Finally Fishing

The weather finally broke, and I had a chance to fish the backcountry of Florida Bay with one of the Keys' finest, John Donnell. You might recognize the name - and face - from Flip Pallot's Walker's Cay Chronicles. John was the guide who had his nose broken by a tarpon on camera. Anyway, John was kind enough to show me another side of Flamingo with some fantastic fishing for snook (seven on fly up to 12 pounds), tarpon (two babies released and numerous others hooked, as is always the story) and (although we didn't catch any) some super-sized redfish. Donnell is always good for a great quote, and Friday was no different. After successfully pulling a Hell's Bay Hopper out the mouth of an attacking snook, he deadpanned, "Thank God. You got it away from him just in time. He almost got it." As a fly-fisherman, you couldn't ask for anything more. I am sworn to secrecy about the rest of it, but suffice it to say Dozer is one of the best in the Florida Keys - and a genuinely nice guy. Unfortunately, the weather again started to blow up, and we'll see what that means for our action in the World Sailfish Championship next week. I'll be starting to catch bait and get ready for this big-money event, and I hope to have some updates on www.sportfishingmag.com.

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Capt. John "Dozer" Donnell navigates his Hell's Bay 18 Guide through the banks and channels of Florida Bay / Capt. Ted Lund with a beefy Florida Bay snook on fly.