I’m still on cloud nine sitting here writing at the computer after yesterday’s great fishing trip out of Fort Myers, topping off 4 straight days on the water fishing with the family and my buddy Scott the final day. It started Friday with us getting loaded up and heading down to my parents awesome house on Marco Island that is for rent and can be viewed here http://www.homeaway.com/vacation-rental/p995619.

We barely made it down before sunset but not quite. And I was even able to briefly hook a good unknown fish on topwater, and land a small trout as I captained the boat to the house. We didn’t start early the next day and the heat was already on by the time we hit the water just before nine with the 3 of us and 5 dozen or so willing shrimp. With just a little exploring we found a bunch of fish to get things going.

The snapper bite was great with fish on almost every cast, with a few keeper sized fish in the mix going into the cooler. The snook bite was going fairly well also with several dink sized fish to start, followed by a big bite that I missed and then a few around 20” or so that screamed off a little drag from the light spinning gear.

After a few hours we figured it was time to get in the water and cool off, so we headed to Key Wayden Island with the crowd and enjoyed a great afternoon at the beach.

Sunday we left the house a little earlier and immediately headed south past Goodland to the base of the 10,000 Islands. Once again we just had to explore a little to find some fish willing to eat our baited lines. The snapper and small snook continued to show us a good time, with the addition of small ladyfish, a mackerel and sand trout caught by my boy, and a just under slot redfish caught by my better half.

The highlight of the day came just as we were preparing to leave a mangrove shoreline in all of about 2’ of water. I don’t remember who saw it first but there was a nurse shark that had to be close to 10’ that looked almost orange in the murky water finning along the shoreline. Then it must have caught the smell of the ladyfish in the livewell as it swam down current, then turned and stalked the boat and swam right under it. By the time my adrenaline laced attempt at rigging a bait and casting it the first time literally wrapped the ladyfish around Dawn with the 30# test line, and then making a good cast, the fish was gone. With the heat up again it was back to the house for a much needed relaxing cool down in the pool for the afternoon before we cleaned up and headed back to Fort Myers.

I thought Monday was going to be a catch up day, but I left the boat hooked to the truck just in case. So it didn’t take much for my good buddy Scott to convince us to hit the water for the 4th day in row. I’ve heard the tarpon bite has been going off, but hadn’t seen them the few times I’ve looked for them, although we did find some great shark bites. This day started amazing as my favorite pod of dolphins charged the boat to play in the wake as soon as we left the ramp and headed into the channel. First stop was to the bait spot on the beach and the diving birds hinted that the bait was finally back and accessible. A couple throws of the net by Scott loaded the livewell with great large whitebaits. Then he noticed a snook, then another, then a bunch. They were obviously feeding on the same bait we were catching and there were a ton of them. I caught one on the first cast with one of the freshly caught livies and that was it. We worked our way down the beach some and there was one pod of snook after another totaling hundreds of fish we must have seen, but none would bite. So next we ran the nearshore waters off the beach looking for activity. We stopped and fished once and amazingly enough saw another very orange looking nurse shark swim by the boat, though nowhere near the size of the one from the 10K. We made another bait stop and this time Scott only needed 1 throw of the castnet to gather a bunch of nice big live threadfin herrings. With all that awesome bait now in the boat, I was determined to hunt for tarpon, and we found them. There were a few other boats in the area, but we started our first drift a ways off, as there was plenty of activity all around. We started with a couple of hooks stolen by suspected mackerel and sharks before I got a big mackerel to the boat. Then the tarpon really started showing themselves with pods breaking the water all around. Then we saw 1 of the other boats in the area get a jump or 2 out of big tarpon. Then I got mine, we got into the rolling fish and I made a good cast, and the line came tight shortly after the bait hit the water. I reeled down and as soon as the drag started screaming, my second biggest tarpon ever launched out of the water maybe 30 feet from the boat. We had to quickly give chase as the line was disappearing from the spool way too fast as the fish greyhounded and jumped several times trying to escape us. 

Can’t thank him enough, as Scott was able to grab a couple of pictures as I battled the suspected 200# tarpon for about 20 minutes before the hook pulled at the boat.

My boy got his chance with another nice big mackerel that gave him his drag screaming fun.  Then it was Scott’s turn as a good bite almost spooled his 4000 series reel before we could give chase. Not quite though and Scott was able to land a cool little hammerhead that was just small enough for me to grab it and pose for a picture.

The activity laid down after that and the heat cranked up, so just after noon we called it a day with my world made by the dance with a silver king.