Jupiter Florida (Loxahatchee River)

For the past 18 years I’ve been trekking to the West Palm Beach area yearly to visit my folks. What’s nice about that is that I’m able to keep some fishing gear at their house so I don’t have to keep transporting it cross country. Unfortunately fly fishing gear has been exempt. Doubly unfortunate is that for 16 years I’ve pretty much stuck to spinning gear.

Last year that changed when I met up with a forum member that lives about 30-45 minutes from the parents. That person was mbowers and he was a super host. He was responsible for my catching my first tropical fish on the fly, snook and jack crevalles. We even tossed some surface plugs at schools of the jacks going by. Awesome to see that explosion at the surface!

This year I met up with mbowers again. I met him shortly after midnight and we fished until daylight. We would motor up to a lighted dock and cast for whatever would bite. For this particular morning, it was all snook and jacks. The fish are unbelievable. Some of the jacks hit so hard and so fast that I couldn’t even attempt to set the hook. The fish seemed to be a little bit bigger this year. Fish were caught on poppers and clousers.

For this trip I actually brought a 7 wt Sage One and Ross Gunnison 3. It was the first time using the rod and it was great breaking it in on the snook and jacks.

The hi-lite of the trip was towards the end. We were passing underneath a bridge and saw a school of jacks busting bait. We guessed that the fish were from a few pounds up to 20. I was tossing a popper on a 6 wt and not one fish checked it out. Mbowers removed the clouser from the 7 wt and put on a big streamer. After about a half dozen or so casts, fish on! Turned out to be about an 8 lb jack. It was a fun battle. Had some people watching from the bridge some I was glad I didn’t lose it in the battle.

The fly fishing was so good that we didn’t even break out the gear rods, though in hindsight it would have been fun to toss some surface plugs at those big jacks.

Mbowers is a super dude. Very gracious. I almost had to beg him to fish. He told me it was just as fun watching me cast and see the fish hit. Though we don’t communicate much throughout the year, I consider him a friend and looking forward to fishing with him again next year.

Hard to keep my eyes open when the flash goes off in the dark, so I look pretty dorky with my eyes shut or overcompensating to keep them open. I’ve attached a pic of one of my bigger snook and one of the larger jacks. Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture of the biggest jack.
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Indi "Ira" Jones
Nice jack! All those fish are truly awesome and they tend to put steelhead to serious shame. Can you imagine having that fishery here, right out your door, 365 days a year! Mr. Bowers is truly an awesome dude for sure!