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Old 02-11-2007, 01:03 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Snook Road Trip: The Flamingo Odyssey

Road Trip: Flamingo Odyssey

The word Flamingo has been running through my thoughts for about a year now. I turn on the television watch a fishing show I see Rich Murphy fishing Flamingo. I change to another fishing show I see Flip Pallet fishing Flamingo. Naturally like most fishermen we are curious, and I long to set foot on the famed fishing grounds.
Occasionally while on the computer, I would read fishing reports from Flamingo. I would dabble over to the Southern report sections and read post from captains and recreational fishermen alike. I would pull up Google Earth and look at charts while I was in tackle stores.
I finally had a chance to head down to the famed fishing ground this past weekend with my neighbor Hank(fishwhistler). Towing my Gladesmen we left Tampa at 3am for the 6 hour trek. We stopped for breakfast and supplies at Florida city and straight to the ramp.
930am we were on the water with high hopes. With chart and gps as our guide, we came to a fish area with lots of bait about. Blind casting to the fish with no success we moved on. I ran across a flat and quickly got stuck in mud and had to spend 30min poling out of the muck as it was so soft, lesson learned. Exploring and scouting for fish was our goal today. We finally ran into a small pod of red fish behind one of the many islands but they did not chew. I push pole us around some very nice flats and got into another school of red fish but hey we spooked and refuse to eat.

By noon we headed back from some lunch and fuel. We were back on the water by 2:30pm.. We found yet another school of reds and again they did not eat. I get out to wade in 1.5 foot of water like in Tampa and I immediately sink to waste high.(another lesson learned) Frustrated I ran through the school just to make sure I wasn’t casting to mullets all this time. Sure enough they were mid slot reds that dispersed into the grass. Ending the day with a barracuda and a shark we headed in to eat dinner and rest. It was not a productive fishing day but a good day regardless.
4:30am we awake to get ready for another day in Flamingo. Today Marcel (Kimura) was to be our local host. Marcel and I has never met and he offered to pick us up at the hotel, drive us down to the Flamingo and take us fishing. I felt like I was at a 5 star fishing resort. Marcel had his pride and joy an ECC Lostmen skiff we loaded the boat up and was at the ramp by sun up.

We make the long run through Florida bay as the sun cracks the horizon. Marcel stops the boat and hops on the poling platform. Pushing the boat through incredible shallow water we started to see tails. Individual tailing reds were around us. The water was kind a stirred up and it was hard for the reds to see the lure. We cast at these blind red fish for about an hour before finally hooking up. Beautiful my 1st tailing reds in Flamingo, thanks Marcel!

After chasing more tails with limited success Marcel takes us to a deeper area where we could work the shoreline. There we had a couple good shots at snooks but no takers. We did get a couple snappers, jack and a couple small Cuda.

After a we ate some lunch we make another long run to a creek mouth. I see a snook bust a bait and toss jig into it almost instant hookup.. a nice white Flamingo snook. We pulled jacks, more snooks, redfish, trout, and snapper out of this one creak mouth. We started to cast out side the surrounding area as I get another slot snook and Hank pulls in Jack. The bite was on, I put on my one shoe string lure, make a cast I hook the largest snook of the day. After a few jumps he wore through my 25lb leader and it my shoe string lure was gone.

Marcel kept us moving down the shore line. We see a large fish pointing away from us. I make the cast pass him.. pull the jig across his nose.. he lunges at it…everyone screams.. Tarpon! .he’s got it!… I pull the jig right out of his mouth..ARRGGH! Next Marcel points out a nice snook but he spooks off.. but he turns around. Hank makes the perfect cast,.. wham! .. fish on.. Hank lands the larges snook of the day. Later I sight cast to a Lemon shark but he quickly made short work of my 25lb leader. We had a shot a few large reds but they didn’t take.
Idling back up wind to do another drift we came across an 80lb Tarpon laying in 2’ of water. He was too smart for us and swam off. After Hank catches a 10lb jack we decided to call it day and make the long run back to ramp.

Wow what a day. Thanks Marcel it couldn’t have been much better. A guy I have never met in person picks us up at the hotel. Drives us 35 miles into the park, we used his boat, his gas. He poles us around for 9 hours and didn’t even bring his fishing rod or made a cast. He drives us back to the hotel and wouldn’t even take gas money, offer to buy him dinner just a hand shakes. I owe you big time man!
After a nice a long day with Marcel we were exhausted and we were even the one poling all day. After a seafood pasta dinner and a couple of RedStripes I was out like a light. 6am we were off to fish for a few hours before making the rip back to Tampa. The gas stations were a bit crowded and we didn’t get the boat in the water until about 7:30am. We decided to fish the inside a bit and do some more exploring. Everything back there looked fishy so we tried to find moving water and bait. A jack on top water was the only fruit of our labor.
11am it was time to head in. On the way back we saw bait getting busted like jacks. I wasn’t sure so I cast a jig toward it. I got a bump but no hook up. I’m thinking these are not jacks else I’ld be hooked up. Out at the corner of my eye I see a Tarpon roll! These are aggressive small Tarpon rolling. I quickly changed to my trusty pins minnow and immediately jumped a small tarpon on the 2rd cast. Hank who was a disbeliever at 1st quickly tied one on as I jump a 2nd Tarpon. Hank finally hooks one and after a few beautiful jumps at 62 years old Hank lands his 1st Tarpon ever. We didn’t make another cast and headed back to the ramp.

Noon we are packed and ready to leave Flamingo. We stopped at the gift shop to get a Gatorade and some souvenir and we were off. We had a great memorable fishing trip with Hank getting a fish that’s been on his list quite a long time. We met a good friend and one of the nicest most sincere person I’ve ever came across in Marcel. With fresh memory of Flamingo in our minds we look forward to visiting this fishing paradise soon… very soon.

Flamigo Video:
YouTube - Fishing Flamingo

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Old 02-11-2007, 01:38 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Looks like lots of fun.
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Old 02-11-2007, 04:11 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Looks like a blast. Cool video too
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Old 02-11-2007, 04:14 PM   #4 (permalink)
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AWESOME report!
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Old 02-11-2007, 04:19 PM   #5 (permalink)
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sam...i like your sense of adventure. congrats on a trip well done!

i guess you need to rig a new shoe lace lure.

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Old 02-11-2007, 05:31 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Very cool report. Looks like it was a fantastic time. Kimura rules!
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Old 02-12-2007, 05:51 PM   #7 (permalink)
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great report, pics, and video
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Old 02-12-2007, 07:06 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Nice report!
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Old 02-24-2007, 05:45 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Just made my first trip down there not even a month ago and it was truly awesome! Place is unreal!!!
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