Florida Vacation Journal

05 July 2012

We were able to fly into Tampa Bay area, found a great deal on air travel, and arrived early on Thursday. We head to rent a car and off to the motel or vacation club is the proper name, we used the blind deal thingy on one of those motel bargain internet sites. Room not ready, off to Walmart to get some groceries and fishing stuff.

When we finally get everything we head out to the ocean for some swimming. After a little dip in the ocean we head back to the room and head to the dock. We fish here and from the shore for just a bit this day. We pull in one that I think may be a grunt, as suggested by a facebook friend and you can hear them grunting, or maybe a few that day. However, we used this day as a simple day of just seeing if we could catch anything and what.

Day 2

We stayed up late due to the excitement of being here so we didn’t see the sun rise. We did more beach and dock fishing this day. Again we are pretty much catching the grunts, more feeding of them than catching them, those things will steal the bait pretty quick.

That evening we meet some young men while on the dock, later letting them borrow our fishing poles while we went to bed. We are talking with them when they tell the daughter she has one, she sets the hook and fish on! As she pulls it into the dock, the fish gets near the pole that is 10 ft off the dock. The coral or whatever that stuff is on the pole is sharp and the line breaks. This is bad because it was not a grunt. We are pretty thrilled that it wasn’t a grunt. We let the young men have the poles and head to the room.

Day 3

We are off to Clearwater. The security guy here at the Vacation Club informed us about Sand Key Park. We drive around acting like tourist for a while, then we go to the Park. We find some shade at the bridge and begin to fish. Here the kids begin to fish and honestly all I had time to do was to bait the hooks and cut the bait. We went through a bunch of squid and started using shrimp.

Grunts galore, but also the son caught a Remora. These are the fish that attach to larger fish. I held it, with a glove because I think everything in saltwater will either sting you or bite you, and that rascal was strong, felt a little snake like.

We get harassed by a pelican and a couple of other birds. I had thought about feeding one, but then thought they would drive us crazy. We fished here during the heat of the day for 3+ hours. By the time this was done, I was whipped.

We come back and head to the ocean for a swim. After swimming, the fishing begins again, the kids are loving it. The son wanted to go watch Psyche, it had been a long day, and daughter wanted to try the dock. We hit the dock and she pulls in a couple of catfish, finally no grunts. We call it a night.

Day 4

I get up early and head to the shore. There are bait fish galore, if you come bring a cast net. I throw out and it isn’t very long that I catch one. I haven’t identified this fish as of yet, but it wasn’t a grunt, looked like a bottom dweller with those lips. Then I get bit and set hook and finally get resistance on the line. I pull it in and it si a nice little Permit. Don’t think I know my saltwater species, this had to be looked up. Anyway, I come back to wake up the kids.

When the girl gets up, she takes off on her own while wife shops, I cook, and son gets ready for eaten. She comes back up in a half hour or so and she had baited her own hook, caught one and then took it off and threw it back. We piddle for a while and they said they wanted to go fishing this evening. So the story shall pick back up later. We have batter here, just haven’t had anything to keep just yet. Gonna check on the grunts in a bit, may just keep a dozen of them. Anyway, will update as I can, hope you enjoy this a little anyhow.

Final Entry Multiple Days

We are waiting at the airport I finally have a few minutes with internet access. Due to us staying out to late, usually at the dock fishing, I have barely been able to keep up with the fishing reports that have come into us. But now that I have a few minutes, with a limited memory, I will try to give a recap of the days of fishing from day 4 to the last day.

We continued to slay the pinfish with what may have been a little bit of grunt action mixed into the catch. However, we headed back up to the Sand Key Park, the bridge provides fantastic shade in the heat of the day. We spent two afternoons/evenings up at the bridge and the second day provided some new catches. Both of the kids were able to land a puffer fish (photos on gallery later). The small one was great, as I went to release the fish, it puffed, was great to see this.

We had a pelican hanging around and wondered how they keep from starving to death. We tossed this thing 3 or 4 of the pinfish and the rascal only got about 1 out of 4, we did feed a few of the other birds around us. Daughter caught a blue crab and that thing clamp onto my shoe, I could feel the pressure, untied my shoe, eventually I picked it up and threw it back. I did offer it to a young feller about 12 as he was walking back with a big mackerel, I was jealous.

We get one tangled, begin to try to get it released when the reel broke, good times, we are down to one pole and a guardrail. I say a guardrail because son tied hook onto a line onto guard rail and fished a bit. We were doing well there, at least as far as bites go, bit every cast, bait gone most cast, and the ocean must have billions of pinfish in it.

We surf fish a few times and see stingray and continue to catch the pinfish. There is another son and I had caught that we have yet to identify, but we might get to that later.

We all had a wonderful time. The fishing was nothing that produced big fish however, they both seemed to have a great time. This was one of our most adventurous vacations as we learned about toll roads, credit card security for out of state usage, and much more. On my final morning of surf fishing, I walk down the block across the street to the beach, bait the line, and cast. I watch as I see the weight and bait fly a beautiful pattern to the gulf and wondered as I had heard a snap. I learned I should make certain the line is not wrapped around the rod when casting a 2 ounce weight. Walked back to room, a time of reflection, retied and headed to the beach.

All and all it was a wonderful vacation, the fishing was good, but the family time was magnificent. Time to get back to the grind, but I will have these memories with photos on Florida Vacation Gallery added soon.

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