Strong and unseasonable winds prior to and throughout the first few days of our annual trip to Bud n’ Mary’s, Islamorada, in the Florida Keys, resulted in a relatively tough weeks fishing, yet by the end of our stay everyone had ticked off several fish from their personal ‘bucket lists’, notably tarpon and permit, along with elusive sawfish; specimens to over 500lb of these prehistoric fish released at the boat on each occasion they were targeted. The tarpon fishing in particular had been affected by the winds, which came on the back of some late cold fronts at the end of April. A serious shortage of live mullet, again a result of the weather, added to the situation. As you would expect fishing early morning produced the most tarpon bites, with as many as three 100lb+ fish being released in a session when finally things settled down towards the end of the week.
In total our group caught an impressive 10 different species over 100lb during the week, which in my book is not bad for a ‘tough week’! These included: tarpon, goliath grouper, sawfish, stingray along with lemon, bull, blacktip, tiger, hammerhead and, of course, ‘nancy the nurse shark’! Fishing the mangrove jungles around the southern end of the Everglades up around Cape Sable, one of my personal favourite days on the water, produced redfish, snook, spotted sea trout, sheep’s head and numerous back country other species. Other species caught throughout the week included several good bonefish, lots of different species of snapper & grouper, etc, etc.
Of course by the end of our week the weather was perfect, which pleased me as after dropping the group off at Miami airport I met my wife, Alison, & we drove west for a week in Naples, followed by four days further up the coast on Sanibel Island. We have stayed at Naples many times, and when we do so I like nothing better than to get up early and fly fish the beach and mangrove flats and channels at Clam Pass, a few miles north of downtown Naples. Snook are one of my personal favourite species, and over the years I have been fortunate enough to have caught many while fly fishing at Clam Pass. This year the fishing was as good as ever and I caught snook on 5 of the six sessions I fished at Clam Pass, not big fish by any measure but great fun on a fly rod, and a very satisfying way to start the day. Unfortunately we had to cut our stay on Sanibel short & return home three days earlier than planned, so I will have to return again to experience what everyone tells me is the best shore based snook fishing anywhere…
Everyone has confirmed they will be returning to Bud n’ Mary’s in the near future, and already next years trip, leaving May 9th, is full. Such is the popularity and quality of fishing on this trip we are looking at the possibility of organising a second week next year. If you are interested contact Anglers World Holidays on Tel: 01246 221717.