Spring break in Florida: As always, these fish strike with a vengeance
For the last few years, we’ve taken a family trip down to Florida over spring break to chill out, do some fishing, and visit my dad and step-mom, Winnie. This year was bittersweet because my son, Hunter, made the varsity baseball team as a sophomore, which was cool, but spring baseball meant that he’d have games over the vacation and couldn’t come (which wasn’t so cool).
It was his choice to stay back and I let him make it on his own. We did have some additional company, though, for part of the trip; my brother-in-law and his wife, Glenn and Dana Lazich of Mukwonago, and their kids, Macie, Grayson, and Autumn, joined us for the first leg of the journey.
The first few days were spent fishing mainly on canals that were adjacent to the home we were renting. I had done some research and figured out we’d have a reasonable chance at catching redfish, snook, catfish, and maybe some sheepshead right in our own backyard.
We didn’t catch anything overly big, but we had action from each of the species mentioned above. In fact, catfish were easy pickings by just putting a shrimp on the cork and letting ’er float. We ran out of shrimp one day so I cut up some hotdogs and put a garlic-and-salt dry rub on them, thinking that catfish usually aren’t that picky and will eat anything that stinks. We caught a bunch on my ad-hoc catfish bait and it was easier than messing with the shrimp.
Score one for the freshwater yankee!
We then moved on to fish in the Englewood, Fla., area around mangroves and clam beds. My dad drove his center console boat and we hit various spots with jerkbaits, swim baits, grubs, and some live bait. We caught fish in every spot, with the highlight being a 27-inch speckled trout I landed on a bait Dad gave me for my birthday the day before.
What amazes me every time I go down there is how violent these fish are. I mean, even the small ones strike with vengeance. One day we got in the middle of a small feeding frenzy of snook in our canal and I was actually a little bit scared of what would happen if I fell in. But I wasn’t so scared that I didn’t tie on a topwater bait and watch it get crushed.
I’m already looking forward to another trip. I just hope Slinger switches to summer baseball so Hunter can come, too.