We got to spend a few days out of Marco Island with family over the weekend and managed to get some fishing in. We arrived at my parent's incredible new waterfront home in Marco, that will be for rent soon, to hear stories of the Goodland boat parade that we missed on Saturday. It sounded highly entertaining with highlights of tremendous beer bellies, hula skirts, and coconut bikinis all on the same characters. A quick run to Grimms in Everglades city for some stone crab claws for the weekend, made it too late for a fishing trip Saturday.

      The weather report for Sunday was not great with high winds, but we were determined to fish some of the screaming incoming tide. We headed out at the bright and early hour of about 11 am or so with 6 dozen willing shrimp, my better half, our son, and nephew. My dad was kind enough to let us use his 21' Release flats boat for the weekend so I didn't have to drag my boat down, thanks pops. On the way to the first spot across the Marco River we are delighted to see several pods of dolphins frolicking in the current. After the dolphin show we have to attempt anchoring several times in the howling wind, but we are determined to fish a new spot that has great current and just looks too fishy. The hits start as soon as we drop lines with some nice fish lost early until a cormorant sees us land a few small jacks, mangrove snapper, and ladyfish, and tries to eat every casted shrimp, swimming back and forth across the point we are trying to fish. Well, the young boys are delighted at my efforts to try to scare the darn bird away, without hurting it of course, and join in after the laughter subsides. When we finally got the bird to leave, we started to land some of the fish we were losing earlier, some nice sheepshead. Over the next hour we caught 10 or 15 sheepshead, keeping a half dozen or so of the bigger ones for the table. We also caught plenty more snapper, jacks, and ladyfish so that there was plenty of action for the kids especially. After just a couple of hours we headed in and feasted that night on all we could eat stone crabs. We even had enough to make a stuffing out of the leftovers, for the sheepshead we baked for dinner on Monday night.

      We got out to fish a little earlier on Monday, and were greeted to an incredible day in the 10,000 Islands with fair skies, light winds and great temps in the low 70s. My brother in law added to the crew for the day as we headed south from Marco and Goodland to the base of the 10,000 Islands with another several dozen shrimp. The current was a little lighter than expected at the first spot, but we gave it a shot anyhow. And sure enough the usual jacks, ladyfish, and small mangrove snapper start giving us some action. Then my nephew hooks a good fish and quite a battle ensues on the 12# spinning gear. It's fighting like a redfish and then we see the telltale boil at the surface to confirm CJs first redfish, and it's a good one that measures just over 22" after being netted.
That is the beginning of a classic day in the 10,000 Islands. Another nice big red gets hooked and lost at the first spot, but we do land a few nice trout and some rat reds, before we decide to head farther south.

Exploring the new area, for me, the fishing started slowly until we zeroed in on a couple of nice points that gave up plenty of action. We caught several more small redfish along with my brother in law landing a nice 23".
And then the surprise of the day, my son landed a couple of small snook.
The water temperature was almost to 75 already so it's looking like spring may be coming early to southwest Florida. We end the day with a handful of nice trout, 10-15 reds, 2 snooklets, a ton of other small fish, and lots of smiles for the trip home. Until next time, tight lines!