Big Snook, Family Fishing Fun

August 23, 2022 4:00 pm By:

One of the serendipities I have discovered in my 4 years as a full time captain, is how truly rewarding it is to take the same families out every summer, watching the kids grow a year older, each summer, becoming friends with their parents, and seeing adventures unfold every time we fish will all remember for years to come.

 When Pete and Christy bring their 2 sons down each summer, we always have a blast.  From the first summer, watching Will catch a giant jack, LP (Little Pete) get grumpy and quiet till he finally jumped a fun sized tarpon, to lost giant unseen fish, lots of fun size snook and reds, to an epic day of jumping 7 tarpon, LP with a big redfish, countless jewfish and Mom catching her first big snook to complete a Slam for the day.  This year was no different.  The boys are old enough to go the distance, so we head out of Goodland to the northern boundary of the Everglades Park and fish our way back through the beautiful maze of the 10,000 Island Wildlife Refuge.

Willy with a fun sized snook

This year started out no differently, as we loaded up on bait and headed south.  Every spot we stopped at was teeming with hungry snook and mangrove snapper, and Willy was on fire as he started spinning his magic and getting everyone in the boat jealous with his growing fish count.  After a pile of snook and snapper, he loaded a nice jewfish in the boat, and I could feel that brotherly tension starting to build.  We worked our way up into Pumpkin Bay as the high tides prepared to start falling, and kicked back for some lunch and Gatorades as we waited.

Willy and a nice jewfish! (golaith grouper)

As we watched dad work his flyrod at the rolling fun sized tarpon, and we chuckled as tried to instruct us of his prowess, a huge splash erupted along the shoreline from a hungry predator working the tide flooded overhangs.  We slid up to casting distance from the commotion, and LP made a perfect cast with a big bait right into the middle of the jungle and was immediately rewarded with a huge crash, and a screaming drag, of course on the little bitty FFP 2500 reel mounted on the Bull Bay Bolt medium power 7 foot rod.    Into the trees, out to the middle, into the trees went the beast…what is this big thing?  A huge explosion of head shaking and more peeling drag right back towards the overhangs confirmed it – LP had a giant snook on the rod, and it was headed to freedom in the gnarly high tide overhangs.  “Stick that rod all the way to the bottom of the ocean kid “ I yelled, and he immediately stuck it deep, all the way to the reel.  (We do this to keep the line below the tip up the mangroves and snags that hang from above)  The big fish worked down the shoreline, under all the snags and then swung back out into the middle for another huge jumping display of power, but the tiny rod, and Little Pete were locked in like pitbulls on the big girl.  Several runs in open water, and a few circles around the boat later, she headed for the trolling motor, then the outboard, but LP stuck that rod deep and the big snook missed her shot, was running out of chances.  Its last hope was Captain Forgetttitall, who left the new landing net in the carport, suddenly on the spot to use his old broken net and hands to land this kids dream snook.  Boom, no adventure on this part today as those two grubby chewed up captain hands snatched her in by the maw, and slid the netting under the belly and flipped her big self right into the boat for the celebration!

LP with his first big snook, a 38 inch beast!

Family fun on the water is what its all about.  Mixing trophy fish into the memories, and watching these kids and their parents come back year after year re-telling the stories, repeating my same silly fishing lingo, axioms, and mostly true stories that my friends have endured for decades is what makes me chuckle to even call this a job. 

Now, not only do I get to enjoy these guys on my boat, I’ve got LP sending me trophy fish pics from the next family fishing adventure up north! Love it! Check out the giant pike this kid went and caught up Alaska! Epic summer for Little Pete!

Thanks for the memories this year Pete, Christy, LP and Willy!  Ya’ll enjoy another year of school up in Pennsylvania and we’ll be ready again next summer!

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