Yesterday, and two days prior, I was invited by Ted Margo to fish with John O’Hearn. Our target was primarily permit, though we looked for bonefish at the beginning of the first day. Here’s how it all went down.
Day One (Tuesday, 23 September)
We left in conditions that could be easily described as sub-optimal, with a giant purple lightning-filled cloud bearing down on us from the Atlantic. We ran away from it until we arrived where we wanted to be, then had a fun time huddling in our rain coats as it passed. When it finally did we were left in the glare, looking for pushing schools of bonefish and/or permit. I had a shot at what we thought to be bonefish, though in short order they turned out to be jacks. Not willing to forsake a capture that might be hard to come by given the deteriorating weather, I caught a nice jack out of the trio and we left for a full focus on permit.
Our fishing was slow, to say the least, but we made the best of it. I had a few shots at fish that appeared too late in the glare and never gave us a shot, and then Ted got up for a shot. As we poled down a flat, John spotted a tail. John put the boat into position, and Ted made a cast as soon as it tailed a third time. The first cast was off, but the second landed delicately and in exactly the right spot; honestly, I haven’t seen many casts that gave me as much confidence as this one. The fish rushed the fly and appeared to eat it, though Ted never came tight–not his fault, as he did everything by the book. With a sinking feeling, we tabled our heartrates as the fish tracked the fly for another few feet before bolting off the flat.
This was as high as our pulses would be for the rest of the day, and while we gave a more than honest effort to getting tight to a permit we did not make the connection.
Day Two (Thursday, 25 September)
After Ted and John had two incredibly close calls the day before, we chose to continue our permit quest. The weather continued to make things harder than they should be, but early on we found a flat that had everything we wanted. Everything, that is, except sun. We pushed through a population of permit, taking too-close shots at them before they spooked off the boat. The light never got right, and while it was maddening to leave it was the less painful of the options we had.
Leaving the first area we found our way to the place that had given some good opportunities to Ted the day before. We poled four separate flats, beginning with the one that held fish the day before, and found only a passing shot at a pair to reward our efforts. This pormpted a run, which found us only a few more shots in less than ideal light before we ran back where the fishing had been good the day before. Running, looking, waiting for sun continued.
Late in the day I had a nice shot at a large permit on four pound, though I mis-read the current and hung up on the turtle grass. With that Ted took some much deserved bow time and we called it a day soon after.
I’d like to thank Ted for the invite and John for the effort–both were stellar, especially Ted’s allowance that I throw some of the light stuff for permit on his days.
More to come from Belize, unless I can get out for a morning before Kat and I leave on the 5.