Monday, May 20, 2013

Back From Florida - Newly Married and Back From the Honeymoon

Well Nikki and I did it! We got married at Sanibel Island, and it was a totally perfect wedding ceremony and reception. Could not have asked for a better wedding!
Welcoming our new marriage  Nikki and Brian Marz
I know it is a fishing blog; so I will spare you all the non-fishing aspects of our trip, and I will get to the fishing side of what we experienced.

I fished right off the bat in the backyard pond at my parents house the first morning before we left for Sanibel Island. The afternoon we arrived was really nasty, and as we landed there was a torrential down pour. Luckily it ended at my parents house outside of Tampa, and we had heard the prediction was to stop raining at Sanibel too. The bass fishing was rather good for the quick session I had in the backyard.

First cast, and first fish of the Florida trip - Signs of good things to come.....
This "Kicker Frog" I tied was about 2 inched long - What a bucket mouth!
Another fine bass taken on the topwater frog pattern
This one was a tad bit smaller, but still very nice....
 When we arrived at Sanibel the weather was breaking up, and it was lucky; since our pre-wedding party was about to start, and the wedding was the next day on the beach. Seemed like things were promising. Our party worked out very well, and the food, drink, and company were all wonderful. The next day, all I had to do was wait for the wedding; so Lance (my Father in Law), Randy, and I headed to fish the Blind Pass between Sanibel and Captiva Islands. Fishing was kind of tough because the water was stirred up from the recent weather, and the clarity was lacking. I did manage to get into a few fish, and had a nice snook come all the way to my feet before it swam back off to the mysterious holding water it came from. Spanish Mackeral were running, and even the dinks were scrappy.
Tiny little Spanish Mackerel like this will put a bend into an 8wt fly rod
Blind pass is always good for a few Ladyfish; which is a fun fish to catch while targeting other fish like Snook. They are quite scrappy for how small and skinny they are, and the nice sized ones will really surprise you at times.
Little Ladyfish like this can actually be entertaining on really slow fishing days.
Overall, I have experienced much better fishing at Blind Pass on a previous visit there, but it is always nice standing around in warm water; no matter how slow the fishing is. Plus I was rather excited being that I was going to be married in a few hours.

The wedding was totally amazing, and I can say it was the best moment of my life seeing Nikki walking down the aisle (beach) towards me about to become my wife. Best catch in the whole world for me!!
Nikki walking down the aisle towards me
After the wedding, we hung out at Sanibel for another day, and it was just a relaxing beach type of a day. We did find all sorts of interesting things on the beach, and one was this little monster. This little catfish could really do some damage for anyone wanting to impale themselves onto its pectoral fin. Its fin would grip extremely even just rubbing it along my finger. I thought of what a predator may feel trying to eat this fish.
Nice reverse barbs on the pectoral fins of this catfish......
 One of the best parts of Sanibel Island is how the beaches are loaded with the most magical shells you could possibly fathom. The magical beaches were one of the reasons Nikki and I liked it so much there, and the place had a strong influence on where we wanted to get married. 
Shells are like this just about everywhere at Sanibel

You can find the any shell you are seeking at Sanibel

We then took off to the east coast of Florida for a different change of pace for a day. We wanted to eat some awesome food and see some culture.....
The Best Pizza is at Rocco's!
A Southeast Florida beach scene is quite contrary to Oregon's
We then woke up early Monday morning to drive to the keys. We got there about 8am, and our first stop was at the famous Robbie's to feed the tarpon. It was as awesome as I always pictured it to be, but even cooler to see all of these huge fish waiting for you to feed them. Under them is a layer of huge jacks waiting to get the scraps that escape the tarpon.
Robbie's at Islamorada
They look at you with the "feed me" expression......
Some seriously large tarpon within hand feeding distance....
We then checked into the awesome place we scored to stay at for the week, and it was better than we anticipated it to be. The owner of the house was super nice and accommodating, and he told us where to find all of the good eats and drinks in Islamorada.
The dock with the palapa to hang out on and fish off of....
Life is too rough having to watch sunsets like this while having a beer....
View of the house from the dock.....what a pad! Wish we could live here!
We basically relaxed, fished, ate the freshest seafood, had good drinks, checked out Key West, went on a couple of guided trips, kayaked, and had toooooooooo much fun. I can write about our trip for days; so I will spare all of you from that. I can tell you that the Florida Keys are a totally amazing place to check out. The fishing is off the charts, and the scenery is dazzling. It is the only place I have been where you cannot tell the horizon from the water half of the time when the winds are calm. It is a like a desert oceanic oasis, but it is tropical. A super laid back attitude exists there, and I felt the similar attitude when I have had my visits to Hawaii. We will be back to the Florida Keys!!!

Below are some pictures from our fun times at Islamorada. Too many to put up; so I just put a bunch up to show you all the general idea of what we got to experience.
Going through the cut in the mangroves....
The water color is so dazzling and changes color with every depth and drop off
Out hunting tarpon.....
Stalking the flats at Long Key State Park
Nice hard sand flats to wade on.....
Nikki equipped with the 12wt in case a tarpon comes in close enough.....
These mini cudas are littered all over the flats. They are rather pest like after a while....
Anne's Beach at low tide
Nikki and I on one of the guided fishing trips
Gorgeous glassy water conditions for the start of our trip
Prepping the line for any potential tarpon shots.....
Hanging out at Key West after our fishing charter
When they said Key West had old historic housing; they were not joking around.
Our next door neighbor guide Captain Will McCabe - Awesome tarpon guide!!!
Nikki with one of too many mangrove snappers
Nikki with one of too many jacks....
This little jack made the 9' 8wt fold over harder than most steelhead would ever do.

Beautiful Mutton Snapper
Stripping flies into slightly deeper potholes on the shallow flats was really producing.
Enough rods for the outing - Captain Will McCabe

Stalking the mangrove flats with a sea kayak for Bonefish
Lazy Days was one of our favorite places to get food and drinks.
Tarpon Catching air and running hard....

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