President Bush is taking his first vacation since the Persian Gulf war ended, plying the balmy waters off the Florida Keys for the region's feisty bonefish.

Bush on Monday was heading out for his second day of fishing after a major power outage turned his Easter dinner into a candlelit event.Getting into the vacation spirit quickly Sunday, the president turned aside questions about Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev, the rebellion in Iraq and about the secret trip to the Persian Gulf by his national security adviser, Brent Scowcroft.

"It's Easter. It's a day to . . . count your blessings," he told reporters flying with him on Air Force One for the four-day visit to Florida. It is his first sustained break from work since the Gulf War ended Feb. 27.

"We're going to have a good time down there," he promised.

A power failure plunged all of the keys into darkness Sunday night, and the president and his wife dined by candlelight before power was restored within 30 minutes, spokesman Stephen Hart said.

Although the townhouse condominium where they are staying lost power for about 30 minutes, Hart said the traveling White House communications system was switched to an emergency generator and remained operational.