An unplanned to South Florida just came along with short notice. To those of you on my mailing list, or those that follow my social media, you'll know that the trip was based around me joining the 305 marathon as part of the run for Yitzi team. Again, many thanks to those of you that stepped up to help my cause, thank God, the campaign goal was reach within a few days, and we went well beyond our goal, with extra cash donations coming in as well.
In my book, it would be a sin, possibly even a crime, for me to visit Florida without fishing. As well, I now have my daughter and her growing family living in North Miami beach. Accordingly, I planned a 7 day trip around the marathon, with evenings reserved for family time, and daytime during the week all being dedicated to fishing, being that everyone else was at work or school.
For the first time ever, I opted to try my hand at freshwater fishing in Florida, and instead of hiring guides, I just set a few goals before leaving, and scouted a few potential shore fishing spots online. I did also book one full day on Biscayne Bay for some saltwater action with one of the best guides, but more on that later...
I purchased a Florida freshwater fishing license before going, brought along a reel, some lures and end tackle, and planned to get a rod at Basspro to leave down there at my daughter's house for future visits. My goals for the trip were to attempt to catch 3 freshwater species, namely largemouth bass, peacock bass, and invasive snakeheads. All freshwater fishing was planned on various canals in South Florida, that had both parking options, and access to lots of fishable water on foot.
After landing at Fort Lauderdale International airport, my daughter drove to pick me up along with my grand daughter. One the way home, we were joined by my son in law, and we met up at Basspro to get myself a rod. I opted for a 6 foot medium light Ugly stik gx2, with paired nicely with my Penn Pursuit 30 series spinning reel. Here's a shot of my grand daughter Shaina getting her first glimpse at the Basspro fish tank, with a sizeable redfish making it's appearance for the pic.
Day 1 - Friday March 4th:
Got out for a few hours onto the Royal Glades canal in North Miami beach. Not having any car at my disposal yet, this canal is a convenient 5 minute walk for where I was staying.
Shoreline trails lined with joggers, people walking, few on bikes, tons of birds species, and an infestation of iguanas.
I immediately started seeing a mix of cichlids along the shore, mixed in with some very small peacock bass. Having seen some largemouth bass in the canal in December, I knew that 2 of my target species for the trip will next door to where I was staying. Now, the challenge was to see if I would be able to catch any.
Unfortunately, winds were gusting at 50 k/m per hours, which made any hope for finesse topwater fishing, obsolete. I did manage a hit from a good 12-13 inch peacock bass at a Mepps #3 spinner, but it didn't get hooked. Later on, while burning a buzzbait at high speed, another half hearted hit from a small largemouth bass, but again no hookup. I made my way over to the other side of the canal, where I was a bit more sheltered from the wind. Surprisingly, I managed to get follows from 2 baby tarpons, and 3 small jacks. No hookups, but good to know that there are saltwater species in the canal as well.
All in all, and informative outing despite not hooking any fish in 3 hours of fishing. I did manage to spot the biggest largemouth bass I had ever seen, I'm quite sure it was over 10 lbs. Only had 2 shots at it, but she wasn't playing along with my plans.
After and enjoyable Shabbat with the family fueled by good drink, I joined the marathon early Sunday morning. Again, not having any training, I opted for the easier 5k option. Pics can be viewed online at:
Day 2 for fishing:
Monday's weather still had persisting high windS, though gusts were down to about 40 km/h. Having rented a car the previous night, I made my way North West, planning to fish the c14 canal in Tamarac, as well as Big Cypress creek in the everglades at Coral springs. Both waterways were confirmed to contain largemouth bass and snakeheads, and I was hoping to land at least one of each species.
I started off fishing 2 spots on the c14 canal.
Unfortunately, nothing biting in the high winds, but did manage to SEE a bunch of protected burrowing owls all over the place.
Also spotted this big cool looking bird eating a huge beetle or caterpillar. I believe it may be called anhinga.
Eventually, after not getting any bites, I made my way to a small canal where I had spotted some spawning peacock bass during a trip to the area in December 2021. All I managed was to spot a small grass carp in the 6-7 lbs range. Wasn't going to bother with it, so I made my was West to the Sawgrass trailhead. This is a park on the border of the everglades that runs along hwy 75 , aka "alligator alley".
I was warned by one of the locals to be very weary of spooking alligators on the bank, being that most of the shore is line with 4-5 foot tall grass. Last thing I'd want was to startle a gator, copperhead, or rattlesnake, while trekking alone in the swamp.
I got to the park around 1 PM.
I believe the canal is named Big Cypress cReek, thought I'm not 100% sure, as there weren't any signs up. Regardless, I again began throwing a variety of lures, and eventually, my Berkely Choppo topwater lure paid off with my first largemouth bass of the day, and first target species acquired.
Sticking with the Choppo, I started getting chased by many small gar. I believe they were Florida gar, or perhaps spotted gar, which are very similar. Regardless, they were all quite small, extremely aggressive, and very tough to hook. Eventually, I hooked into a small snakehead, a good 15 - 16 inches or so in length. Not having any landing net, I wasn't able to heave it up onto the shore, as I was about 4 feet above the water level, which was quite low for the canal. My heart sank as I saw it spit the hook and swim off, but I was happy to have had a decent fight, and hopeful of getting another one.
Working my way down the canal, I started seeing less and less activity. After a couple hours and few Kilometers fished, I made my way back to where most of the action occurred. Sure enough, the fishing was much better as evening rolled in, starting off with another largemouth bass.
After getting an explosion from a huge snakehead and another follow from it, I ended up teasing a gar ENOUGH into biting, and then followed up with a second one as well.