"The snook fishing is going off", that's what my friend Manny tells me. "We're going tonight". Now I had just spent 6 hours of my life exactly one week previous to this going snook fishing with Mr. Snook himself, Dave Justice. Dave had never gone snook fishing and been completely skunked until about 2 years ago when he invited me, Mr. Snookless. You see, I have no luck at snook fishing. I don't know why. Maybe it's because I'm night blind. Maybe it's because I like deep water. Maybe it's because I just plain stink at snook fishing but I've had this black cloud follow me for most of my adult life. Dave took me out and I showed him that my black cloud could rain on his golden horse shoe, even if it was where the sun doesn't shine.
Dave was in town to do a "Snook Seminar" and he invited me to go out…. make that, he invited himself to go out on one of my friends boat. To make a long story short, NOTHING, not even a hit. How could I go out with the guy that wrote the manual on snook fishing and not do well twice? Could lightning actually strike twice? No way. To make a long story short; it did. We got skunked a 2nd time. I promised not to tell everyone at the seminar but I didn't promise not to write about it. Even the great ones have bad days, especially with me on the boat.
Anyways, getting back to this trip. I thought to myself, "If I can go out with Dave and get skunked twice, I'm probably going to go out with Manny and get skunked for a 3rd time. This is not good for my ego. Manny had a buddy of his that was out the night before and said that he'd seen literally hundreds of snook laying on the surface and they were catching them one after another. Well, heck, if they're laying on the surface even an old bottom fisherman like me can catch them so I accept the offer.
I agree to drive to the Miami River, a charming part of Miami where many homeless people reside in multi level cardboard boxes. I park my truck and grab my rods out of the back. I figured that it would be the last time I see my truck with all 4 tires on it. I was to meet Manny and Mike at this ramp along with Dr. Eddie "Yank em" Guerra. He's not only my dentist, he's a good friend as well. Eddie had just bought a 24' Yellowfin Bay boat with a 300 HP Suzuki and he was itching to put some blood on the deck. Unlike Manny, Eddie was on time. He may make his patients wait but when it comes to fishing he's Johnny on the Spot. Heck, he already had the boat in the water. I've fished Eddie before in the Tortugas and he's a pretty lucky guy, especially when it comes to fishing. His looks are deceiving, he looks like one of those Columbian cartel guys you saw in Scarface, complete with long hair and a gaudy truck. Manny finally shows up and asked if I brought the rum. I of course said "Manny, do I ever forget to bring anything that you asked for?" Now Manny's only responsibility was to bring 4 cups….3 guesses if he remembered? Manny would forget his head if it wasn't screwed on. Along with Manny was Mike. He works at Crook & Crook and he's the guy that caught all the snook the night before so I felt pretty confident that his information was accurate. Mike looks like Fidel Castro did at age 21. He even has a scruffy beard like Fidel had when he started the revolution. Maybe he's related?
Manny promised me that we'd be back at midnight. That way, I could work early in the morning. Why I believed him is still a mystery. Manny has never been on time in his life and has never kept time his entire life. The only reason he owns a watch is so that he can tell when happy hour is. We idle up the river until we hit a little shop that sells live shrimp. There's a guy there waiting for us holding a Budweiser bottle. He starts gibbering in spanish. Probably making fun of the only gringo (me) in that zip code but I couldn't tell. We bought some live shrimp for $1 a dozen. That's a pretty good deal here in Miami. Manny commandeers the helm and immediately wants a rum n coke. Wow, can you believe that Manny would actually start drinking before fishing? Is the Pope Polish? Do ducks quack? You get the picture. We have to listen to Manny tell us every spot on the river that he's caught snook. "I caught 30 of them on this bridge one night", "I caught 40 on that seawall", the bragging went on and on. I don't care what he caught, I care about what we were going to catch! It was now dark and Manny having a GPS plotter at his disposal wanted to challenge Christopher Columbus to a competition finding the bridge. Now I probably shouldn't write this but it's true….. we got lost. How do you get lost in a marked channel? Well, it's simple; you just use a Northstar plotter. The thing stinks. It's slow and outdated. Anyways, if you followed our track line it would look like a snake on heroin. I'm completely useless at night because I can't see anything. Eddie is letting Manny drive and I'm thinking that we're going to run into a seawall. Well, luck was on our side and we finally found the bridge.
The tide was still moving which is what you want theoretically. There's one other boat fishing the bridge as well. We decide to anchor 30' outside the bunkers just outside the shadow line. We all scramble with get our troll rite's and shrimp. Mike said "Last night there were hundreds right there" and pointed to an area. He cast's and immediately hooks up. He say's "This is going to be an Epic night of snook fishing". I knew at that point that we would be cursed.
Mike lands the 6 lb fish. I didn't take a picture of it because it wasn't even a keeper and I would wait till we had a nice one. Well Mr. Epic must've caught the only snook on that side of the bridge because we didn't get another hit for an hour.
Finally Eddie hooks up and it seems to be a nice one. He fights the thing around for a couple of minutes and up comes a Cubera snapper. I've caught cubera's before but it's always been on lobsters during the spawn. This one ate a troll rite with a shrimp. Eddie poses with his next nights dinner and puts it in the live well. It's his first one ever.
We decide to make a move to the north side of the bridge I mean, why not, our epic snook night had only yielded 1 short snook. We position the boat basically in the same position only north of the bunkers this time. I continue my attempt to catch a line sided ghost and low and behold my jig finds its' way into a snook's mouth. Call the calendar manufacturer, tell them to change this to a red letter day because I actually manage to catch a snook. Sure it's not the largest snook in the ocean but it was in fact a snook. About this time Eddie hooks up too. Could the epic snook fishing be happening? Could I actually be part of a successful snook fishing trip? Only time would tell. Eddie's fish was a nice one, a keeper for sure.
Manny's casting with one arm, holding a rum n coke in the other. We snap a few pics to show my wife that I actually was fishing and not out at the girly bars. I released my fish and Eddie put his fish in with the cubera in the live well. There's not a cuban alive that is going to release a keeper snook and Eddie wasn't going to break the tradition. Manny is starting to slur his speech by this time and he says "Dis is when I like it da mose, at dee end of da outgun". Well, the epic bite stopped in epic fashion. We decided to move back to the other side of the bridge. We anchored again and the other boat that was fishing comes right up behind us, and I mean 40' behind us. I'm looking at the guys completely dumbfounded on how they could be so stupid but I didn't say anything. 10 minutes later Dumb and Dumber decide to troll their boat between us and the bunkers. I mean, they were so close to us that I could've smacked them with my rod tip. The irish in me finally comes out and I say "Hey guys, you don't think that's pretty rude doing that?", the guy responds "Well you're not suppose to anchor here". Not the proper response. Eddie, who stands all of 5'6" goes into a roid rage. "IF YOU COME BY HERE AGAIN I'M GONNA …., well, I can't write things like that. I had no idea that Eddie had a temper but when you get in-between a cuban and his fish…. watch out. The gilligans did not respond which was smart. They stayed away from us the rest of the night. I did manage to catch a scorpion fish, expert angler that I am.
By now the tide had stopped. Mike suggested that we get up on the bunkers and drop jigs right on their noses. Hey, I'm game, why not? I climb up the pillars like the overweight spider man that I am. There's only one problem; the pilings are covered with pelican poop, and I mean covered to the point of 3 solid inches. The stench is unbelievable. When I get to the top, I am completely covered with chalk, aka dried poop.
Mike hands me the rods and he climbs up too complaining the whole way. There's nothing to wipe your hands off on so I use what anyone would, my pants. We walk to where Mike saw the snook the previous night and as typical to my luck…. they were gone. So much for my Epic snook trip. We spend 10 minutes up there. Every step you make you squish into pelican crap. I'd had about all I could stand of that and Manny idled the boat over and picked us up. We trolled the inlet and caught a good sized cuda. Yeah…..
We hit a couple more "hot" spots and Mike did manage to catch one more dinky snook. We got up on a private dock nearby and were quickly greeted by a Haitian security guard. I caught a little trout and offered it to him. I figured that where he came from that would be a large meal but he wasn't interested in my generosity and told us that if we didn't get off the dock that he would call the police. Maybe I should have offered him a goat? We got back on the boat and cast in the same exact area, only difference we were casting to the dock instead of away from it. It didn't matter, we were catching trout on every cast. They weren't big but it kept the rods bent.
It was getting late and we decided to go to the Brickell bridge. We saved some trout to use for bait. If I caught a giant snook then I would feel redeemed. We drifted through the bridge twice without a bump. We decide to call it a night. I of course rag on little Fidel for not showing me an epic night but I couldn't blame him, he gave it his best.
We pull up to the ramp at 2:00am, there was another boat being pulled out as we were pulling up. Eddie goes and gets his truck and trailer and backs it on down. I pull my truck down near the ramp to shine my lights on the trailer so it would be easier to see. We pull the boat out and are getting al the stuff out of it and start to put the strap on it when up comes a cop car and blocks our exit. He jumps out of the car and immediately accuses us of ripping down the gate. I told him that there was another truck and boat that pulled away right as we were pulling up but he didn't believe it. He went and inspected the front end of the Hummer and realized that there was no damage and instead of saying "Hey, I'm sorry", he ordered us to leave immediately. Thank God Manny didn't talk to him because by this time he was in no position to argue with authority. We left without incident. I got home at 2:30am.
Till Next Time,
Last edited by Reef Bandit; 03-05-2012 at 04:21 PM.
Awesome report and a nice mixed bag you got there! I couldn't help but to notice, you said Cubera fishing with lobster? Is that legal?
Now would I break the law? LOL You can use lobsters if they're keeper size.
Gotcha.. That's what I figured, just wasn't sure. Sweet fish
Great report congrats.Eddie is a lucky good guy with good fishing skills but over all a good friend,here he is again.
Trout for bait? Pelican poop? Fidel Castro? Getting chased out by security? Climbing fenders? sounds fitting. where are all these cardboard boxes with bums living in them by the river? never seen them. Maybe you should take pics next time so I believe you. Must feel good making fun of homeless people.
Yes, Trout for bait. Yes, Pelican poop, Yes Fidel Castro, Yes getting chased out by security. Yes climbing fenders. I'm sorry thy protector of the glorious city of Hialeah. You are right. There are no homeless people. There is no crime in Hialeah. There are no pelicans and the entire trip was a figment of my imagination. The only thing I didn't see are steroids.... but I'm sure you could enlighten us about that couldn't you?
Originally Posted by HialeahAngler
Why do you even respond to these threads? Are you that hard up?
btw, The Miami River is in MIAMI! not Hialeah. ah-doi.
Never said that the MIAMI river was in Hialeah. If it was, it would be called the "HIALEAH river" now wouldn't it? As far as homeless go, All parts of Miami, INCLUDING your illustrious Hialeah have homeless people. Next thing you're going to tell me is that Hialeah doesn't have seedy little hotels. :O