I was invited to participate in the destination wedding of two of my best friends this spring. The event was strategically scheduled during our local school's Spring Break as this wedding was the blending of two families with kids in school. Fortunately for me and my family, the destination was Key Largo, Florida, giving us an outstanding opportunity to do a variety of fishing. My wife kept reminding me that we were going to a wedding and were "not going on one of your fishing trips!" That just put more pressure on me as I knew I would have to outfit people with fishing gear because they were probably facing the same challenges I was with luggage space as my normal attire in the Keys is shorts, sandals, and a couple of long sleeve PFG shirts. However, this time I would have to pack multiple sets of real clothes as we not only had to plan for the wedding, the rehearsal dinner, a couple of brunches, but we even had an additional "nice dinner" planned by the bride and her family. I was really pushing my wardrobe's boundaries let alone my luggage's limits.
I was allowed input into the planned activities, and sure enough, not only did we schedule a half-day of reef fishing, but we also got a half day of kayaking through the mangroves on the Bay side of Islamorada. This gave us two outstanding opportunities to demonstrate the effectiveness of hand-line fishing with Reel CoolTM Fishing BottlesTM in different types of fishing environments. In preparing the Bottles that I believed we would need, I spooled bottles with 25 to 40# test line for reef fishing and 15 to 25# test for the shallow water. With the shallow water bottles I packed leader material as I knew we would be throwing at some decent barracudas and could have some opportunities for some sharp toothed sheep's heads.
Our first adventure of the trip was reef fishing. We were fishing with both hand-lines and traditional gear. I am proud to report that the first fish and the largest fish of the day, an 8# gag grouper, was caught by my son, Jacob, on a Fishing BottleTM! We did OK the rest of the day with everyone catching at least something. Mostly we caught snapper and hog fish but we all had a great time and returned to shore with some tasty fillets in a timely enough fashion to get the groom dressed and ready for the big event.
Our next opportunity to wet a line was on the day after the blessed event when we took 22 people south to Islamorada for a kayaking tour with local landmark "Robbie's" through the local mangrove tunnels. I had brought enough Bottles to allow all of those who wanted to fish to do so. Even though we spread out pretty far I believe everyone who tried to catch a fish did so It helped that we were fishing with live shrimp and I did have to bait more than a few lines for first time fishermen, but it was a thrill to hear the sounds of joy come from a screaming 10 year old girl from California who caught her first barracuda on a Reel CoolTM Fishing BottleTM. The fish wasn't big by local standards but for the young fisherman, the 14-inch beast caught with a hand-line will always be remembered. Here's Dad checking out the catch:
The Bottles performed as expected and we caught our share of mangrove snapper and 'cudas both trolling and free-lining shrimp. The young and the "well seasoned" had fun kayaking and fishing with Robbie's and Reel CoolTM Fishing BottlesTM. Besides all of that fun, two dear friends were joined in Holy Matrimony.
God Bless and keep fishing!
PS: If you visit Robbie's, please tell him that he needs to be carrying Reel CoolTM Fishing BottlesTM that can now be found in Liberty Mountain's 2015 catalogue.