Sorry, this past week I was on a research trip in the keys. Looking for sawfish! All research activities conducted under guidelines listed in permits ESA 17787 and EVER-2017-SCI-0022.
I woke up early around 5:45 got in the car to the FSU Marine Lab. Finally, we arrived there about a 7:30ish. We had to start loading the car and boat with the gear for the trip. We had to trailer the boat down to the keys. Started our journey around 9:30 am. all five of us piled into the truck and headed south. Through the small towns in north Florida to the turnpike. Only made stops to get gas and pee. It is about a 10-hour drive to Key Largo. We got there right when it was getting dark. We still had to unload the equipment and get ready for the next day of fishing.
I woke up early around 6 am to get on the boat at 7 am. I got up, ate breakfast, and started to load the boat with bait and gear. I love of the smell of the sea. It was so nice to get back on the water. We headed out to our first location. It was about an hour and a half drive through mangroves and turbid water. We then set 2 longlines. Each longline consist of 50 baited hooks two buoys and two anchors. After an hour soak we caught 3 Bull sharks and one lemon shark, but no sawfish but it was great to get some sharks. Usually set 6 longlines in a day. In a very similar location, we set 2 more lines. We only caught one more lemon shark.
Two more lines were set; we drove out to the next stop. It was about a 15-minute drive. We set again but didn’t catch anything. The sun was setting, and we started to head back. It was starting to get cold if you can believe it gets cold in the keys! We got to the dock as the sun went over the horizon. all of us had to scrub down the boat, cleaning off the scales and blood from the bait. We smelled of dead fish and covered in salt from the ocean. Once we finally unloaded the boat and scrubbed it down, we headed to the showers. It is one of the best things is to have a hot shower and scrub off the scales and blood off. Finally got into bed to get up even earlier.
My field gear is usually a pair of polarized sunglasses. Love Maui Jims, this is the one I’m wearing. I wear a fishing shirt or a shirt I don’t care about. Here are some that are great cause they have SPF. Because we are in and out of the water it is important to have quick drying shorts. I like to have loss fitting so I’m comfortable. My favorites are linked here. And to save your face from the sun it is so important to have an awesome hat.