Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Long Key Part 1

These are some photos of our camping/fishing trip to Long Key State Park. i added the photos first as i wouldn't have access to them while at work. They post in ascending order for some reason so you have to look from the bottom up starting with the photo of me driving.

We met a few minor challenges leaving early like we planned as Mama and i both attended the REO Speedwagon/Night Ranger gig at the Hall on Saturday night.....she had to work the show and i tagged along because who doesn't like those 2 bands in a retro/revisit the childhood sort of way.
We arrived back home at around 10:00 pm only to find that the doggies had broken into the garage where our camping gear was stowed and proceeded to chew up our air mattress and a sleeping bag as well as 2 pillows....there was stuffing all over the back deck so as you can imagine, i was less than happy with the doggies.

We had to go to Wally World first to replace the destroyed gear and didn't really get on the road until around 10:30....checked in at the park right around 4:30 (It's no big deal though because check in time at State Parks is 3:00)

The first thing that i noticed upon reaching the Keys was that the wind seemed to be blowing from the north east at a pretty hard clip. (not good for fly fishing....or tent camping for that matter) Conditions weren't any better by the time we arrived at our site with a constant 25 mph gale. Mama and i set up the campsite (our site was right on the water....high tide line was about 3 feet away from the tent) in fairly quick order in spite of the wind, had lunch, and put on our swimming gear to wade around the flats right next to our campsite. High tide was at noon so i decided to rig up for barracuda since every time i've been to the Keys, they seem to be around in good numbers....even though the water was clear, there was no way to spot fish due to the roiling, windswept seas. As we were walking out, i spotted a bonefish about 15 yards away however, he was hightailing it off the flat. Casting into the wind was impossible but i found that the backcast would hang behind me and the wind would help carry the forward cast to where it needed to go. Got a few nice welts trying to cast ACROSS the wind....but it was doable.....Talked to a few fly geeks who were all geared out with $1,200 worth of fly gear and the clothes and hats....but were just walking up and down the shore complaining that they couldn't see any fish.....

We drove a mile down the road to this spot that i had found on Google maps. Was a nice, deep hole right next to the shore. Waded the flat out to the hole. Was a bit more protected from the wind here but still couldn't spot any fish which was odd....Mama got a hit on a Rootbeer Epoxy Charlie but lost it due to her using a frayed leader....i won't mention the other faux pas committed by Mama but i'd like to recommend a few knot tying websites that i think she might be able to make use of. After this, Mama was content to watch the sun sink lower into the sky and take photos while i trudged around, casting at shadows and untangling my leader from time to time, using a chartreuse big eye bulky deceiver that i had made for the 'cuda

After we returned and ate dinner (rotisserie chicken and salad stuff rolled up on a tortilla and potato salad), the sun had fallen to the other side of the island, bathing our site in an shadow skewn reddish glow. We were afraid to have a campfire due to the windy conditions. Mama had picked up a six pack of Hurricane Reef raspberry wheat ale in Tavernier. We aren't big drinkers but appreciate a good beer. This stuff was AWESOME.....wheaty without being too fruity, yet not too hoppy. We relaxed, watched the stars come out, the tide come in, and went to bed after a nice hot shower.

i'm an early riser so Mama asked me to wake her up when i got up so she could see the sunrise.....

Here are some scenes from part 2.....

Hungry Bonefish ravaging the early morning flats and Mama comes face to face with a Redfish.

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