11 January 2014

• #10: Islamorada Journal 2014…11 JAN

[In which we discover where Long Island Sound's bluefish went]

Captain Wayne and I went forth in Shoo-Fly to see what fish we could find...not suspecting that we'd run into a mess of bluefish.

Yes fellow Connecticut fisherfolk, those bluefish we desperately searched for last summer are in the Florida Keys.

Not this fish, of course. This is a spotted seatrout; good tablefare, but this one was too short by one inch to keep.

Early in the trip we were chased around by a rainstorm that sent us scurrying to the east where we hid behind a small key.

And there bumped into some good-sized jack crevales.

Click on any photo to enlarge

The rainclouds eventually went off to the north and we moved to a new location [which, of course, we will not disclose herein].

The third spot we tried in the new location was loaded with good-sized jacks...and bluefish...and they were hitting surface lures with abandon.

Biggest blue we caught might have gone 5 pounds.

It was interesting to see jacks and blues mixed in together...similar to finding blues and striped bass feeding together in Long Island Sound.

These fish were all in excellent shape...fat and sassy...obviously well-fed.

This photo shows some of the color changes associated with the depth of the water in Florida Bay. Although few spots in the areas we fish are deeper than 7 feet, the color changes are nevertheless dramatic. You can see the purples of the shallows and the varying greens in deeper channels.

I got a mess of jacks on the flyrod using a favorite, tiny popper...until a bluefish took it off the line [bluefish have nasty teeth].

Biggest jacks we landed probably were in the 4-5 pound range.

We lost count of how many jacks and blues we caught.

Here you can see where a blue or jack has whacked at Wayne's surface plug, but missed getting it into his mouth and knocked the plug flying through the air.

At times there were a dozen fish chasing one plug. In fact, I had fun throwing out a surface plug and then reeling it back so fast that the fish couldn't catch it...I'd get 6,7,8 strikes in the retrieve and wind up laughing out loud at the fishes' shenanigans.

Sometimes, though, no matter how fast I reeled, the fish would still grab the plug.

This pesty gull thought our surface plugs were for real...and would dive down trying to catch them. We'd have to yank the plug out from under the bird or he'd try to carry it off.

Hooking a gull is not a desirable activity.

Tonight's sunset.

Oh, and we'll try to convince the bluefish to go back north...after they've fattened up on Keys baitfish.

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