Everglades with Joe Rodriguez
The water had not yet warmed up after our latest cold snap, so we elected to chase some redfish and drum in the Everglades. Joe put us on fish all day, and Aaron and I had a great time trading shots at drum and catching many redfish. Here are some photos:
We had to look for our tarpon, knowing that the influx of happy poons was most likely a day away. We looked and found a few schools of rolling fish, and even had a few shots at them, but they were unhappy and we did not get any grabs. Aaron left to go back to Key West and his wife and baby, and Joe and I stayed on for day 3.
Joe found a large school of tarpon immediately, but they were being snotty. That said, when we got the fly where it needed to be (after a about a dozen shots), we got the grab. Our first fish was large, and we estimated it at around 120 or above. After 30 minutes of pulling and almost no aerial antics, the fish kicked the class with its tail and broke off. No matter, we were back in the fish within an hour.
After more than a couple shots that were either too close or too far, after I took a break for a redbull, Joe spotted a fish nearby. I didn’t have time to get on the deck, let alone the casting platform, and from the cockpit threw a cast that landed a few feet in front of it. As I stripped the fish turned, and the fly hung up on one of the pieces of turtle grass that were everywhere. I barely had time to say “dammit, grass” before the fish inhaled our fly, grass and all. It was, to be very clear, one of the greatest grabs I’ve ever seen.
This fish was around 100 pounds, and we went to work. Joe drove and I pulled. The fish jumped multiple times before settling in to a rhythm; I kept pulling. After 45 minutes, we could see the fish begin to break down. After an hour, we felt that the end was near; it may jut be a matter of time. After almost flipping the fish, it ran away from the boat and took two greyhounding leaps, the second of which put the fish’s body on top of our class tippet. Game over, but such a pleasure to play.
So ended our day of fishing, though we found one more school of rollers on the way home.
When Joe and I arrived at Key West, Aaron mentioned that we should have a look tomorrow (today) before work. Obviously, I was in.
See next report from tomorrow for this morning.