A Day in Southern Florida

I had a break in my business meeting schedule today while down in Southern Florida.  When the cancelations occurred, I thought it might be a good opportunity to try out my new micro-fishing rod.  I packed it and my ultra-light spinning rod along with a small bag of supplies.  Having read several reports here on the diversity of species found in southern Florida, some of them exotic, I was excited for this opportunity.  As I am just starting to keep a lifelist, there are very many easily filled holes to be filled!  Knowing I had just part of the day, I planned to drive along the Tamiami Canal and stop where I could and/or it looked good.


My first stop was about 13 miles west of Miami along US 41.  The south side of the road had a short dock out into shallow water.  It was a pleasant spot with flowering plants in bloom.

It was here that I caught my first fish with my new rod, a new lifer, - the pesky Eastern Mosquitofish.

Eastern Mosquitofish

I then walked across the road and over a footbridge crossing the canal to another smaller canal running north and caught several of my second lifer, the Warmouth Sunfish.  This time using my ultralight and a new float I recently made.

Warmouth Sunfish

I continued driving west, stopping at another gated access road to a canal running to the south.  Here I caught several small Bluegill on the ultra-light and the first of many Spotted Sunfish, these on the micro setup.  This was my first encounter with Alligators as well!  This spot had several large fish protecting redds in the shallows.  I thought they looked like Tilapia - but I'm not certain this is correct.  

Alligator along canal

Small Spotted Sunfish


As I continued west, I next stopped at a Highway Department gated entrance about directly south of an airport. Here I caught several larger Spotted Sunfish on the ultralight.  I really enjoyed seeing these Florida Spotted Sunfish as my local waters lie in the intergrade area between the two subspecies of Spotted Sunfish and the fish are quite variable and look much different.  I caught this guy as a 6 foot alligator swam within a couple feet of my float.....

Spotted Sunfish

My next stop was a broader access area and it was here that I caught my next lifer on the micro setup - the Dollar Sunfish.  They were small, but brightly colored.

Dollar Sunfish

I probably drove only a mile or two further west for my final stop.  Here the fauna was completely different with only exotics caught, most on the micro setup.  I first caught the Mayan Cichlid on the micro gear, another lifer.

Mayan Cichlid

Thinking that if there are juveniles, there must be adults....I baited up the ultralight and on the first cast caught this scrappy guy.

Mayan Cichlid

I walked a bit further west and caught my last two lifers on micro gear - the African Jewel Cichlid and the Spotted Tilapia.  As I was fishing with the ultra-light for larger fish, a school of large Oscars cruised by, but they ignored my wormed hook - though they did take a close look at the float.

African Jewel Cichlid

Spotted Tilapia

It was great to get out a bit and christen my new rod while exploring new water and adding to my lifelist.  At one spot I watched a beautifully spotted Florida Gar probably 24 inches long.  Next time I hope to be better equipped to take him on....  - Arlan

Species List:



Corey's picture

What are the specs on your new micro rod?

atenkley's picture

@Ken - Thanks - you won't go wrong with this trip!

@Corey - The new rod is made by Daiwa.  4 piece telescopic - 19" extended to 6'6" - 55% carbon, 1.13 oz.  sweetly sensitive tip!

Purchased from Chris Stewart of TanagoBum/TenkaraBum:  http://www.tenkarabum.com/daiwa-tanago-rods.html

- Arlan

....visit  .....those other fish

TheHugbot's picture

I have ordered the daiwa soyokaze in that size aswell, I can't wait to go out and try it.

fishingwithpole's picture

I am very glad to start seeing a fish shot with another Japanese fishing pole. This report is like looking back my own trip in Florida last year. Thanks for sharing.



TonyS's picture

Great report!  I haven't gotten chance to hook a fish on my soyokaze yet - I got the 3.1 meter verison.  I plan for mine to double as a Chub/Brookie tenkara rod.  I've putzing with trying to make a furled line for it but I might just stick with fluoro.  The tip on those things are soooo light.  I did CCS test (though tenkara/telescoping rods test wierd) - 1 penny put a noticable bend in the tip... though to fully load the 3.1 meter rod 17 pennies or so - an honest "1 wt" thanks to the super stiff butt backing up super light tip.  I'm curious to do a pull down on the top 4, 5, and 6 sections just to see how those compare - what with lacking the heavy butt sections.

atenkley's picture

I was pleased also when the single BB shot put a bend in the tip!   I do need to get some smaller lead.   I am also thinking of making custom handles for top sections for the close in work....  I'd be interested in hearing about your tests without the butt section(s) if you do look at that.... obviously the capacity to handle "larger" fish diminishes so one would have to be careful.

Chris sent a level flouro tenkara line for this rod, but haven't tried it with flies yet.....I think it will be tough around home as most of my small local water is heavily vegetated immediately overhead...  - Arlan

....visit  .....those other fish

TheHugbot's picture

one BB!?!?! whoooa, I can't wait to try mine on 3" wild stream brownies. (when it arrives)