There is, of course, any amount of other fishing in Florida, though it is naturally not thought much of by tarpon anglers. The ' lady' or ' bone' fish is a game specimen, but, not being an ichthyologist, I am unable to class it scientifically. It is long and slender, and such as I caught ran from four to eight pounds, though I heard of much heavier fish. It is usually got by spinning from a boat at the mouth of a river or creek with phantom minnow or spoon. When struck it leaps in a very remarkable manner. Its brilliant silver colour reminds one forcibly of the tarpon. I killed seven or eight on one particularly warm morning, and found that they tried a single-handed built cane to the utmost.
The jack fish, or ' horse fish' as some people call it, is very plentiful in Florida waters. It is not pretty to look upon, hog-backed in shape, parchment in colour, but it will take almost any kind of bait, fly, or small spoon. It was so numerous occasionally that it became a nuisance, taking a fly immediately it touched the water, time after time. At another time it could not be killed with either fly or spoon.
The catfish, that vermin of the ocean which one finds in all parts of the world, abounds in these southern waters. If one tried to see how many fish one could kill with a fly in a day, I think the record would be made by the man who went for these unpleasant creatures, though a good deal of time would be wasted in getting them off the hook and avoiding their poisonous spine.
The rovallio is a fine sporting fish, not altogether unlike our pike in appearance. One morning in the Gordon River I started spinning from a boat. The first five fish I killed all belonged to different varieties. After I had brought to creel six jack-fish, there came at my minnow something that looked remarkably like a pike, and a big one. I guessed him as weighing at least twenty pounds, and gave up in despair the idea of killing him with a light greenheart rod. He fought doggedly and brilliantly. Many times in my tussle with him did I tremble for my tackle ; many times was my American guide, whose admiration for English rods was not of the greatest, prepared for the ' I told you so,' as the frail greenheart doubled and strained. After a time he came in easily and stupidly, as a grayling occasionally will. When I thought I had him, he, like a grayling, made his best rush of all. He was off and away, and I thought it best to let him work his wicked will. As he slowed down I wound the line against him, and gave him all the butt I could. The guide backed the boat towards him. I reeled up rapidly, and before he knew where he was he was gaffed.
As a rule, I do not think it fair to gaff a fish under ten pounds, and this gentleman weighed barely eight. He was a rovallio, and I was lucky in killing many another before I left Florida.
The red or channel bass is a most beautiful fish, and game as one could desire. In colour he is a dark coppery red. He is usually killed at the mouth of a river. My first channel bass was caught some three miles from the sea. Like the tarpon I caught in the Gordon River, he was the first of the season. Channel bass go to forty pounds.