This past week has been full of fishing with a fair amount of wind mixed in. A front moved through today, bringing with it a fair amount of chill–in April, we hit temperatures in the high 60’s.
Before the front arrived I had a number of days on the books, the first of these with Ian Slater on Monday. We tarpon fished nearly the entire day, and for a few glorious hours had what I would consider great tarpon fishing–quite a thing after the typical weather I’ve had intersect my recently booked days. We began with grabbing a 75-pounder, and in the next few hours I missed every fish that bit in the flurry of activity. While ordinarily this would be a source of frustration, in this case it was not as annoying as it might have been: after all, we already had one weight to hand and we were in the thick of it. Barring a tournament, where the missed bites would be especially painful, the fact of the matter was that we were having a ball and I didn’t care that the fish weren’t staying on. We kept getting bites from giants, content to just do things right enough to fool the animals. We eventually left to look elsewhere, and while the fishing wasn’t what it was for that period of time again in the day we didn’t mind. Sometimes it’s just nice to get the grabs and have fun.
The following day I went to Islamorada, on an invite from Julian Robertson to fish with Rich Campiola. The readership here might remember them from their win in the 2017 Goldenfly tarpon tournament, where they made it happen under considerable pressure, and while I’ve never fished with either of them I had a decent idea based on their track record that they were going to be both fun and effective fishing companions.
I was right, and from the first shot in front of a waddling herd of tarpon we were tight. We fought the beast for a time before the shock wore through, and soon were right back at it. Julian never had a great opportunity at this spot, and stayed up for a while before we changed spots and anglers again. I hooked one that came unbuttoned, then Julian had two bites from fish that we couldn’t come tight to. Things slowed through the afternoon, but near the end of the day Julian hooked one from a pair of fish and fought it close to the end before the fly fell out. I got tight to a final fish before we headed back to the dock, a giant that let me throw at it more times than it should have before finally making a mistake. This fish also got rid of the hook before we could get our fly back by other means, and when this finished our fishing and headed for the dock.
I’d like to thank both Julian and Rich for an invitation that allowed me to see some new water and new fish, both of which took place in the company of fun people.
Yesterday I fished with Ian Slater, and while the wind was scheduled to come screaming in the afternoon the morning was gloriously still. The fish were happy that it was calm, but they were also clearly aware of the negative turn to come and acted as fish about to get chilled often do. We had a good number of shots throughout the day, though from these we were only able to coax a pair of bites that I missed like a silly herb.
Next week I’ve got a day with Nick Labadie on Monday, and Scott Collins on Wednesday.
More to come,