Saturday, May 2, 2009
Long Key Part 3
Day 3 Started out with Mama and i getting up early to see the sun rise, eat a nice camping breakfast of pancakes, eggs and bacon, then we loaded up the fishing gear and headed out for Marathon. There was a bait store there that i wanted Mama to see. It's called Captain Hooks located right at Vaca Cut in Marathon.
Several years ago, i had spent a week in Marathon on a fishing trip with my buddy Chad. All we did was launch the boat at first light and come back in at dark, fishing the whole time. We had located a rolling pod of tarpon at Vaca Cut. We would cast our big Mirrolures at them and they would follow them all the way back to the boat without taking. Was an awesome site to behold.
One thing about Captain Hooks that i always loved was the outdoor pond stocked with tarpon, snook, bonefish and grouper. This time, they had about a half a dozen 30 lb tarpon, a large red grouper and a HUGE snook that looked to be even bigger than the tarpon. We got several shots of these magnificent fish the went into the bait shop to get some squid. We checked out the fishing spot under the bridge at Vaca Cut but forgot that we had bought ice for the cooler so decided to take the ice back to the cooler then go fishing.
After dropping off the ice to the cooler, we went back to "the hole". My idea was to use squid to catch some smaller fish for bait, then put the bait on the big game rod and get something bigger. i was having a heck of a time catching a smaller fish as they kept stealing the bait but after a while, i caught a hand sized pinfish, put it on the big game rig and just waited. Mama was at the other end of the hole using squid to try to catch something too. She had waded out to the flat but wasn't having any luck there either. After waiting 45 minutes for the big hit and using an assortment of DOA shrimp, Mirrolures and spoons, we decided to pack it in, free the pinfish and get the snorkeling gear out.
The weather was hot and the clear water looked so refreshing and inviting. Mama's mask strap broke so as i sat at the waters edge, waiting for her to fix it, i noticed some brightly colored tropical looking fish flitting about around my swim fins. i had an uneasy feeling about swimming in the same hole we had just had live bleeding bait and squid in. As we drifted around the middle of the hole, i could feel cold water upwelling. There wasn't a single fish of any kind to be found. It had occurred to me that the hole could possibly be a freshwater spring and it might be brackish. A lot of fish are picky about the salinity level in the water they're swimming in, so that might explain why there was no fish in the hole. i did see several nice sized mangrove snapper along the outer edge of the hole where the limestone met the edge of the flat. As i was exploring the reef edge, Mama had swam out onto the flat. Later she described to me a fish that she had been face to face with, looking at each other. It was a 20 inch redfish.
i kept getting the uneasy feeling and Quint's USS Indianapolis speech from the movie Jaws kept replaying in my head....