On the second day, we had decided we were going to get up early and rent kayaks (which I won’t lie, I am not a real big fan of, but that was our cheapest option) to get us out on the water. First light wasn’t until around 630, so we got to sleep in a little. I am not sure how much sleep we actually got, with it being our first real whole day in Florida and we were going fishing.
After getting our gear ready, we rented three kayaks and with some directions from the guy who we got the kayaks from, we would paddle a mile across the bay to get to some mangroves, which I knew usually will hold some type of fish and we didn’t really care what we caught. About half way across I started thinking this really sucks, maybe it was worth the extra money to rent a boat. It took about an hour to paddle across, so we had two hours of paddling and two hours of fishing. I made a mental note that we wouldn’t be doing this again. But what we saw when we got to the other side was well worth the paddle.
We could see water spraying 6-7 feet in the air but we were not sure what it was, maybe a shark? As we got close we could see two dolphins chasing bait in really shallow water and it looked like they were chasing the bait up on the shore because the dolphins were a quarter of the way out of the water. They did it several times until they noticed us and then they seemed to follow us, but stayed just far enough away. This was pretty exciting for the boys. I thought this was a good sign that there might be some fish in the mangrove, but we soon learned we were on the wrong tide. It was almost low and there was no water up under the mangroves, so we needed to find some deeper water, but this didn’t keep us from casting and casting. When we finally found some when we only had maybe a half hour left. I was able to get a puffer fish and a lady fish, both very cool to catch. The lady fish jumped like a tarpon, but it fit in the palm of my hand. I was told it was the poor man’s tarpon which I thought was appropriate that I caught it.
After the hour paddle back we grabbed lunch and headed to Naples on a tip that there were snook on the beaches. On the way we were told of a place that there might be some manatees and he was right. They were cool to see.
Even with a street address, we spent an hour or more riding around trying to find beach access among the mansion and then when we finally found the street and parking, but there were parking meters and we had no change. So we decided we would hit that in the morning before heading to Jupiter to fish with our guide for snook under the lights. I knew of another beach on the way back which was at a state park. We walked the beach for a few miles in search of fish on the beaches but only people vacationing, so we looked odd walking down the beach with fly rods in hand. We did run into a guy from Wisconsin with a three weight looking to fish but I think he would have a very hard time hooking anything with that.
On the way back we stopped and fished a few places for gar and Jax was able to hook a baby tarpon but having no experience at hook setting on them he didn’t get a good one and the fly popped out on a jump. We also got a few gar but we saw a giant alligator , I bet close to ten feet long, right beside the bridge we were standing on.
We didn’t get a lot fish to hand but we did see a lot and have some great experiences. As I always say, it isn’t always about the fish but about the journey we take getting there. With a full week ahead and more fishing in the morning, we were in bed early and dreaming about dolphins, alligators and gar.