Fishing Report/Busman’s Holiday – week ending 9/12/2009
On Monday I was hooking the Scandy to the back of the Jeep for a bonefish trip to the Keys when the phone rang. My neighbor Ron called and I could tell he was excited. The tarpon are here in the 10K, he said; big fish and lots of them! I told him of my plans and said I would be back here by the weekend to put the run on them.
Marshall DeMott and I arrived in the Keys on Tuesday and explored some beautiful flats just outside Key West despite some unsettled weather. I was poling a cut along a shallow flat and when we spotted a bonefish of no less than 10# working its way into the outgoing tide. We just could not get there in time to intercept the fish. I pushed hard against the current and wind just in time to see another fish following the same path. This fish was not so lucky. Marshall put his crab six feet ahead of the fish, waited a couple seconds, stripped once, and as the fish sped up Marsh was connected. After some smoking runs he brought a beautiful 7# bone to the boat. Congratulations Marshall! Before long an ominous storm had us running back to port.
Day 2 brought a forecast of 70% chance of storms and rain but we decided to give it a go anyhow. The wind was blowing a steady 10 knots when we hit the first flat. Spotted some fish but decided we may have a better chance wading the lee of a small key where we had spotted fish the day before. We both grabbed a rod and waded carefully while trying to spot fish between the cloud-shadows ripping across the flats. I was headed towards a clear spot in the turtle grass when I heard a shout off to my right, turned around and Marsh was hard and fast to another big bone. I waded over, snapped some pictures and helped revive her before releasing another great fish.
As I got to the opening in the grass, a very large fish lazily worked its way along the edge. I put the crab just ahead, stripped and was connected. The backing was just hitting the tip of the rod when everything went slack. Broke off? No. I looked at the fly and the hook had straightened – a good lesson in “bring enough gun!”
I tied on a new fly and had just stripped out some line when another single cruised into the opening. This fish hit the crab almost as soon as it settled and I was connected. I heard a shout and Marshall was fast to a fish as well – Keys double-header! We both landed our fish at about the same time it became apparent we were not the only ones working this flat. The excitement had brought a heard of big bull sharks along with a 5′ cuda looking for an opportunity. Time to go.
Back in the boat we spotted four 20-25# permit working their way into the bight on the incoming. Try as I wanted, I just could not catch up with these guys before they hit some deep water and disappeared.
Great to fish different waters and explore all that Florida has to offer the fly fisher.
All the best,