Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Fishing in the Florida Keys


Ohio Key, Florida  (high 86, low 79)


Our time in the Florida Keys is quickly winding down and we’re feeling sad as always when we have to leave this wonderful place.  We haven’t done all the things we planned on doing, so I guess we’ll have to come back again!

We haven't had the kayaks out one single time since we’ve been here.  Since we bought the boat, we have been more eager to use it than the kayaks. Since the boat will stay here permanently, we felt it was better to use the boat now and the kayaks later.

Yesterday the wind had picked up some, so we decided to launch the boat right here at Sunshine Key, and hang around this area.  Al decided to get some frozen shrimp and try his luck at fishing.

We took the boat around from the marina to the opposite side of the campground and stayed close to shore.

We went to an area near the bridge that is where we found “Three Hole Harry”.  If you don’t remember him, click here.   He was a nurse shark that we discovered last year.  He had three separate holes that he used.  Every time we would disturb him, he’d move to another hole. 

Al decided to do a little snorkeling to see if he could find Harry again this year. 

He wasn’t out of the boat 5 minutes, before he popped up and said he found Harry.  Evidently, he saw a cloud of sand, looked up and Harry was looking at him.  Harry then scurried back under the ledge.   Nurse sharks are very docile and normally just hang out under a ledge.  Al thought Harry had grown a bit since we saw him last!

Al swam around for a while and found about a dozen lobsters.  He was unable to keep them since lobster season is closed.

He saw a lot of conch shells and even this pretty Bahamian starfish.


Al with starfish

There were lots of tropical fish as well and he saw another shark (not the docile nurse shark) like Harry. 

I wimped out and didn’t get into the water because of the wind.  I like it flat calm and warm and the wind made it a bit chilly in the water.

The next photo shows Al snorkeling with Sunshine Key in the background.  Notice the flag at half mast due to the tragedy in Boston.


After he got out of the water, he decided to give fishing a try, so we moved a little closer to the bridge and into deeper water….a whole 8 feet!

The tide was coming in and he started getting bites immediately.  He was hoping for something for dinner, but all he got was a few small fish.

This is one of the yellowtail that he caught.  It needed to be 12 inches long to be legal, so after very carefully removing the hook, back into the water it went.  They are very good eating!


He caught several more yellowtail and then another yellow fish with a black spot on it.  We weren’t sure what it was, but it was also too small to keep.


He ended up getting his hook stuck on something on the bottom.  After struggling with it for a while with no luck, he decided to just get back into the water and go down and release the hook.  It’s not that he would have minded losing a hook, but he sure didn’t want to leave any fishing line in the water to kill or injure any sea critters.  It turns out the hook was caught on an old tire.  My hero!

It’s amazing how the time flies when you’re out on the water.  Before we knew it, it was time to go. 

We ended up back at Bahia Honda State Park near sunset.

We found a lot of empty waterfront campsites.

There was just one problem.


A very  low bridge with a very sharp right turn after you get under it.  I was even a bit nervous going under this bridge in the truck!

The campsites are wonderful though for tenters and small pop-up trailers.  There was a wonderful sea breeze and it sure made me want to put up a tent and spend the night.  What great sleeping it would have been there last night.

This is one of the tent sites with a waterfront view.

tent site at bahia honda

Yesterday, we saw two older men on motorcycles pulling small trailers.

Mr. Eagle eye Al happened to see them again at one of the campsites.  It turns out those small trailers actually were small pop-up campers!


motorcycle pop up trailers


Here is a link to the website.  Please check it out even if you’re not in the market for a motorcycle camper.  They are so cute! 

We stopped and talked to the guys for a while.  They were doing a very fast tour (too fast in my opinion)  through Florida and spent one whole night in the Keys.  They said Bahia Honda was the most expensive campsite they have ever stayed at and were ready to leave. 

We drove around Bahia Honda for a while then headed back to Sunshine Key.

We found something interesting (and sad).

Notice this big beautiful palm tree?

Notice the 5th wheel parked beside it?

chopped up palm tree 

Notice the slide out is a bit close to the palm tree?

Notice how you remedy that little issue?

chopped palm tree

chopped palm tree

It’s a bit hard to see in the picture, but they chopped a slice out of the base of the tree to accommodate their slide out.  Now, how do you think the guy across the street (where the tree will land once a big wind comes or the tree dies and rots) will feel?

If I ran this campground, I would kick these people out permanently and make them pay for the tree.  These are some of the people in the “summer program.”   They build compounds and leave their rv’s there all summer.  They (the people) are only allowed to stay Friday through Sunday, but the compounds stay all summer.  I don’t know if you could find a campsite during the summer months.  I believe it’s probably full. 

Here are a few examples of the compounds.

Sunshine Key summer residents

In all fairness, Sunshine Key has done a good job in cleaning up most of these since last year and better enforcing some of the rules.  The noise level is down, and they are no longer allowing gas powered golf carts.  It’s much, much better than it was last year. 


These flowers are from an Oleander plant.  Pretty huh?



  1. You just have to wonder what thought process some people use when they decide to chop up a tree for a slide!

  2. The starfish and yellowtail are gorgeous.

    Why would anyone think they could just chop up a tree. There are so many people out there that I do not want to meet.

  3. Well I was just loving this post....seeing Al in the beautiful water and wishing I were with him, admiring you both for your concern about leaving fishing line(wish all fishermen were as thoughtful) and then you go and show me people who destroy beautiful trees with their slides. Really isn't the owner going to do anything to reprimand them or try to help the tree? Now I'm just mad! But I'll go back up and look at the beautiful water and Al with the starfish and maybe I'll feel better.

  4. You could install a sunroof in your RV by driving under that bridge. ;c)

  5. Such beautiful places to be in the water! I can't (well, actually I can) believe how ignorant people can be..first a tire in the ocean, and then a chopped up tree. People are inherently lazy. Geez.

  6. That is just terrible about the palm! Did you take the photo to the manager of the campground or don't they care? wow...I'm with Sherry, gotta go back and look at the beautfiul water pictures and fish and calm down!

  7. Unbelievable what some people think they can do and get away with!


  8. In Arkansas thats a large fine! I agree with you, I would have kicked them out and charged them. No reason for this, just move your fifth wheel people!
    Beautiful pics, I can't wait to get down there.

  9. I would never even think to harm the tree. I would simply readjust my RV. Yes, I know many people are lazy and just plain sorry.


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