03-12-12 Spring Break Houseboat Trip

Although I’m no longer renting houseboats I still have access to one, and we had a chance to take my son and a couple of his cousins, from the east coast, out during spring break. The trip started with my boy and I arriving in Marco Island Monday morning, where we loaded Nana and the cousins into the truck for a quick trip to the Rookery Bay Education Center. They had some decent exhibits and knowledgeable people that made for a nice morning. After heading back to the house for a quick lunch, we loaded up the gear and headed to the Port Of The Islands with my dad’s flats boat in tow. We quickly got the boats headed down the canal for the beginning of another 10K adventure. At the end of the canal the kids jumped on the flats boat with Bepops and I got to have a nice leisurely cruise in the houseboat with Nana, to our anchorage in Fakahatchee Bay. Once anchored up we all briefly met back at the houseboat before my dad, the eldest cousin, and I headed to some of my favorite spots in the bay for the late afternoon and sunset bite. The first few fish to bite are hard head catfish in the very muddy water. But, just about the time we’re ready to move to another spot I throw a small lure a few times and pick up a decent 20” or so snook.
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A few more casts and my lure stops dead, and a nice snook launches from the murky water when I set the hook. The snook thinks it’s a tarpon with several crazy full jumps clear out of the water that make awesome lasting impressions on all of us. We get her to the boat for a quick measure, around 27”, and a couple of pictures before we get her to swim off no worse for the wear.
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The snook bite continues for the next half hour or so, all on lures, although most of the fish we caught can only be called snook when they grow up a little.
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The bite finally dies so we head to the next spot, before the tide stops and goes slack. We catch a few more snooklets and my nephew gets a decent mangrove snapper.
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We head to one last spot as the tide turns and my nephew lands a rat red, to complete a mini slam of some sort for him.
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A swarm of noseeums and mosquitos chase us from the shoreline, just after the sun dipped below the horizon, and we headed back to the mothership. Nobody wanted to rush out early to fish the next morning, but we finally load up the fishing boat with all the kids and try some nearby spots. The bite is nonexistent and that works nicely as the boys get to hang out without being interrupted by catching any fish.
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We have to head back before we know it and it’s quite a challenge to navigate back to the Port on a very low tide. The boys get one more dose of the incredible wilderness we’ve been playing in, at the dock, from a manatee that is meandering around the parked boats in the marina. With the cleanup done we head back to Marco for a quick swim before we have to leave the 10K behind with more fantastic memories.

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