After the redfish extravaganza, Ian Slater and I had a pair of days scheduled to get into shape for our upcoming tournament efforts. We’ve been totally focused on tarpon, at the expense of permit, both feeling that our energy is best spent in that direction. Our first day of fishing was hard–there were but a few tarpon to be found, and from the ones we did it was difficult to garner any interest. We did hook one that we were able to play with, a smaller fish that gave it up after a short fight. We kept our efforts together for the rest of the day, looking for a tarpon to pull on but finding none that were interested in pulling back.
The second day we were joined by Wes Smith who was, as usual, in full permit plumage. This led to a fun day in which I did most of the tarpon fishing and he did most of the permit fishing. I was again not capable of getting a bite, to my everlasting frustration, though Ian and I were happy to run plays that we thought were good (even if the fish didn’t). Wes had a number of good shots at permit, and surprisingly was unable to get one of these to bite as well. We ended after I waded after a school of permit and hooked one that tailed on the fly. We all believed this was the end of our run of tough luck, though when we realized it was a jack we were back to our same feeling of wondering what might have been.
Following these two days I got out with Nick Labadie again, and this time we were joined by Joe Skrumbellos. For those of you yet unaware, Joe is one of the best permit anglers on the planet. Additionally, he is a great human being, and I was excited about the chance to have a day on the water with both of these guys. We were working against the arrival of an approaching cold front, which threatened our afternoon with a hard edge of rain and clouds. The shots we had to work with before the hammer dropped were great, though on mine I sent some short and errant casts instead of any that might have worked. Unsurprisingly, Joe made a number of clean shots into the pocket of a school of tailing fish, though despite his placement the fish were uninterested in eating his fly. When the front edge reached us we took shelter on a beach nearby and waited it out before getting back on track for a hopeful redemption. We worked hard in the wind and clouds, occasionally helped by the backdrop of thunderheads, though our best opportunity was foiled when I hooked a huge jack from behind a ray. The only permit we found was mudding happily away while I had the jack on, and while Joe got out a rod for a shot at a double the permit figured out what was going on before we had a chance to make our argument. We finished at 5 in the failing light, and headed home.
My fishing has been low-yield recently, which goes with the territory, and I’m eager for that to change. Monday and Tuesday with Ian, and I’ll be posting reports after.