Florida Trip Report

The Angry Mongrel and I decided a month ago we were going to take a winter fishing expedition to Southern Florida. Each day that passed before the trip seemed to get longer and longer. Then we had the Professor posting pictures in the same area we were going to be fishing. Man, I tell ya, the anticipation was driving me nuts. We both knew this was going to be a great trip, but neither of us knew it was going to be one of the most outstanding fishing trips of our lives....

We arrived in Sarasota Friday night. It was actually kinda cold for the area (mid sixties). But the forecast was promising. The forcast for the week was mid to upper 70's, with no rain in sight.

Saturday morning the rental was picked up and packed. The great adventure was about to begin....

Our first spot we pulled into was filled to the hilt with Striped Mullet. I've always heard they are tough to catch fairly. And it was true. These fish would grab your offering for a split second and spit the bait even faster. And hardly any of them would even go there to begin with. Mostly they loved to hit our split shots. Mongrel connected first after hours of trying, then I got one an hour later.  What worked for them was a small painted gamakatsu super sharp hook and just a nub of nightctawler:

Then night finally set in and Mongrel pulls this beauty of a Spotted Sea Trout, the biggest of the trip:

Then it was off to the Everglades to do some fishing with Professor Fish. Cant say enough about the Professor. A real nice dude and an incredible fisherman. He taught me a ton in our time together. Thanks again Professor! We caught some really cool stuff down in the Glades...

Spotted Tilapia

Jack Dempsey Cichlid

We also got Mayan Cichlids and Jewel Cichlids. Certainly a place I look forward to going back to and would recommend to any fish crazy fishhead. Warm down there too. Gators everywhere, and the mosquitos were terrible. Weird coming from 20 and 30 degree temps back home.

Then the three of us did some ditch fishing back around the Sarasota/Venice area. We ended up with some cool catches there too.

Brown Hoplo

And this was the Hoplo hole where we also caught Walking Catfish and Blue Tilapia. It was also crawling with Warmouth, Bluegill and Redear Sunfish...

The next spot was also crawling with fish too. Here is the great Professor doing his thing. This area was full of big gators. Thankfully they were not interested in us at all.

They say Blue Tilapia are a tough catch most of the time. We caught probably 30 of them off this spot. This was an average specimen...

Back to the ocean. It was just too damn good fishing to not take advantage of. This was the closest we came to getting rain the entire week. This small cell broke up once it made its was across the gulf. Got about 5 drops of rain out of this storm:

Then the catches started rolling in. Amazing the fish that swim in the Gulf of Mexico...

These guys are trouble. We had to put our cut bait under our backpacks or it would all be gone. Blue Herons are almost like tame pets down there. And sneaky as hell. They would try to move the backpack and jack your bait every damn time you went to the can. Ate all our bait way too many times. Our fishin buddies, we called them:

The last night of fishing yeilded two monster Walking Catfish out of the local pond by where we were staying...

And the second one:

Honestly I thought they were White Catfish at first. I didn't even know this species got this big. Florida's record stands at a pound and a half. I think these were 1 lb+

This is our last day. Morning surf casting catching sharks and gathering sea shells for a peace offering to the women and children left behind. It was hard to leave Florida. I would go back to the same area in a heartbeat. Thanks to Mongrel and Professor Fish for making this an extremley sucessful and fun trip.

Below is a list of all species caught on this trip.  43 species in 8 days.  Only in Florida!

 

Species List: