Friday, December 22, 2006

Big is in the Eye of the Beholder

Family fishing vacations to the Florida Keys are very popular. The local charter captains enjoy taking the kids out and have almost as much fun as they do. If you plan to travel to the Keys for vacation, bring the kids along they will have a great time. Just remember that a successful fishing trip with younger children is not always measured in big fish, but in big smiles.

The Florida Bay is often like a lake, making it easy to introduce young anglers to a great time. These calm days are prefect for the kids and the adults. The action is almost constant which is what you need to hold the attention of many young anglers. Your family will be fishing in shallow clear waters, so you and yours will see plenty of fish. Using chumming techniques, the number of fish behind the boat will continue to grow. Mackerel, snapper, blue fish, sharks and a variety of Jacks are just a few of the fish you will encounter.

In winter, which is the best time to visit the Keys, hundreds of Spanish mackerel will pay you a visit. The Spanish are fun catch for young and old alike with fish ranging from two to ten pounds. They are great sport on light tackle. Jacks, blue runners and Jack Crevelle, will often show en mass making it hard not to have fish on the line.

To challenge the adults, Cobia, Goliath Grouper and larger sharks will show on most trips to stretch your line. The Cobia is delicious table fare, perfect for a family dinner. In the Keys almost any local restaurant will cook your fresh catch for you.

In calm weather, the reef of the ocean side of the island offers Yellowtail Snapper, grouper and mackerel. As in the bay, chum fishing is normally used to bring the fish right to the boat for all to see. The Yellowtails are very tasty and while they can be finicky, will most often bite very well. The occasional King Mackerel, many weighing over thirty pounds are a great challenge for both the younger and older crew.

Half-day trips are recommended for the younger members. All day trips can prove to be a little more than younger children like. If any of your children weigh less than fifty pounds, check with your captain before the trip to make sure a comfortable life vest is available. If you have a very young child, it is best to buy your own life vest. Let the young one wear the vest a little before the trip to become familiar with it before getting on the boat. All children under 13 years of age have to wear a vest. Your charter captain will have vests available for you and your family weighing over fifty pounds.

Bring plenty of drinks, light snacks, sunscreen and a hat for the sun. Your captain will have a cooler on the boat so check with him before bringinng your own. You and your children will have a great time. Do, not be surprise if the highlight of your child’s fishing trip is a small barracuda or shark. Remember, big is in the eye of the beholder.

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