As newlyweds, Tricia and I flew down to the Orlando area. I was still in dental school. We fished for largemouth bass and we still have the 10.25 pound “honeymoon hawg”, that Tricia caught, hanging on our wall. We then drove down to Key West and caught tarpon in the harbor. On the way, we saw signs along the canals about protecting the recently stocked peacock bass. I said that I wanted to fish for them some day. A dental career, two children, and 30 something years later, we did.
I called Capt. John Shanley at Jurassic Park Fishing Charters: www.jpfishingcharters.com and told him the time that I would be down there. He had three days open and I booked them all to give us the best chance at catching a peacock. It took maybe 15 minutes to catch the first peacock bass. Over the three days, we caught hybrid stripers, largemouth bass, clown knifefish, mayan cichlids, gar, and loads of peacock bass. I have no idea how many we caught. It was a blast catching those fish on light spinning tackle.
After I had scheduled the peacock fishing days, we had a couple of opens days left. A number of people had told me how much fun catching snook was. I had never caught a snook. I called Capt. Eric Lion at County Line Fishing Charters: www.countylinecharters.com and talked to him about snook fishing during those days. He said that if I was flexible, he would contact me about when would be best: tide, night vs day. I did not hear back from him until having dinner after peacock fishing. He had been texting the wrong number for days before figuring it out. If I was still interested, we’d fish the outgoing tide in the next afternoon. That morning he contacted me about the weather and asked if I could come earlier to beat the storms…on my way. We did not get to fish his tide but it did not matter. It took 15 minutes for my first snook hookup. In 4 hours of fishing, I caught 10 snook and had maybe had that many more bites: missed them, pulled the hook, and I had one I could do nothing with. It just went right through the pilings and broke me off.
Maybe, I won’t wait another 30 something years.