Fishing in the Florida Keys, entry No. 1

ISLAMORADA, Fla. – I caught a blowfish today, and it’s not every day you can say that.

Actually, I caught several blowfish. No pictures, though. They’re nasty critters that can afflict some damage, I’m told, if you touch them, so I unhooked them quickly and sent them on their way.

Still … it’s not every day you can say you caught a blowfish.

I’m in the Florida Keys about 80 miles south of Miami with some friends from the North Country – Gary Moeller and Steve Martin of Baudette, Minn., and Jeff Greteman of Carroll, Iowa. Moeller arrived more than a week ago, while Martin, Greteman and I flew into Miami late Saturday night after a marathon day that saw me pull out of my garage in Grand Forks at 3:45 a.m. Saturday.

It was hot here today – too hot for my tastes – and there was absolutely no wind. That was a drawback to fishing success. We tried for tarpon for a couple of hours to no avail but managed to catch a mixed bag of fish, many of which we can’t identify. These we call “sea bass.”

We’ve caught a lot of sea bass in the past couple of days.

For a Northlander used to fishing walleyes, pike and catfish, this is quite a change of pace, but it’s also a lot of fun.

Gary Moeller of Baudette, Minn., landed this grouper late this afternoon while fishing the Florida Keys near Islamorada, Fla.

Grouper were the best thing going today. These fish look a lot like the largemouth and smallmouth  bass we catch back home, and like freshwater bass, they put up a good showing on the end of the line.  Grouper run as large as 40 pounds, apparently. I can’t even imagine what hooking a grouper that size would be like.

Tomorrow, we have a guide booked to take us into the “back country” to fish red fish, sea trout and who knows what else. I’ll keep ya posted.

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