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Fishy Friday

After having some great East coast fishing action over the last couple weeks with my boy Pete C , Swords (one monster), Dolphin, Tunas and some other species, my buddy Orlando C. and myself decided to do some west coast fishing, around the Ten Thousand Islands. We headed over from Broward County about 5:30am Friday. We drove through some heavy fog at the usual places off 29 on the way. As the sun started to rise, the fog cleared, with little help from the light breeze. We launched Orlando’s Dolphin Flats boat out of Chokoloskee Island Park about 7:30.Sun rising, air still cool from the night, we skirted by the flocks of resident Pink flamingo’s, Spoon bills, Pelicans, Seagulls, and other birds on the sand bars of Choko bay. We continued out using Rabbit Key pass. At the mouth, south of Turtle Key, we started trolling jigs to p/u lady’s, (Poor man tarpon, in my opinion, one of the best baits over here). We started to whack away at them, losing most of them as they did their jumping, head shaking routine. We boated a dozen or so with couple mackerels mixed in about 15 minutes. Bolted south towards the rivers and picked up some small white bait on way. We then set up at one of our spots on an outside point oyster bar on incoming tide and started hooking into 30-60# plus, sharks. They were peeling line and doing jumps, long runs, and purposely crossing over the oyster bar cutting our braided lines. Some were Spinners for sure, for a second we thought they were tarpon jumping until we saw the hole fish, they were getting air and “spinning”, the others were Black tips, Bulls mixed in? After 6 or so we moved off bar and headed towards the mangroves to another good spot about 100 yd.s away. We hooked 4 small snook, I mean small, and nice red, quickly. Caught few more reds with various other fish like small Mangroves, jacks, cats, trout, ect..The tide and wind direction changed and the sun was scorching us and then the bugs got thicker!, so we moved again. More sharks and cats! We pulled all lines in just so we could eat some food, hydrate, and bake in the sun. After the brief rest, no more than 10 minutes, we put lines back out and hooked couple more sharks! We then decided to head into river. When bringing in lines, we snagged / tail hooked what I believe was a lg sawfish in 2-3' of water. We had just pulled anchor so we followed this beast around for 10 min or so. Only saw tail trashing through murky water as fish was staying down and swimming away as it pleased. We could not slow it down using same tackle that catches 80# sails, tarpons, ect...! said” the hell with it”, we could not turn it and didn’t have all day to tire this fish (can’t miss Happy Hour) so I applied more palm pressure to spool and broke it off. We have caught a few “Saws” through the year’s in similar fashion, usually entanglement. Anyway, we went to another outside point, again more sharks! When the next rod bent over peeling line out we figured it was another one, but this one felt a little different and was “stoppable”. After good fight, we landed, took pics, and released 36" red! After battle, the breaking of the landing net, and picture taking, I mis stepped and fell off boat, phone in hand, into the shark infested waters, but just for half a second or so. I jumped back onboard very quickly. Called it a day about 2:00. Stopped by Pavilion Key for couple minutes to visit few friends camping there. Hot as hell, don”t know how they could stand it. Back at dock 3:00. All and all, a great day, hooking up, no major injuries, out with good people doing what we love. About 40-50 fish in total, ladys included, approx.10 species


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