Last Thursday and Friday I fished with John O’Hearn. On the second day we were joined by Dave Dalu, with whom I haven’t fished in a long time. It was great to fish with John. It was also great to get on the water with Dave for a fun day of fishing before the Gold Cup, where fun can often be a scarce commodity.
John and I started out at 8 AM, hoping to set a relaxed tone for the upcoming days. We had an idea to give a few places a look that we hadn’t fished in recent weeks (some, in recent years) and we searched for the better part of the morning for some animals. We found a few here and there, finding a few where we hoped we might find many. We ended up leaving the searching in search of something to catch, and had an hour or two of back country tarpon that we couldn’t crack before we decided we needed to catch a fish to turn our spirits. John ran to a place he knew there would be some tarpon hanging around, and we had a single shot at a 50 pounder that split open and face-melted on the little toad. We fought the fish for 10 minutes before John got hands on and we reclaimed the toad. We hung around for another half hour, hoping to buy something else but leaving after it became apparent there was nothing more for sale. John then headed to another place in the failing daylight and we had a decent hour or so of fishing. In the glare of the late afternoon we were found by three separate schools of fish. Of these, we had a near volunteer from only one that we sent packing when I pulled the fly out of its mouth. With this last location in mind we made a plan to start there early, and I got in touch with Dave Dalu to set up a 6 AM departure.
Dave met us a little past 6, and we got the gear in the boat and headed to where we’d found the groups the evening prior. We stuck in the spot for an hour or more, waiting for fish that never came. We had a single shot at a shallow group of three before we packed up and moved elsewhere in search of targets. John took us to a nearby edge, and we poled in to the spot from far away to keep the fish calm on our approach. It soon became apparent that there were more than a few fish in the area, though between the slick calm and the hazy overcast conditions we were unsure of what they were doing. Ordinarily we would be doing things like taking long leads and reading body language, though as it was we were left tossing in front of rolling fish: a less than ideal approach to the fish’s circumspect attitude. We were stuck on this particular nail for longer than we should have been, but the numbers (and the frustration from not hooking one) kept us from leaving. Dave had a few great shots at a large group that snaked through, but despite this the fish were safe from our efforts.
We left, and when we got to where we were headed decided we should have left earlier. Dave soon had a bite, an the fish kept coming through as we tried to crack the code further. I had two fish from a small string each take a bite at the fly, though in neither of these cases was I able to get the hook buried. We kept fishing there until the flow of fish slowed down, and John took us somewhere else. We had a fair number of fish at this place, though the lack of sun was a factor far from in our favor. Every shot was available only at short range, though we did manage to get another bite from a single fish before we went back to the last place we were to finish out the day. We never found much to throw at before the clock ran out, and at 4:30 we headed to the dock.
I’d like to thank John for a couple great days, even if they weren’t packed to the gills with fish. As always it was great to see Dave Dalu fishing, and I look forward to seeing more of it this summer.
Tomorrow I start with John before the Gold Cup which starts Monday. The reports will be a little lax before then, but after the smoke clears I’ll get the results and our fishing up here. Both, hopefully, will be intertwined in a meaningful way.
More to come,