Sunday, November 21, 2010

Florida Keys Day 1

We went a total of 1.8 miles in our first 36 minutes of driving in Miami, and it was 11 pm on a Saturday night! What in the world are so many thousands of people doing out and about in the middle of the night? Anyhow that was the biggest bump in the road on our journey from Peoria to Marathon. When you travel with 3 kids less than 5 years old pretty much you just cross your fingers and hope everything goes smooth!

We left for St. Louis airport at 10:30 am on Saturday morning. We parked at the Embassy Suites for 2 weeks for $56! I thought that was a great deal compared to other parking options. We arrived to the airport plenty early as it was, but we were extra early when they pushed our flight back by 1.5 hrs. The kids were so excited to go on an airplane they actually enjoyed the whole airport experience and loved watching the planes and fighter jets take off and land!

We eventually made it to our place at 27 Avenue F in Marathon about 2 am. This place is pretty stinkin sweet! It has its own pool, lots of hammocks, tiki huts, boat dock, fish cleaning station, extra bait and fish freezers, and enough space to accommodate a small army! Here is a property layout and here is a link with more information about this place if your ever interested in vacationing in the Florida Keys with some friends or family: Coco Plum on The Bay

Basically it was designed for families like mine, who travel in packs. For Thanksgiving dinner we will have 21 people from Central Illinois over for dinner. Most of my brothers and sisters will be down here with their kids and even some in-laws. They are staying at Coco Plum Resort located a couple blocks down the road on the Atlantic side. Our place is affiliated with them so we have access to their pool, hot tub, tennis court and BEACH! Here is a pic of their place:

So anyhow this morning we went over and picked up the boat at Shelter Bay just one mile away. It is my client Bob's boat and his good buddy Larry took us over to pick it up. Not only did Larry help us pick up the boat, but he spent a couple hours today teaching us the ropes about fishing safely down here. He took us to the bait shop and showed us exactly what to get and how to use it. Then on top of that he gave us his GPS and pointed us to the spot to fish this afternoon. Larry, we can't thank you enough for helping us out this week!

It was 18 miles away out in the Gulf, but well worth the ride! Here is our crew for the trip, Jared, Tony, Me and my dad. We took this photo just in case our 3 hour tour turned into an overnighter.....or worse....hehe

We didn't have too much time to fish today, but we spent 2 hours at the sunken house boat. The boat sunk out 18 miles away, but is only in 15 feet deep of water. We figured out how to use the gps, found the spot and anchored up just above the structure. First thing to do was plop the frozen block of chum into the water behind the boat and start fishing! It took all of 3 minutes to land the first fish and for the next 2 hours we were reeling in fish or empty hooks or broken lines on every single cast!

We caught 8 different species of fish and not only were braking our lines on big fish, but we were having monster fish break our steel leaders in half! We set out one big rod on the bottom with cut up pinfish and various other big chunks of meat. That rod would get hit about every 15 minutes with sharks or groupers or kink mackerals. The biggest shark we had on was about 8-9 feet long and just tore through our steel about 4 minutes into the fight, we did get to see him though which was cool. Here is a pic of a much more manageable shark:

We would toss out a free floating sardine with no weight on it and we caught a whole bunch of spanish and cero mackeral on that setup. Just toss it out and set the pole in the rod holder. About every 10 minutes that rod would go off with beautiful fish that looked like these:

We fished behind the boat in the chum slick with pieces of fish and whole shrimp and caught a whole bunch of keeper mangrove snapper and undersized grouper. Those fish fight great on light tackle! Here is an example of a grouper just one inch short of the limit. There are lots of those fish around for some reason? You would get a bite on these rods within 30 seconds on every cast!

We also caught a whole bunch of jacks, blue runners, bluefish, pinfish, and crazy looking fish like this one:

Here is a typical bluefish:

We didnt want to get caught out in the gulf after dark on our first day of the trip so we headed in about 5 pm even though the fish were still biting and we still had plenty of bait. We got back to the dock and cleaned the fish and went inside and ate them for dinner! Here are the tasty Mangrove Snappers. We brought back 15 of them:

Here is our fish cleaning station on our dock. It is very nice to have a real cleaning table! Hopefully we get to use it very frequently!

We sauted the fish in butter and then wrapped them in a tortilla with banana peppers, tartar sauce, and a slice of colby jack cheese. That tasted so good my taste buds must think they died and went to heaven. I have a feeling with all this seafood everywhere my taste buds are going to get awful spoiled this trip, I feel sorry for them already when they have to go back to PBJ and canned tuna.

So everyone is in bed and I am watching the Eagles vs the Giants and typing away. I don't plan on sleeping much this vacation. The Florida Keys are just way too cool to waste any time sleeping. The weather is 79-80 during the day and 70-71 during the night. There are lighted docks everywhere and I can see fish swimming around. Also besides spending as much time as humanly possible fishing, we are going to take the kids to the Sea Turtle Rescue Center and the Dolphin Research Center and all kinds of other cool places to visit and explore. Tomorrow we will take em for a boat ride and head out to a deserted island with a nice beach for lunch and swimming etc.

So much to do and I am starting to worry that there isnt going to be enough time to get er all done. Lobsters are in close this time of year, and when Justin gets in on Tuesday we are going to do lots of lobster diving and spear fishing. Also once the wind calms down a bit we are going to head out into the Atlantic to fish for Mahi Mahi, Wahoo, Tunas, Muttons, Yellowtails and Sailfish!
Somebody poke me!

1 comment:

  1. POKE!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (i don't like you very much right now)