Noah and I spent the first chunk our last East Coast day before going to Punta Gorda bouncing around freshwater spot with very little success. We found waterfowl. We saw some fish. And we found really good looking spots that we could not fish. It was frustrating. We had planned on breaking up our east coast time into fishing certain areas and certain types of water on certain days. This freshwater species hunt was not going well, so we changed the agenda, called an audible...
...and ended up close to Fort Lauderdale, fishing for strange new species in an inlet. There were things swimming around down there that we did not have names for. Names exist, of course, but we were not remotely prepared to put them to the species we were seeing. There were also tons of things swimming down there that we had seen, but never in person. This was going to be really, really cool.
My first move was to target the numerous small jacks that were hanging out on a few of the many buoys. I thought the first one I caught was a crevalle at first. Actually, it was a horse-eye jack. My list of jack species had just begun to grow.
|Tomtate grunt, Haemulon aurolineatum|
|No, I didn't break his jaw. These little fish just have a huge, bright red mouth.|
Finding another school of tiny jacks, I decided to bother them a little longer. My toying around with them payed off! I got something I was very much not expecting, a gorgeous little yellow jack! What a gem this fish was!
After Noah caught yet another species of jack while casting out, I started to fish flies more actively as well and caught a few for myselg. My third new jack species of the day and fourth total jack species of the day was the leather jack. Handling these buggers was tricky. Their spines give quite a severe sting. But they are very pretty fish and it was a lot of one to see them swarm the fly.
Back to fishing near the bottom, I really wanted to get one of the sergeant majors that were just all over the place. I had one on briefly, had numerous takes... but I couldn't get one to hand. Then some folks came along throwing bread in the water. This resulted in a wild feeding frenzy of hundreds of sergeant majors. It was wild. Casting into the micro fish blitz I got a take. It wasn't a sergeant major, but a spottail pinfish.
Fishing subsurface proved to only be so effective. Looking into my box, I had a few foam bread dry flies. I tied one on and had a sergeant major first cast. I kept fishing it and kept catching. Salt water reef fish on a dry fly.
I did that!
|Sergeant major (Abudefduf saxatilis)|
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