It all started with a message from my boss, “You can have the next two weeks off.” This was March 20th. So, I immediately started looking at the cost for plane tickets for my boys and I. I had already asked my wife to notify the schools that they would be missing a week of school, just in case I could get it off. So then the fun began: booking plane tickets, looking for lodging and most importantly, where we would go to fish. I made phone calls and texts to Dino, a friend of mine, who guides in Jupiter, and a client who lives in Islamorada. So when it was all said and done, I only made reservations for two nights in Everglade City and was going to wing the rest, based on everyone else’s schedule and if the boys wanted to fit Disney in.
This was the first time the boys had ever been on a plane, so you can image the excitement between going to Florida to fish and flying on a plane. I don’t think they realized or even realize now that they went on a trip of a life time. They created memories that will stay with them for the rest of their life. As stressed as I was about spending the money to do this trip, I would do it all over again. It was worth every penny to spend time with them, because I know time is running out. We are all getting older and life will happen. They will move on with friends and family, so these memories are just as precious to me as they are to them. It is just like the Tracy Atkins song, “Just Fish’n.”
“An she thinks we’re just fishing on the river side,
throwing back what we could fry,
drowning worms an killing time,
nothing too ambitious
she ain’t even thinking bout what’s really going on right now
but I guarantee this memories a big one
and she thinks we’re just fish in’ ”
We arrived into Fort Lauderdale around noon and it was 80 degrees out. We got our Camaro that the boys picked out and drove to Everglade city, it was about a two hour drive and the whole time Jax asked about how soon we would go fishing. I think Tait was just taking it all in; funny how different they are. We were pleasantly surprised how Everglade City looked. It reminded me of the old way it used to be, because most places in Florida seem to be very modern. This place had an old feel to it. By the time we got to our room and got set up, it was late afternoon but they still wanted to go fishing.
So we drove looking for some places to fish. We were able to catch some gar and see a lot of alligators. They were excited to catch anything. It was kind of like a bucket list when they would catch a new species. There were alligators sunning themselves only a few feet from where our flies were landing. There were tropical birds every where and they were constantly pointing out new things.
Around 6:00, I decided it was time to head back, eat and go to bed. They had been up since 4 am and we had plans to kayak into the everglades in the morning and we needed to get an early start. So we hit The Oyster House and had a fish and chips, which was grouper. It was pretty good, we had never had it before.
Everything was new to us and you could feel the excitement in our conversations. This was just the beginning of a week we won’t ever forget.