Sometimes, you need to just call in sick to work, fire up the car, and just drive until you feel like stopping, and see what might come your way. That is exactly what Brendon and his cousin Eddie did after they loaded up the assault vehicle and headed toward the sunset and the beautiful, less populated confines of the West coast of Florida in search of some much needed R & R. Right around sundown, they had the truck packed, and headed Southbound on I-95 toward the fabled Tamiami trail, to make the West-ward journey across the Southwestern portion of the Everglades. This route is in no way the fastest or closest route to the other side of Florida, but when traveling the poorly maintained route through the Everglades, it allows you to encounter a wide array of angling opportunity's for a large variety of species (salt and fresh).
Brendon made his way across the treachorous stretch of unincorporated roadway as the sun was getting ready to fall into the Western sky,which sends the signal out for the creatures of the night to arise from the bowels of the swamp, and converge on the still warm and seemingly endless stretch of asphalt extending West-ward. But it only took one short stop along a roadside ditch somewhere in the middle of the state to land a nice and healthy black water Snook, before the mosquitos became unbearable, forcing the back into the truck and realigning their focus to the trip at hand.
They pushed on as darkness fell on the trail, thus giving them an opportunity to take in some of the unexpected sights and creatures you may encounter when traveling on the trail at after dusk. Kind of like this 8 foot alligator that was itching to become a speed bump for an unsuspecting traveler.
After a semi-eventful trip across the state, Brendon and Eddie finally reached their hotel and checked in for the three day weekend ahead of them, and were finally able to sit down and try to figure out a game plan for the coming days.
They were only able to manage just a few short hours of shut eye, Brendon arose in a daze to make a half hearted attempt to find the nearest Dunkin Donuts and indulge in his morning coffee and bagel. But on his journey through the light fog shortly after dawn, some explosions caught his eye coming from a private pond system on the edge of a neighborhood a few miles down the road from their Ft. Myers hotel. Brendon quickly pulled over to the side of the road to assess the situation, and to make an attempt to find the culprit behind the explosions he had saw just moments ago from the road. He sprung to action with a small zara spook he had on a light tackle rod that was still in the truck from the voyage over the night before, and after a couple of casts, an estimated 30lb tarpon opened its mouth beneath the spook, making the plug disappear into a small whirlpool before the fish launched itself toward the sky and popped his line. High hopes and visions of silver raced though Brendons mond after the breif roadside encounter,so Brendon raced back to the hotel to wake his cousin, load up on tackle, and head back to the golf course water hazard to see if they could drum up any more luck. But when they arrived back at their new "honey hole", they did not know that this is where they would end up spending almost their entire vacation. Which the became clear once they saw finger mullet getting blown onto the banks of the lake in a full blown fresh water feeding frenzy.
Brendon quickly sprang into action and began scooping the stranded finger mullet up off the grass laden shoreline with only his hands, and they quickly "released" the marooned baits back into the pond, with hardened steel sticking through their little mouths. It did not take long before both Brendon and Eddie were hooked upon a double, with species that they could not clearly identify, that is until both fish hit the bank after a short, vicious battle.
Cast, after cast, they began to bail abnormally large land-locked Mangrove Snapper onto the shoreline, with most of them being between 14 and 20 inches. They devoured every bait they tossed into the corner of the pond, until they had all been caught, or their bellies were full. But soon after the mangrove snapper destruction, another blitz of fish came barreling through, and began demolished the finger sized baits in the corner of the pond. This time it wasn't the nuclear sized snapper though, but another land-locked species was now moving in on the lame duck baits.
The day went on, and the blitzkreig of fish continued, with no signs of fading as the afternoon approached. They even began catching a new species every now and again.
As the sun began to fade over the Western horizon, the duo decided to pack it in for the night, and sample a little bit of the local night-life, but not before the redfish tally was up to around 10. However, that doesn't include the lone Snook, and the large number of prehistoric Mangrove Snapper which they captured throughout the day as well. But until the next day, it was time to tally up one more red, and kick back and relax for the night.
After sleeping through the morning bite, and trying to recover from the previous day/night, they headed back to the water hazard in an attempt to re-live the magic which they encountered the day before. It was not long before the two of them realized, that again, they would not be let down. Soon after the first baits were casted out towards the edge of the sawgrass, they began to land nice land-locked reds yet again.
Again, they encountered hot redfish action, well after the sun had set, and their arms had gotten tired from the endless action they encountered throughout the afternoon. With the final tally for the afternoon ending up around 10 Redfish, they decided to again hit the town and return the next afternoon for their final attempt to land a few more quality fish, and to take one last crack at the Tarpon that had been eluding them for the previous two days.
The final day began, fairly similar to how the previous day had began, with a very late start and then some fast action with some nice redfish. And again, they found that the redfish bite had never seemed to stopped from the previous two days.
But as the sun was fading on the day, and their departure time nearing, the two decided to fish a couple of more baits before they hit the road and headed back to the hustle and the bustle of the Southeastern coast of Florida, and ultimately back to reality. On Brendon's last bait, an eruption occurred on the adjacent shoreline, right where his mullet had been swimming freely, trying to avoid a confrontation with a predatory pond dweller. A silver bullet emerged from the water a split second after he drove the hook into the culprit, and the battle with the fish of the trip was finally on. Soon after a few massive and belligerent leaps across the pond, Brendon was finally able to land the first, and only tarpon of the trip. And after quick picture, the Tarpon was released to continue its reign as king of the pond.
With their main adversary finally conquered, and the truck already packed, they hit the road and took the less distracting Alligator Ally back East while the reminisced about the success of their last second vacation. One of the perks about living in South Florida, is that you never know when you might stumble across some incredible angling opportunities, even if you are hundreds of miles from home, because you never know when you may be able to witness a Red Dawn in a water hazard on a fresh water golf course.