I took the day off this past Friday and snuck “down south” with MoJoe and his dad. I was half asleep by the time we made it to the ramp at around 6 a.m., but I was soon wide awake, hurtling across long bays into the heart of the Glades. Joe’s dad seldom gets out, so we were all hoping he’d have a great day. Things started off slowly. Flintstones Bay, which is usually money, was low and the water murky. Joe had a huge fish rise and follow his topwater plug to the boat, and we all took a step back when we saw that it was a 7-foot shark. And it had friends. After that encounter — and considering the hot water and bobbing jellyfish, which are never good signs — we skated to a spot closer to the Gulf. No dice, save the occasional peanut snook. Finally, after heading back inside to another open bay, we started to connect. We caught scores of under-slot snook, several large jack and three beautiful redfish with reddish-copper sides that blazed in the early afternoon sun — all on plugs. I was especially happy about my red, since at around 30 inches it dwarfed the average spot-tail I usually catch down there. All were, of course, released unharmed. Joe’s dad, using a methodical approach that bordered on casual, had the hot hand — he always seemed to be sweeping the rod tip up to hook something.
If there was a downside to the day, it was the deer and horse-flies, which were out in record numbers. At times, casting was almost impossible, given their numbers and aggressiveness. The deck was littered with their bodies, and our legs bore evidence of their sharp chompers. But we took it in stride and caught fish anyway. The Sullivans (in any combination) are always good for consistent laughs, and yesterday was no different. Plenty of thigh-slappers, enough fish to keep things lively, the requisite jar of pickles and an early summer day deep in a true wilderness. Yeah, life is tough down here.