When 16-year-old Piper Wesley first popped into my head, I knew she was an island girl. Tanned up and tough as nails, Piper definitely was not from the suburbs up north. No, she was from somewhere entirely different. Somewhere more relaxed. And warm. A place where she could swim and fish and be on the water all the time.
After giving it a little thought, I realized there was only one place in the country that really fit as the setting for ON THE LINE. Islamorada.
I fell in love with Islamorada back in 2007 when my husband and I visited for our honeymoon. Never before had we been somewhere so laid back. A tourist destination that wasn't infested with crowds. Where locals were more than friendly, they genuinely wanted to help. Recommending food at restaurants. Or daily activities throughout the Keys. Everyone wore a smile, as they were happy, well, just being there.
And who wouldn't be? Islamorada is paradise, and not just because of the picture-perfect palm trees lining every beach. But because in Islamorada, there is always something new and adventurous to do. Like fishing. Named the Sport Fishing Capital of the World, I was immediately captivated by the idea of catching something other than the blackfish and striped bass we wrestle with up north.
Enter the bonefish. The prize of the backcountry. You go after them in these flat-bottom boats called skiffs. And cast your line almost right over their heads, which you can see of course because the water is crystal clear. A little different than Long Island Sound, I'm afraid.
As soon as I thought of the bonefish, I knew that had to be Piper's fish. And that I just had to write about Islamorada. Because Islamorada has it all. Snorkeling. Fishing. Great food. And the relaxed atmosphere that's made the Keys famous.
Wrapped together, it's the kind of place that's just perfect for a 16-year-old fishing star. Now if only I could figure out a way to get down there more often myself...