Every time VIPs come into town and there’s fishing planned, I start looking anxiously at the weather forecasts.
Florida’s weather mostly involves sunshine. But depending upon the destination, some fishing areas are more vulnerable to strong winds than others. So when VISIT FLORIDA decided again to sponsor the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership (TRCP) Saltwater Media Summit in late October 2013, I was more than a little bit relieved that the event would take place in the Florida Keys. The weather really has to stink to hurt the fishing the many backcountry areas north of the Keys.
We had a six-hour window to fish, leaving out of Bud N’ Mary’s Marina in Islamorada. The wind was blowing 15 to 20 knots out of the east, with overcast skies. Those are obviously less than ideal conditions for sight fishing on the flats. So, as many of the other captains chose to do, Capt. Perry Scuderi took Dr. Larry McKinney and me into one of the dozens of wind-protected creeks in Everglades National Park.
I spent many happy hours of my youth fishing such creeks with my dad, for tarpon, snook and redfish. So it was a trip down memory lane, as well as a chance to fish with Perry, while enjoying the ecological insights of one of the country’s most important marine scientists, who is the Executive Director of the Harte Research Institute’s Gulf of Mexico Studies.
We tucked up into a mangrove creek that was barely wider than Perry’s Action Craft flats skiff. Tossing live shrimp on jigheads, we caught several nice redfish that we managed to land using fishing’s version of Judo, despite the powerful fish, the strong current and the tight quarters. A couple of other fish that we never even saw cut us off in the mangroves before we had any chance to ID them.
About 25 visiting outdoor writers and policy experts attended the summit and went fishing. All who made the run back into the protected areas of the park caught fish, including some really impressive tarpon and snook.
If you’re in the Keys, Miami or Homestead area during the fall, winter or spring, I strongly recommend exploring the backcountry wilderness—rod in hand—with an experienced guide like Capt. Perry. It’s gorgeous, mysterious and offers some of the world’s best fishing.
Bring the kids!