The family headed down to Florida for a little R and R. The house we stayed in was not too shabby. Even with 10 other families in it.
Most of our time was spent going from the beach to the pool. The weather was really hot in the day time so I tried to get out early in the morning to do some fishing. There was a large tropical storm hammering the east side of Mexico. This caused unusually large surf for the gulf beaches. The waves beat me up as I tried to stay waist deep. The fishing was slow.
It wasn't until my third day that I managed to hook some lady fish. These fish were really fun to catch. They jumped several feet out of the water during the fight to bring them in.
With the surf the way it was I tried to find calmer areas. I decided to try my luck at Okaloosa Bay. The weather was perfect. Hardly any wind, the water was glass clear and you could wade several hundred yards from shore and never be deeper than your knees.
There was plenty of wildlife to observe. It was neat to see stingrays, hermit crabs and other animals outside of a aquarium. In the distance I saw dark shadows moving in the flats. I figured they were drum. The water was so shallow stalking them was a challenge. I cast at several fish and wondered if maybe I wasn't using the right fly. A group of four shadows was heading straight for me. I cast right in front of the small school. A shadow moved towards my fly I tightened my line and the shadow took off. My line made a wake in the water and I felt the pull from the fish. My reel sang and I couldn't help but yell WOOOH! out loud. The fish gave me a decent fight but I knew it was no match for my nine weight. I thought for sure the fish was a small red drum. As it came closer though I could tell it was something different.
I read about these catfish before visiting. They are a species that can tolerate salt water. Apparently the locals loathe these fish and think of them as bait stealers. Say what you want about them but they are really fun to catch. The fish are aggressive and will gladly take a fly. The pattern didn't seem to matter. It was the cast and placement of the fly that made the difference. I started to get the hang of what the fish wanted. It couldn't have been more fun. It was the perfect type of fishing to me. Shallow water, sight fishing and the challenge of having to make good casts. I got my fill of the catfish and spent the rest of the day just exploring the flats.
The rest the vacation was spent with playing on the beach, lounging by the pool and quality time with the family.
It was a great vacation and my wife is already looking into next years.