Amy McDaniel lives on Cudjoe Key with her husband and son. She will tell you that moving to the Florida Keys was one of the best decisions they ever made. One of her favorite things to do is fish. What follows is her story of a particularly successful day that is best told in her own words. One of our favorite things about Amy is her excitement for the sport. You can’t listen to her stories without wanting to get out and experience it for yourself!
“We knew it was the only day we could go out. We left out of Cudjoe Key and went out to “the wall”. We didn’t see any birds, weeds or anything so we decided to head back closer to see what we could find. We were just happy to be out on the water enjoying “date day”.
In about 650’ of water Bryan spotted crazy birds (tuna) and a floating bouy. We decided to check out the buoy first. When we got there we saw some really nice triple tail, which is always a treat for us. We were spinning for the triple tail when we saw some color in the water…
Bryan immediately hooked a decent cow. He was letting her run out when I saw this big bull messing with her. She was too big for him to eat , but he clearly was curious and was not going away. He ended up losing the cow, either he snapped the line or she got off as she was fighting pretty hard. I was throwing my spinner out and the big one just looked sideways and took my bait! It was squid, believe it or not. He wasn’t hooked well at all and he got off. I did another cast this time with a full squid and he came back and took it.
I didn’t think I had the gear to land this guy.
I let him go out several times and just took my time getting him closer to the boat. I always talk to the fish, I really do! Bryan had the gaff. We don’t have a heavy duty one (like I had asked Santa for!) and our boat is only a 21’ Key West. He gaffed him and the gaff was spinning around, I knew he was going to get off. Bryan pulled him over the side and landed in between the driver seat abs console. I was so excited and screaming (as usual). He was not a happy camper and we are very cautious of the bigger ones as Bryan lost a toe nail last summer with a big bull. He was jumping so high he knocked Bryan’s brand new spinner rod and reel out of the holder (we really didn’t have time to move it and actually didn’t even thing about it) and we both watched as the pole flew overboard right into the ocean.
You just never know when you’re going to land a fish like this. Birds and weeds are a given as the birds don’t lie. No birds. No weeds. Nothing except for this buoy. You just never know what you will get. I think that’s why I love to fish so much. It’s like playing the slots :)))).
The fishing was great and we could have caught a ton that day but we don’t keep more that we eat (or that we can share with our neighbors and friends). We were home by two, picked up Canon from school, cleaned up the boat and I was at paint class by 5:15!
This is my absolute favorite time of year coming up. Not only is it magic mahi season, but the water warms up and we can go spearing for my beloved hog fish. We feel so blessed to raise our son down here. I am incredibly lucky to be married to my best friend and we enjoy fishing together more than almost anything else and we make a great fishing team. Once, he even dove into the water when I caught a monster grouper over at West Washerwoman that went under a rock. We each know how the other fishes, and he always calms me down when I get overexcited and could possibly lose my catch. We don’t have the fanciest house by far, but I’ve got a big pirate on my bulkhead and one hell of a backyard. Life is good!