Every so often, it’s good to try something new in terms of how and where we fish. We all tend to fall into angling ruts from time to time, and branching out to search for new species, or try something completely different, can refresh our fishing perspective in a positive way. I had such an experience recently, not with my own angling adventures, but with a couple of friends.
SWS Field Editor Karl Anderson came to Islamorada to speak to a group at the Islamorada Fishing Club about fishing for giant bluefin tuna in Nova Scotia as part of the club’s monthly fishing seminar series. I schedule the speakers and coerced Anderson into the engagement with the promise of a fishing trip for he and his father, Kris, the following day. Both Andersons are well-known offshore fishermen, and Karl has established a firm reputation as one of the leading experts at catching bluefin in Canada each fall, so I planned for an offshore trip to target sailfish off the Keys the next morning.
But at dinner that night, both of them expressed interest in a trip of a very different nature: Neither had ever ventured back into Florida Bay, the famed backcountry of Islamorada, a completely different type of fishing trip, in shallow water. I agreed to take them and our fishing plans took a 180 degree turn.
The next day, we headed north in my skiff toward Flamingo, the Everglades National Park outpost on the extreme southern tip of mainland Florida. We arrived just before low tide, so the bird life was incredible, and we managed to catch quite a few fish, including some small redfish, even though backcountry fishing is decidedly not my strong suit.
Both Karl and Kris were blown away by the extraordinary diversity this area has to offer, and the highlight of the day was spotting a flock of wild flamingoes in a shallow water lagoon known as Lake Ingraham. It was a great day, and the two enjoyed catching and releasing fish the size of which the younger Anderson would normally rig as bait (see photo above).
It just goes to show you that a change of pace can often be just the ticket for a great day, and it’s not always about the size of the fish.