The Spanish mackerel was released, but probably would have made a tasty smoked fish dip.
After a great day of seminar work at Ladies, Let's Go Fishing, I had the opportunity to go inshore fishing with Captain Bob Jones who operates out of Islamorada in the Florida Keys. A fellow lady angler was my fishing buddy on this outdoor excursion.
Our day started at 7:30 AM as we pulled out of Whale Harbour in his skiff, headed to the barrier banks where the Gulf of Mexico meets Florida Bay in Everglades National Park. No sooner did we anchor and put out a chum slick, that we were catching Spanish mackerel and lady fish on live shrimp.
Lady fish are like mini-tarpons. They jump and provided good practice for a future hook-up with Megalops atlanticus. It's important to keep the line slack when a fish jumps or you could lose the fish.
We navigated through some beautiful mangrove channels on our way out into the bay.
Since my fishing buddy and I had some experience, we were baiting the hooks and casting on our own, but not without some very important tips from Captain Bob Jones, which I appreciated. We also practiced using a dehooker, which allows you to release a fish without ever touching it. The less contact with a fish you're going to release, the better.
The day before, Captain Bob Jones had taught me how to cast a net for bait at one of the skills stations. I managed to do an OK job, with the net falling almost in a full circle. Had there been pilchards or pinfish under that net, I might have nabbed some.
There's definitely some very finessed skill involved. Practice, practice, practice is the only way to get it.
Captain Bob Jones is originally from Ohio and came from a corporate background when he decided to make a life here as a professional guide. He started fishing here in 1981 while on holiday and got hooked on the fish as well as the laid-back life and natural beauty of the Florida Keys.
I'll admit, some fishing guys can be quite scruffy and rough around the edges, which is wonderful in its own way, but Captain Bob Jones was elegant in his demeanor. With a sweet voice and relaxed attitude, it was a pleasure to fish with him on the barrier banks.
My fishing buddy actually helped maneuver the skiff while Captain Bob tried to net pilchards. She's an experienced boater and angler.
The affable Captain Bob with yours truly.
The day was a little rough, with wind blowing upwards of 20 MPH, but we still had pretty good sea legs and no seasickness on this vessel. Captain Bob Jones did a great job of keeping me relatively dry with the boat maneuvering the surface chop.
Around 2 PM, we were back at Whale Harbour and enjoyed some refreshment after a long day. I had a chance to talk to Captain Bob Jones on video.
Captain Bob specializes in bonefish, permit and tarpon in season and is available for other charters as well. Although we were spin casting, he can also do fly. Learn more at Captain Bob Jones.