Thursday, June 2, 2011

Learning To Teach, And Some Big Fish

I spent my Spring Break, which now seems like forever ago (only 2 months), in Fort Myers, Florida. It's a beautiful place if you've never been, but I'm not sure I'd recommend bringing the family. Apart from fishing, I would never actually leave the hotel. This town is quite possibly the most boring town in the country if you're not a crazy fisher-person. There isn't really anything to other than go to the beaches, which aren't like Miami. Their just cute little beaches with a few families out to have a good day. It's not like you picture Florida, like the old TV shows that open with Miami Beach, full of pretty people, and tons of 'em. No, just a nice place where people relax. But once you've had your fill of that, there's really nothing else you can do. Well, except the obvious... Fish! I was lucky enough to stay at a hotel that owns a large fishing dock, full of snapper and Sheepshead. If you don't no what a Sheepshead is, there's one at the top of the post. That's about an average sized one, and they put up great fights. Later, you'll see a much larger one. But we gotta start from the beginning. I was fishing the first day, about ten minutes after we got to the hotel. A couple of kids had walked down, and asked me what I was doing. I showed them some fish, and started to explain how to fish. The asked me when I would be out next, which was (obviously) the next morning. And I was out there, around 7:00 am, to find them waiting for me. I told them where they could rent some rods the night before, and they had taken the chance. They both had gear, but no bait. Flies wouldn't work for them, so I ran down to the local bait-shop and bought some shrimp. I helped them rig up their rods, and showed them some more tips on how to catch fish. They were very patient, just listening to my incessant babbling for half an hour. Then I came up on the main dock and helped them drop their lines in. They were both having a good time, and I was having a really good time teaching some kids to love the sport. Ten minutes later, as I was casting, the little girl calls to me. "Justin, I think I have one!" She was fishing quite close to a large underwater rock (I've fished here a lot), and her rod was bending really far, so I figured it must be a snag. I take the rod from her to try and pull it off, only to have a fish almost rip the rod out of my hands. WOW! You've got a huge one! So I held the rod for her as her she listened to me tell when to reel and when to let line out. After and epic battle of keeping the fish away from snags, we got him  up. It was hands down the biggest Sheepshead I'd ever seen. I gave the girl a high five, and brought the dad over to snap some photos. Remember that sheepshead from earlier? Check this one out:

We took photos and let the fish go. I caught plenty more fish that week, including 7 sea trout and 31 redfish. That's a story for a different day though. For now, here is a picture of the other student and his first catch, a spanish mackerel.


  1. Very good post Justin! I enjoyed that. Teaching is a skill that takes a special person, especially with little kids. Good for you!

  2. Thanks! I've been teaching kids for a while, but it's definitely a tough thing to do. Below 7, they can be tough with fly fishing. Past that, it's usually okay.

  3. Sheepshead are some cool looking fish. Dialing in some peacock bass is a Florida dream of mine actually. Great post.