In the Keys, we salt margaritas, not sidewalks…..Anon.
For Day 2 trip see:
I’m heading to Big Pine Key, not far from Key West, on my annual Florida Keys fishing expedition. As I trundle down the Overseas Highway pulling my mobile fish camp behind, I am amazed at all the festively colored kayaks–red, yellow, orange, blue–stacked outside of marinas, dive shops, and even convenience stores. Like everywhere, kayaking is booming in popularity in the Keys. I’m wondering if I’ll have to fight my way through flotillas of paddlers and ecotour groups wending their way along the mangrove islands to find my quarry.
I’ve left my power boat at home and opted for chasing fish in my yak in the Lower Keys, bucking conventional wisdom that you need a motor to get a permit, tarpon, redfish, sharks, or giant barracuda. At the very least in the bargain, I know I’ll see some great wildlife that abound down here in these pristine tropical waters.
I am staying at the Big Pine Key Fishing Lodge that has some sweet RV trailer spots right on the Gulf. It’s a great place with views of the long Overseas Highway Bridge as it curves away into a sunrise. Did I mention the happy hour a couple of times a week on the pool deck where the mango margarita machine works overtime ? After setting up, my first stop is venerable Jigs Bait and Tackle down the road in Big Pine Key to get the skinny from James Milsap (Ronnie’s cousin) on what’s biting and where. I’ve been kayak fishing down here for the past three years, so know my way around, but it always helps to pick a local fishing guru’s brain. Then it’s back to camp to rig up my rods, get the trusty Hobie Outback pedal kayak ready to rumble, and knock off a little wine before hitting the hay. The alarm’s set at 4:30 a.m!! Day One of Four Perfect Days coming up!!