Kayak Fishing Boondoggle and Backcountry Snook

16446881958_0681f9e463_zAs I loaded the truck and trailer, I could not help but get excited thinking about the journey ahead! The Kayak Fishing Boondoggle is an event that I look forward to every year and this one would be no different. This time around the Boondoggle would be held at the southern tip of the Florida Everglades and hopefully it would bring with it warmer weather and some hungry fish!

I drove south to Miami the first day to meet up with Jim Sammons and Will Richardson from The Kayak Fishing Show. They would be filming and staying in the camper with me all week, so the next morning we set out for Flamingo. I think I have to say that I was looking forward to this Boondoggle more than any of the others in the past for a few reasons. I had just gotten a new camper so this would be the first one that I did not have to worry about the cold or bugs and I would have a super comfortable place to sleep! The next thing was that I had in my possession several of the brand new Manley Rods. I have been using them for years, but the production rods had arrived only weeks before and I was anxious to get the opportunity to put them to the test. Lastly, I had a pre-production Cuda LT with me as well. As much as I like the Cuda, who would not like it being up to 15 pounds lighter?!

We stopped off and loaded up with supplies for the next few days and made it to the park gate. You think that you are close at this point, but in reality you are still 40 miles away from the campground and there is nothing once you pass the gate so you need to be ready. We drove it and got to our site in time to get set up and settled before dark. Chris Funk, Robert Grigg, and their two brand new Coosa HD’s caught up with us on the way in so we got a game plan for the next day and hit the sack.

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Early the next morning after rigging our gear we set out. The plan was to head to some back ponds that were out of the wind. This would take some paddling, some of which would be through long winding mangrove tunnels. It really feels like you were in the middle of nowhere and the journey in was almost as cool as the chance to catch some fish!

16513045389_b58c95356e_kWe made it back to the first pond we planned to fish and within a few minutes Chris had landed his first snook. It was a small one, but who cares! I had never caught one so I was determined to get one and headed to the far bank and started work the mangroves with a white Z-Man Paddlerz on a ¼ oz jig head. It did not take long and I was hooked up! I had my first snook! I could hear excitement from the other side of the lake and it was Jim hooked up! He landed a nice snook and we all began to get into them. All the fun was followed by some slight heartbreak for Chris and I though. We both hooked and lost tarpon right at the kayak, but the excitement made up for it. I have to say that all of us were impressed with the new Manley Rods and could not be happier with their performance! The Coosa HD’s and Cuda LT were also a blast to fish from and full of features, but what else would you expect from a company like Jackson?!

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16607921066_859ece4d65_z16633918565_8f405ce3ef_zJust as quick as the bite turned on it was off and we began to make our way back. It was some of the most fun I have had fishing in a while, and who could ask for a better group of friends to do it with. We made it back to the camper, cooked up some burgers, told stories about the day, and made plans for the next one. This is what a Kayak Fishing Boondoggle is all about to me: friends, fellowship, and fishing = fun!

Big Thanks to Chris Funk and Will Richardson for all the cool pics!!

Check out the video below to see some of the action from the trip!

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