The fishing world has a legend called the “secret spot.” It’s believed by many an angler to exist and to be that special place where utopia is found. The fish there will simply jump in the boat as if there’s no tackle or bait needed. When and if located its held close to the chest and not shared with anyone. Not family, not friends, nor with wives or husbands.
But does it really exist?
I hate to be the one to possibly burst the bubble, but in today’s information world of GPS’s, deluxe sonar, and YouTube, I’m afraid the back country secret spot may now be a myth.
I won’t argue the fact that there are many out-of-the-way places in the backwaters of Southwest Florida. Some of those locations are hard to get to in most watercraft. But I just know in the back of my mind, having been on the water as much as I have, that someone has probably fished my secret spots before me. Remember, the Calusa Indians were here thousands of years before the Spaniards showed up and they subsisted almost solely on seafood. They’ve probably fished my spots.
Things are different for the offshore angler. The waters are deep and there are almost no surrounding objects from which to get a location fix. To find a specific spot on Gulf waters requires the aforementioned GPS. A Global Positioning System picks up satellite information and thus can put an angler on an exact spot on an enormous body of water over and over again. It completely removes the hunting for the “needle in a haystack” scenario.
I believe that it’s more likely that a secret spot can exist in the Gulf waters. While an angler is cruising from one location to another, it’s possible that the sonar will suddenly pick up a signal from the bottom. The alert angler will immediately stop and investigate. Lines with bait are dropped to the bottom and if multiple hookups occur, another secret spot has been located. Of course it can still be argued that someone else may already have that location too, so it’s not really all that secret.
While the Gulf is big and fishing spots are undersea, the offshore angler still has a problem keeping secret spots a secret. There are many prying eyes out there and they too have modern electronics and high-powered binoculars. I’ve seen these pirates do their best to steal those spots so the offshore angler must be aware and on guard at all times for a possible takeover.
For all fisherman, the biggest difficulty in keeping a secret spot secret is their mouths. Fishing folk have a very bad habit of loving to talk about and showing pictures of their catch. If you add beer to the mix then the talk becomes much more animated and full of useful information. My advice is don’t drink and talk fishing, especially around other anglers.
Back in 1897 the New York Sun printed an editorial piece called “Is There A Santa Claus?” A letter was sent to them from a child named Virginia asking that very question. After a long and detailed response the newspaper answered, “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.”
I’ve been asked virtually the same question over the years about secret spots. Do they really exist or not? My answer is… Yes, Anglers, there are secret spots. You’ll know when you find one. It’s magical and the fish really do jump in the boat.
Captain Rob Modys is a lifetime Florida outdoorsman, retired spin & fly fishing guide and host of REEL Talk Radio on ESPN 99.3 FM from 7-10 a.m. every Saturday morning. He is past president and board chairman of the Florida Outdoor Writers Association and serves on the board of the Florida Guides Association. Capt. Rob also shares his fishing knowledge in a series of fishing classes at Bass Pro Shops.