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Fishing has always been a part of my life. It was something that my father and grandfather did almost religiously as well as most members of my mother’s side of the family. Fishing to us was more than a hobby or a competition, it was a way to spend time with friends and family and to put food on the table. As the older generation slowly slips away, some of that is lost. However, there are moments when that feeling comes back.

I almost always take my kayaks with me when I go home. Being in Central Florida gives me the perfect excuse to do a little inshore fishing. It is on one of these trips that my sister Chris wanted to go and give the whole kayak fishing thing a try. Keep in mind that she is the classic “bobber” angler. She claims there is too much work involved with the whole casting and reeling thing.

We decided to go and drift the grass flats rather then work mangroves. I rigged her up with a popping cork and Gulp shrimp on her trusty Zebco 33 and after a quick lesson, she was a pro at it. Once on the flats we located a channel that fed into a bay. We paddled out so the wind and tide swing would push up back toward the bay. With the position set, the kayaks started drifting and we started poppin’.

Chris was the first to see some action with a nice trout coming unbuttoned right at the boat. She followed that up with a smaller one, her first ever kayak fish. After that, she must have gotten on the largest school of puffer fish in the Gulf. Every cast her shrimp would come back with V notches taken out. Occasionally she would land one and it would puff up trying its best to look ominous. In the mean time while she was keeping the puffers occupied, I was able to land a couple of trout.

My sister could not go with me on the second day so I tried a new area in search of my limit of keeper trout and a redfish. I put in and paddled out to an area that I had never fished. I started with a Gulp shrimp on a popping cork to try and catch a quick limit of trout since I had success on it the day prior. After a few passes I had my trout and a fun fight with a small jack. I made my way into the mangrove lagoons and changed over to throwing a Super Spook Jr. and Gulp jerk shad looking for redfish.

Once in the lagoons, I started working the edges of the roots. Just a few casts in and I pulled a small snook out of a shaded pocket. The Spook Jr. twitched past and the fish came rocketing out with a violent strike. It tried its best to turn and run back into the roots, but I was able to it get it in the net. This would be the first of several small snook I would catch stalking the back water areas, but unfortunately there were no reds to be found.

The two days of fishing was rewarded with one of my favorite family traditions, a fish fry. These always have a way of taking me back to my youth when the families would get together to enjoy the catch and share stories. While we still enjoy the fish and share our stories, nowadays we spend a lot of time retelling the stories of those who have gone on to fish calmer waters and fairer seas. As long as we continue to fish, we can be transported back to those special times and they will continue to be with us.

Tight lines,
Robert Brown