On Tuesday, I fished for a day with Zack Stells. Zack and I have talked for nearly a year about getting out and doing some fun fishing and it took a long time for it to finally happen.
We started at a reasonable 8:00, and while the weather looked clear it was as well hot and without a lot of wind. This didn’t dissuade us from focusing on permit, though at times we were unable to help ourselves and had to give some time to searching for a bonefish. The fishing was slow to say the least, and while we were in the company of great conditions we were uninterrupted by permit for the better part of the day.
We did have a shot at a pair of cruising fish in the early afternoon, and while the fly landed in what we thought was a good spot the fish didn’t react. We had another two shots at the left fish before a cloud moved in and shielded them both from further flying crabs.
At 5:15, it was looking like it might be a fishless day. The sun had lowered, however, and with some different tide and less sun overhead the water cooled a bit and we decided to look in one more spot before making a homeward bound decision.
At what would be our final flat of the day, we blew out a single as we crept along and then had a great shot at two fish coming down the bank. I threw the fly farther in front of them than I wanted to, since I thought there to be a third fish closer to us. The front of the pair tracked the fly though it was unable to find it in the grass, and when the three fish took off from the boat the third fish revealed itself to be a small barracuda. In a few minutes, we had another shot: a phalanx of permit scooted down the grass towards us, and we got the fly in front of them and were rewarded with a textbook bite from one of the lead fish. I set the hook and cleared the line to redemption. Zack and I were both quite ecstatic that our hard work had paid off in such fine form, though there was one more surprise in store for us. After a short run, the rod tip jerked and the line went slack. When I reeled in the leader we discovered it was cut by some toothy perpetrator just below the first blood knot. Don’t these barracuda know how much we care about them?
Despite the crushing pain of losing so much redemption, it was nice to stick one and let them know we were there. I had a good time with Zack, which was especially appreciated when our day’s success was solely dependent upon sticking with it and not giving in to the “this sucks” that prevents many a fish from being caught.
Kat and I leave Saturday for Apalachicola, and I will report back after our return.