for the onslaught of friends and relatives next week. We didnít finish and we get to clean some more today. The house is looking good, though!
Take some time from shopping and cleaning this week and go fishing! Life is short!!