RV.Net Open Roads Forum: Camping and Fishing Tarpon in the Florida Keys

RV Blog

  |  

RV Sales

  |  

Campgrounds

  |  

RV Parks

  |  

RV Club

  |  

RV Buyers Guide

  |  

Roadside Assistance

  |  

Extended Service Plan

  |  

RV Travel Assistance

  |  

RV Credit Card

  |  

RV Loans

Open Roads Forum Already a member? Login here.   If not, Register Today!  |  Help

Newest  |  Active  |  Popular  |  RVing FAQ Forum Rules  |  Forum Posting Help and Support  |  Contact  

Search:   Advanced Search

Search only in Truck Campers

Open Roads Forum  >  Truck Campers

 > Camping and Fishing Tarpon in the Florida Keys

This Topic Is Closed  |  Print Topic  |  Post New Topic  | 
Page of 2  
Next
Sponsored By:
Steelheadbuck

Ann Arbor, Michigan

Full Member

Joined: 01/28/2005

View Profile


Offline
Posted: 05/28/07 09:05pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Fishing Tarpon and Camping in the Florida Keys May 5-25, 2007
Landed seven tarpon of twenty-six jumped
The excitement starts building the moment you hear the diesel churning down I-75 from Michigan and you know you are headed to the Florida Keys. It gets boost when you hear from your fishing buddy and he has jumped numerous tarpon in the Bahia Honda Channel. My friend Jerry Schmidt is a camp host at Bahia Honda and is serious about catching tarpon. The last time I saw him we were fishing steelhead in the Manistee river in Michigan. His hosting duties are just an attempt to take the financial sting out of a ten week fishing expedition. Happily he reports, "Game on!"
With the camper off the truck and our tent set up on Big Pine Key (Spanish Channel) we were ready for some Margaritas.
[image]
On the way down we take 74, 40, 26 and 95. We stay at places that are easy on/easy off and are pleased to discover some nice campgrounds and meet some nice folks on or limited time. We are also pleased with the truck camper and it's ability to camp anywhere with little hassle. We got to Mandarin, near Jacksonville FL, in three easy days and have a nice two day visit with my sister Lana and her husband Joe. We made it to the keys the next day and checked into Big Pine Fishing Lodge. We drove through clouds of "love bugs," which are harmless very black insects still plastered to my truck and camper face. South of Jacksonville, smoke from forest fires was heavy for fifty miles. The fires were still burning and the smoke was even heavier in Georgia on the return trip two weeks later. During the winter our three year attendance doesn't come close to getting hookups but we took a prime spot and hooked up.
After a long Michigan winter we were ready for blue skies and a Keys lifestyle.
[image]
Jerry called and I agreed to pick up the blue crabs and drive the bridges to Bahia Honda from which we would launch his 24' Carolina Skiff. We were lucky to have an outgoing tide. It seems to me that the outgoing tide brings the best fishing. We saw a big tarpon show up current as we tied up to the bridge. Jerry couldn't believe it when a tarpon hit his my crab on the first drift before it went fifty feet. He rocketed out of the water and we released the boat. He found the bridge after ten minutes and we were both astounded. On the second drift I got another one on and lost him by getting caught by the speed of a jump and he spit the hook. In fairness the hook pulls out when you do not "bow to the king" on a jump. It would not be the last time I made that mistake.
This tarpon went upstream and caused a tarpon show as he plowed into to gulf side. We thought we were clear when he took a 180 and decided to go between the causeways and then do a tour of nearly all the fisherman on the bridge. We landed him past the old Flagler bridge.
[image]
This picture shows the current escaping the gulf. The far boat called On The Fly had the four hardest fishing guys I have even seen. They threw black jigs with plastic tails and had many hookups. I enjoyed talking to them back at camp.
[image]
One thing I liked to do on days when I did not fish tarpon was to ride my bike over to the Bahia Honda bridge and watch the fishing action. It's a great point of view to see all the different tarpon fighting strategies. One guy seemed very passive in his approach but it seemed that he landed several tarpon by not making the tarpon jump or make strong runs. It may be that he was using very heavy tackle. I know that fish hooked on our down rods with 100# Fireline often seemed to go better than when using our 30# on lighter rods. however, nothing stops tarpon when they want to run. My own idea is to be very active and counter every move.
Seeing the tarpon on the surface means you have a chance to touch the leader for a "release."
[image]
This is the "ghost tarpon." Note the fins. No wonder they have such enormous power.
[image]
Our happy home on Big Pine
[image]
Fingering the reel just below the breaking point of the line made the difference in keeping fish away from the sharp bridge edges. Pressuring the fish in this way led to shorter fights and that kept the sharks away.
[image]
I had the pleasure of fishing with a an named Hi who fought over one hundred missions in WWII and the Korean war. Hi had poor breathing but he was determined to land a tarpon. His lung condition stemmed from inhaling battery acid the second time he was shot down. He said it was not a question of 'whether" he would get shot down but "when" because he was giving close support to ground troops. I noted he had Florida EX-POW license plates. Hi caused me to land one tarpon by running over a huge shark that was molesting my spent fish. Jerry was helping me with the fish and Hi grabbed the steering wheel. Hi lined him up, gunned the engine, and I heard a couple of thumps. The shark didn't want any more of that and retreated.
We tried to get fish for the table but, unlike last year, we did not have good luck with snappers. One day I got three Hogfish. They taste great. This one hit a crab (5/0 hook) on a retrieve.
[image]
Kary and I met many nice people in the campground and enjoyed the Thursday night dances in the campground clubhouse. We went in to Key west for the usual tourist activities.
We like doing the Duvall Crawl but we always check out Schooner Wharf to catch the outdoor singing acts.
[image]
The dolphin (mahi-mahi) fisherman had a tough time because the high winds prevented them from getting out to the gulf stream. I missed going to the cleaning tables and watching them clean their fish. It reminded me of a weekend in Muskegon, Michigan during the halcyon days of salmon fishing. Thousands of fisherman were penned up in various marinas for days during a tournament because of high seas.
The key deer preserve backed up to our camp so these tiny deer were our constant companions night and day.
[image]
Kary and I are both intrigued by the wildlife that abounds in Florida. The singing of the mockingbirds, the iguana sightings, the magnificent frigate birds, the profusion of seagulls, and the geckos were pleasant to behold. On days when I did not fish tarpon I enjoyed catching smallish barracuda on my fly rod. On the walk back through the key deer preserve, I thought of the Robert Louis Stevenson descriptions of the distant crashing surf in Treasure Island.
Nothing like a dip in the saltwater pool to get the Michigan winter out of your bones.
[image]


Wally and Kary Herrala
2004 Superduty PSD
Lance 835
www.wallyherrala.com


jaynedusty

w. palm beach fla.

New Member

Joined: 12/25/2006

View Profile


Offline
Posted: 05/29/07 05:41am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Great posting Wally,
Thanks for sharing your trip with us. We are leaving for Pennacamp park on the 12th of June. Cant wait to get a line in the water.
Happy Trails

Eycom

32043

Senior Member

Joined: 09/12/2004

View Profile



Posted: 05/29/07 06:07am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanx for the post. I'm an honorary "conch" from my KWHS days. The pics brought back fond memories of life and fishing in the keys.


RVn Full-time


luv2skyski

Stockbridge, Georgia

Senior Member

Joined: 05/30/2006

View Profile


Offline
Posted: 05/29/07 06:29am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks for the great pictures. Keep em coming. Dave.

WA1RI

FL

Senior Member

Joined: 09/26/2004

View Profile



Posted: 05/29/07 06:43am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Great Trip! Thanks for sharing. My folks have been to Bahia Honda, I have to figure out if summer season is easier to get in there.


Bill & Jolene / FL
1997 Southwind 35P
2006 Yamaha 1100 Classic &
1970 Norton Commando 750 in state of recuperation (Almost road ready!!!)
6x12 Enclosd trailer


metrobruce

Merritt Island, FL

New Member

Joined: 05/26/2007

View Profile


Offline
Posted: 05/29/07 07:20am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Great post.

I'll be at Bahia Honda for diving in July with my nephew. He's going into the US Navy to be an EOD diver. Going away and HS graduation present for him.

I hear lobsters will be in season! Or as they call them here, BUGS!


'06 Chevy Silverado LT3,3500,4WD,SRW,EXT,D/A,8'bed,Ride Rite air bags,Frederico Sway Bars Frt and Rear
'05 Travel Lite 1000 SLRX
'68 Porsche 911


cewillis

Tucson, az, usa

Senior Member

Joined: 01/24/2005

View Profile



Good Sam RV Club Member


Posted: 05/29/07 08:50am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Wally -- you are a real inspiration! I tell you, you should but all your adventures in a book. It would be a best seller.


Cal


fuelhauler

Southern Oregon

Senior Member

Joined: 07/25/2006

View Profile


Offline
Posted: 05/29/07 12:22pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Always look forward to your pic's & adventures Wally. They make us poor old working stiffs long for retirement & more adventures ahead.


2005 Dodge q/c 4x4 dually six speed pac brake
2014 Arctic Fox 990
2014 16' smokercraft

markowwes

Vegreville, Ab. Canada

Senior Member

Joined: 02/28/2007

View Profile


Offline
Posted: 05/29/07 12:51pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Wally
Excellent post!!!! some day we will get down there for some fishing too. the camp looks warm and cozy. It's a five day drive one way from here, so it will be a retirement journey. Thanks for the pics, it's something to look forward too.

keywestrv

key west fl

Senior Member

Joined: 08/31/2006

View Profile


Offline
Posted: 05/30/07 05:39am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Great story and your smile says it all. Glad you enjoyed your time here. I'll see you at SWB!


Wife drives it FAST, hubby fixes it when it breaks.


2002 Rexair 40' DP Cummins 400HP with Banks
Suzuki GS 290HP Top Gas Dragbike
Suzuki GS 230HP Bracket Dragbike
Enclosed race trailer, A/C, gen, compressor, mini-shop


This Topic Is Closed  |  Print Topic  |  Post New Topic  | 
Page of 2  
Next

Open Roads Forum  >  Truck Campers

 > Camping and Fishing Tarpon in the Florida Keys
Search:   Advanced Search

Search only in Truck Campers


New posts No new posts
Closed, new posts Closed, no new posts
Moved, new posts Moved, no new posts

Adjust text size:




© 2020 CWI, Inc. © 2020 Good Sam Enterprises, LLC. All Rights Reserved.