Part 3: Now we’re far north of the Keys
First on our list of spots on-route to Tampa was a canal where Ken and I had previously caught grass carp and midas cichlid. Ben got to work and caught a midas cichlid of his own.
In the meanwhile, I was trying to replicate our previous success with grass carp. Ken was a champ at netting the fish! Thanks Ken!
Last year’s success, replicated!
And I caught my own midas cichlid to boot. Gorgeous fishies they are!
Next was another spot Martini had recommended for African jewelfish, but instead we found an unsuspected new lifer! A pleasant surprise.
Tragically, at this point I realized I had left one of my rods behind at the previous spot. My ultralight rod was gone! It was a testament to just how tired I was at this point in the trip and we were only half-way through. Oh well, ‘gotta catch ‘em all – at all costs!
Our next spot was a revisiting of the Everglades for Ben to catch up on some lifers.
Hailing from Toronto, where it snows during Christmas time, this was a strange scene to behold…
I caught a very dark bluegill with some purple sheen to it, I thought it was pretty neat!
And of course, one of my favorite aquarium fish…
At our next everglades spot, I walked off from the group for a bathroom break. I stumbled upon the coolest little canal, tucked away from view.
I also spotted some micros darting around so I called the group over. At long last, we found African jewelfish! This one was a long time coming.
There was an alligator hanging around trying to steal our fish and keep us on our toes.
I also hooked an oscar on a tanago hook with 2lb line, it screamed line just like any other shark would… yes I couldn’t stop thinking about sharks!
Ken and Ben both caught their lifer black acara cichlids. They helped me spot them until sundown, but I wasn’t able to catch one for myself.
After a long drive that night, we arrived in Tampa. And immediately resumed fishing!
There was a lot of bait fish around in the murky salt water and some were new species to me.
As an unpleasant surprise to all of us, despite there being so many bait fish around, there weren’t any predators. Our rods lay untouched for most of the night.