Biscayne Bay Bonefishing with Captain Joe Gonzalez

This past weekend I was suppose to be fishing for sail fish in Miami but it was not to be. The plans didn’t work out but I had already booked rooms for a couple days down south. Always up a fishing road trip I packed my bags and headed down south anyways.

I made a pit stop at Charlotte Harbor and fly fish with Colby for a few hours. Over lunch I told him I was heading down south and wanted to get on some bone fish. He highly recommended Captain Joe Gonzalez. I tried to look Joe up on the internet but couldn’t find the phone#. But when I Googled Joe Gonzalez + bonefish his named popped  up everywhere, so I figured he’s caught a few in his day. Incredibly still no phone number however. So I did it the old fashion way, I called information. I  called the number and left him a message.

Meanwhile I’m driving down I-75 with no boat, no fishing plans for the next 2 days. In the truck, some tackle, a 9wt fly rod and 2 spinner. I started to go through my cell phone book and internet forums and as luck will have it. RJ (Beavis) and his friends were heading to Flamingo and said I could join him for the day.

I met RJ at the ramp 630am and we headed off as the sun rises on the Florida bay.. We made the run east to an area where both of us has found and caught fish in the past. The area this day was lifeless. There wasn’t a lot of bait, there wasn’t much movement in the water this day. In fact instead of life we found lots of dead fish. Snooks, jacks, large barracudas, and lots of baby Goliath. It seems the cold front of last week took a terrible toll on the fish down here. Every shore line we saw dead fish. Very demoralizing to say the least. We struggled through out the day as we poled through the flats. It was a tough day indeed and after  1pm I  gave up and decided to call it day after lunch. Later I would find that people in the group that fished west or further out, did find willing fish which was a great sign.

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On the drive back I got a call from Joe and he was available and ready to fish the next day. After what I saw today, I can only hope it will be better tomorrow. I met joe at the ramp early at 6am. He was very positive and energetic. He tells  me the quota for the day was 5 bonefish. I said “cool let’s do it”.

After a good run we settle down on the flats to look for pods of bones. He tells me these were easier to hook than the the lone singles. The flats look barren at 1st but Joe knew the fish would show. After about 15minute they sure enough did. My 1st hookup to the bone fish ended in lost fish. Joe and I noticed that my drag was acting funny but I stuck with it.

We settle on another flat not too far away. Joe poled us around humming some unrecognizable song. We started to see them tail. They were spread out however and my 1st 2 cast manage to spook them. The third time however, my cast would be dead on and after a nice long run I had a 7lb bone fish boat side. My 1st bonefish of 2008.  Joe landed, tags the fish and after a couple pictures we celebrated the skunk was off the boat.

This routine would continue through out the day for 6 bonefish. He went above his self appointed quota, including my largest to date at 10 1/4 lbs. We decided to get one on fly. I have yet to catch one on fly but I was willing to try. Unfortunately we didn’t get any this day. I hooked 2 but lost both. None the less it was worth the try and next time we’re leaving the spinning rod at home.

Thanks Joe for the great trip and I’ll make my way back down again soon. Sometimes you just gotta pick up and go fishing and see what faith will bring you.