Last Tuesday I fished for a few hours in the morning with Ian Slater. Ian had to leave the water early for a shift at the shop, so we made a half day out of the morning. The permit fishing has been good, if windy, and as such we spent our time looking for a shot at one of those.
Our fishing started out slow at our first stop, where we didn’t find any shots. We stuck with it for an hour, but as the sun got higher we made a run to a place Ian thought we might find some fish. After looking briefly in one place we spent some more time in another location, where the conditions looked perfect. There was wind and light, which as a couple of guys looking for a permit on fly made us confident. We stuck on a great area for an hour, again finding nothing to throw at before heading elsewhere.
At the next and final stop we didn’t see anything right away but eventually saw a large fish heading our way. At first we thought it a shark, though as the fish approached we confirmed that it was a large permit and got the fly in front of it for a gander. The fish kept swimming toward the diving crab, and just when we thought she might turn around and wrap around it the permit swerved outside of our offering and made a beeline for parts far away. We kept moving down the grass flat, and soon Ian spotted some large mud puffs being kicked up a few hundred feet away. We got into position as we watched the mud disappear and then reappear nearby, a clear indication that this was a group of permit.
Ian spotted the bodies in the water first, and there were at least three of them. In the wind it was hard to be as accurate as I wanted to be, but with some luck I was able to get a shot in a place I thought might do the trick. The fish didn’t notice the feathered intruder, and I put another cast in front of them as they happily pushed their noses into the grass that was again ignored. We lost the fish briefly before seeing them again, and Ian got the boat into position for a second pass as I readied the line. My second cast made it over the shoulder of one of the fish as they moved away from us, and when they fly landed I looked down at a tangled heap of running line in the water. I paused and looked up when Ian said “He’s all over it” to see the fish wagging on the fly, and in the moment made a poor call. In my mind, I imagined setting the hook lightly with a bent rod, keeping the fish confused for long enough to get the line untangled. In reality I trout set the fish and stayed tight only briefly before he swam at the boat and shook the fly out. To add insult to self-hatred the fish continued to mud, never having been stuck well enough to interrupt its program. I reset and continued to look for the fish as they mudded along, taking a few shots over their back before they disappeared.
We had another shot at a single mudding fish before our clock ran out and we headed home, but the most we were going to get was the almost-but-not-quite from earlier that still burns to remember.
Tomorrow I may fish for a few hours, and there’s a plan to possibly fish with Zack Stells on Tuesday. The barracuda fishing is beginning to tug at my heart strings, so I’m sure we’ll give a look for wolfs as well as permit if we get out there.
Michael Hetzel comes tomorrow night, and there will undoubtedly be some nighttime dock sessions with him.
The weather remains clear and beautiful, and slightly cooler than it’s been.