Sunshine Stories: Bridge Troll

Where do you fish when you have no boat and limited resources? The best close to home spot with access and for me, more times than not, that’s under a bridge. When I arrived in the Sunshine State for the first time the first place I ended up fishing was, yup, you guessed it…under a bridge.

What makes bridges fishy spots? Well a couple things, whether the bridge is made of concrete, steel, wood or all of the above this all adds up to one thing structure. Not only does the bridge itself count as structure, often times concrete blocks, rocks and boulders are added for erosion control. The older the bridge the more the bridge itself begins to erode and the better the spot becomes. And then there’s the trash…it might be an eye sore to some but as the old saying goes…”One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” I’ve seen everything from shopping carts, bicycles, car parts, tires, fences, traffic cones, sunken boats and the list goes on but when it ends up in the water it becomes hiding spots for bait and fish.

A pair of Florida Sheepshead from under the bridge

What else does a bridge have to offer? I can remember a smoking hot day in the outer banks on canoe trip with Taylor. Seeking shelter from the sun, we found ourselves in the only shade around, yup…under a bridge and we found the best fishing of the day under that bridge. Just as us humans seek shelter from the sun so do the fish. Not only does fishing under a bridge provide relief from the sun, there have been many times when I’ve made a run for cover when the sky decided to open up. I’ve spent many dry hours under the shelter of a bridge on what otherwise would of been a miserably wet day.

One reason fish seek the shelter of a bridge

And last but not least in the under the bridge perks…the best one yet, deep pools. Now this doesn’t apply to all bridges but if it’s a decent sized bridge it most likely has a deep pool under it. When the bridge is built the bottom is usually dug out for the placement of the bridge footers resulting in a big hole left behind. The deeper and bigger the hole the more fish it will hold.

Some Mangrove Snappers and a Jack Crevalle

Back in our home waters of New York, bridges are magnets for the crepuscular creatures like walleye. Its a strange feeling being in a new environment but yet at the same time being in a very familiar environment. As I stood perched on my little rock island working a D.O.A. shrimp slowly along the bottom of the creek, the chill of dusk starting to soak into my back, I could have been under any bridge back home working a jig for a twilight walleye and with a very familiar thud in rod I set the hook. What happened next was very unlike a walleye as the surface of the water erupted with a thrashing, lip-hooked Snook; It was a spectacular display of power and grace that is etched into my memory.

My first Snook: an experience I’ll never forget

After three days under the bridge I started to look and smell like a homeless troll and decided it was time to give myself and the fish a break and move on to new waters, but the perks of being a bridge troll were well worth it.

Photography by Saxton and Taylor

All photography in this article is property of Saxtonoutdoors.com

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