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Kayak Fishing at Caya Costa

By Zsolt Takacs (a.k.a. Hitman), Team Malibu Pro Staff

"I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference." -Robert Frost

The mighty fish peeled the eight pound test line from my reel at an alarming rate. I did my best to put as much pressure on him as my line would allow. Clamoring around in the darkness I was forced to turn my head lamp on and watched in amazement as baitfish, thousands in numbers, darted around my feet. While I was following the large fish, both of my buddies hooked up, caught and released two more nice sized snook. Both were now intrigued with my fish and ran over to witness the rest of the battle. The big fish was close now and I raised my rod tip greedily, trying to get a visual of the fish with my head lamp. As all three of our head lamps lit up the surrounding area, the line started to rise. Within an instant the large head, then body of a snook rocketed from the water in a series of acrobatic aerials. After the fourth jump both my jig head and soft plastic bait were separated and hurled towards the shore in an angry fashion. This battle was over. Brendon and Jeremy, my buddies, looked at me as if trying to silently console me. The moment of silence passed and both were surprised when I started giggling in a giddy fashion. The giggling was because that would have been my twentieth snook landed that evening; who knows the number of fish lost. The giddiness was because we still had four days left on the island of Cayo Costa.

Cayo Costa, a Florida State Park, is one of the barrier islands located off of the southwest coast of Florida. It is approximately twelve miles west of Cape Coral and is directly above North Captiva Island. It can only be reached by boat and its northern most shores are bathed in the waters of the Boca Grande Pass. The waters which surround the island are patrolled by a plethora of game fish which include, but are not limited to, snook, tarpon, trout, redfish, jacks, spanish mackerel and a numerous variety of large sharks. The island itself has barely been touched by technology. As for the visitors to the island, there isn't any electricity or vehicles available.

There are however, modern bathrooms, running water, showers, boat slips which can be rented and ice that can be purchased from the ranger station, which is located on the bayside of the island. Upon arrival, the rangers will meet you at the docks and carry you and your equipment to the campsites, located on the gulf side of the island, via tram. If you plan on staying for a few nights, thirty primitive camp sites as well as twelve rustic cabins are available to you. When I go to Cayo Costa, I stay for ten days and I set up camp in one of the primitive camp sites.

Food and meals need to be planned in accordance with the number of days you intend on spending on the island. For my ten day trip I bring ten MREs and supplement that with grilling fish that I catch on the island. Each campsite has grill pits and charcoal, preferably a match light brand, should be used as sometimes in Florida there is a fire ban due to dryness. Besides the charcoal, there are a few more camping necessities, one of which is sunscreen. There is a very limited amount of shade on the island due to hurricane Charlie a few years back, wiping out all of the taller, shadier Australian Pines. Two other necessities would be a good supply of bug spray and a Thermocell®. I find that the more deet a bug spray has in it, the better. Intend on all three being used in excess as for on Cayo Costa the sun owns the day and the bugs own the night. A good head lamp is also recommended if you intend on doing any night fishing as there are no lights on the island, except for the ones on the bayside dock.

If you would like to visit the island of Cayo Costa, and you do not have your own boat, then you will need to make reservations with the:
Tropic Star Ferry: 1 -239-283-0015.

To camp on the island you will either need to reserve one of the campsites or a rustic cabin in order to do that you will need to call:
Reserve America: 1-800-326-3521

Any other questions or inquiries about the park can be found via internet:
http://www.floridastateparks.org/cayocosta/

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