Yesterday I headed up to the Everglades to fish with Captain Joe Rodriguez. We had a small window of opportunity to look for the six, so we decided to take it. We left Summerland at 5 am and drove to Islamorada, where we were on the water heading for the glades at 6:45.
At our first spot we had fish, though they were hard to see and spread out. The good news was that almost every fish we saw appeared to be at or above the necessary size for the record. After an hour we had two or three shots at fish that didn’t see the fly or, if they did, were not interested. The shots became more frequent and we had a great toss at a very large fish that was sliding on the surface, but we (I) couldn’t seem to get a grab.
After a few hours there, we went to another location and found a few fish. Our visibility allowed for only a small window as some hazy clouds moved in and messed up our angle, another boat ran over our fish, and we counted two shots at fish before moving on.
At our second-to-last spot we looked hard for an hour before finding a small nest of fish. We had a couple of what I would classify as really good shots at three fish–one actually seemed to vomit and run away as soon as he saw the fly, while another tracked it with great interest before blowing out. Very difficult behavior from fish; a joy to do and an experience that I hope to repeat.
At our last spot we (finally!) hooked a fish on a blind cast to a roll directly into the sun. While the fish wasn’t big enough to make the cut (we put him at 40 lbs +/-) we were able to hold our heads high for the last hour of fishing before calling it a day and running back to Islamorada.
Joe did a great job keeping our spirits up, and I am lucky to fish with him.