June 21, 2011

Who's The Idiot That Brought the Knife to the Gun Fight?

...that (of course) would be yours truly.

Before I get into this story, let me set the stage.  It's Father's Day 2011... about 9ish in the morning.  I'm on vacation with the fam in Boca Raton visiting the in-laws.  The plan had been to shoot down to Dania Beach and get some Dad's Day lunch & ice cream at Jaxson's Ice Cream Parlor.  Seriously... if you haven't been, go there... and if you're in Florida... make that immediately!

I'm sitting outside, watching Lilly swim in the swimming pool, and K.C. busts out of the sliding door and says, "we're going to spend the night in Sanibel, grab your rod."  Sanibel... huh... I wanted ice cream... what...???

Lilly don't mess around

Anyway, about an hour and a half of drying Lilly off and packing, we're in the car headed west to Sanibel Island.  It's like two hours through "Alligator Alley" listening to my mother-in-law identify every stick, twig, and branch in the water as a gator.  Okay... that might be a bit of an exaggeration... because as she'll tell you the gators are obviously only on found the north side, never the south side, duh.

Coast to Coast...just like pre-HIV Magic Johnson

So we got to Sanibel Island and first off it's gorgeous, but second, it's kinda remote.  Like not remote where you have to "hike in" or anything, but remote enough that there's no Target (to K.C.'s dismay), and a trip to the one grocery store is like a 20 minute drive on the only road that runs through the place.

Net of it was...we got there, but not on the planned timetable... see we went to the wrong motel first... drove around some more trying to get our bearings... had to use Google Maps on the smartphone to find the right motel (because nobody seems to knows how decipher the incredibly hard to work in-dash GPS of the 'rent's Subaru Outback)... made it to the motel & dropped the bags off at the room... drove another 20 minutes to get lunch (yum, BTW)... and then finally back to the motel to sleep for a bit before tossing some swimsuits on.  Sound like your last vacation?  Probably does.

Our room was right next to Thurston & Lovey Howell's

Lilly wasn't having any of that heat, but unicorn socks and but popcorn worked fine

We would have went to the beach sooner, but we settled in around 2:30/3:00 and I think it was 137 degrees on the beach.  Some of the locals might have said there was a cool sea breeze comfortably knocking off 3 or 4 degrees, but there wasn't.  Just eyeball-liquefying heat that no shelter beneath a poorly anchored beach umbrella could diminish.

Sanibel's version of a vulture seeking roadkill

I will say that waiting until about 6:00 PM to go to the beach was an awesome call.  First off, there was nobody there.  Like nobody.  Really.  Which was good... because there were no witnesses to watch me make a jackass of myself in the surf for about an hour and a half, hopelessly flailing a trout rod back in forth in search of snook, marlin, illegal immigrants, or whatever the heck swims in the Gulf of Mexico waters.  Yeah, I'm no saltwater fisherman.

Two minutes of casting, fifteen of tangles...rinse...repeat...

Had we of been there longer, I probably would have sought out the the bait shop, hardware store, or wherever the locals buy stuff for some fishing advice, but we were looking at 2 and a half hours until sunset.  So I had to make do for a bit with the aforementioned 4-weight rod, 5-weight line, and saltwater flies I won in a Twitter contest more appropriate for a 7-9 weight rod.  (Sorry Rob @ A Bad Backcast...they look really nice in the fly box, but I done you wrong!)  Trying to muscle that damn fly out a mere 20-30 feet while dodging the sharpened steel erratically whizzing by my head was downright exhausting.

Well...at least I look the part

After playing with Lilly for a bit, I switched to a similarly under-powered spin rod that my mother-in-law brought while she & K.C. went out to collect shells.  As with the fly rod, I had nothing to put on it... yeah, there were some rubber bass worms in her tackle box, but I needed to be more Blair Wiggins, less Bill Dance.  So I tied on a different one of the flies I mentioned earlier - it had dumbbell eyes for weight - and had at it for another 30 minutes.  And no, I didn't need to use a bobber... I had one right beside me the whole time.

Parent of the Year Nominee

In the end, what did I catch?  Not a single fish...l ikely a torn rotator cuff... and still no ice cream... but on the other hand memories with the fam I wouldn't trade for anything... including a showstopping view of the sun setting over the horizon.


  1. Wonderful post.
    Dad I hope you didn't hook Lilly in that last photo.

  2. Nice! My inlaws have a place just north of there (Charlotte Harbor). I was wondering how hot it is "really" is in the summer (for us Mid-Atlantic people), because (of course) they want us to come down and visit ASAP.

    Of course since we we are new-ish parents, we have no money for faincy airfare, and the drive down there from Baltimore over Thanksgiving nearly broke my soul.

    It's beautiful down there and hopefully in the next few years I'll be able to spend more time there. NO shortage of fish - surprised you didn't try some of the area storm ponds - they are loaded with peacock bass, other fat cichlids, and giant largemouth.

  3. Hey Mike. Know that little town (population 44,000 last time I looked) just to the South of Boca Raton? Yeh, Deerfield Beach. Grew up in that town. When I was there (population 2,000) all any one had to say was "The blond headed kid did it" and the cops came to my house. If you've been there, and I'm sure you have, I lived about 3 blocks southwest of Federal Highway and Hillsborough Blvd. Next time try a white streamer like a Clouser Deep Minnow. Might just work.


  4. @Brk Trt
    Nah, Lilly was fine. I hooked her 5 10 minutes prior :)

  5. @Swamp Thing
    If there were plans to be there longer, probably would have done more (& better informed) fishing. I do fish the canals of Boca Raton quite a bit for the 'gills and bass...the cichlids (at least the bigger Mayan ones) were shy this year...which was odd.

    Oh, and it's damn hot. Postpone until fall.

  6. @Shoreman
    Hell yeah I know Deerfield Beach. Fished from the fishing pier there a few times. I like it there quite a bit, but since the inlaws live in Boca, I'm supposed to keep my nose in the air and look the other way when someone says Deerfield Beach. :)

    I'll give it a try the next time...I was using a whiteish streamer (don't know what it was), but the problem was the rod...couldn't cast more than 20 feet. Or at least that's what I'm saying.

  7. So, If I ever plan a vacation to Fla. I'll let you know when I'm back, not before. I get lost in my own backyard.

  8. Great post Mike and remember it doesn't take fish in hand to enjoy yourself. You looked like you were enjoying every minute of it my friend.

    Thanks for sharing.

  9. Great post!! I've vacationed on Sanibel & Captiva (pre fishing obsession) about 15 years ago. Beautiful place and the beaches are great for the kids. At least you were able to wet a line. When we were there, I was playing with my 7 year old daughter in the surf and we felt a big creature swim by and rub up against us. I totally freaked out thinking we were being attacked by a shark -- it turned out to be a manatee.

  10. I'll tell you the same thing I learned in my gulf fly fishing crash course: You're too far out.

    You want to be up on the shore, 15-20' from the surf line and looking down, literally, 2' from where the water ends and its about 6-8" deep. Thems the snooks. If they are failing you, throw anything in the crashing ladyfish slamming bait onto the beach. They'll eat it and take to teh sky.

    Remember this advise for the next time you go.