I’ve been a relatively terrible blogger of late, and while there are plenty of reasons for this none of them are worth getting in to here. I’ve had four days of fishing this week, and with the Golden Fly next week looming larger each day it’s time to bring things up to speed. I’ve had some great fishing and in addition to some that’s been challenging, and so far this year has been less than stellar in the lower Keys.
I spent a day in the early part of the month with Bobby Paulson and John Kelleher, who showed me a great time as well as some good fishing. I lost a nice one and broke off on purpose one smaller, rounding out a great day with a pair of good friends.
I fished with Brandon Cyr this past Sunday, running from some building storms in the morning, and we ended up with a school of fish in front of us as soon as we shut down in the low light. I hooked and fought a 70 pound tarpon after missing a few bites, and we had it nearly grabbed when the hook pulled out. We kept at these fish for a while before moving on to some nearby laying giants that gave us a hard time. I finally connected with a fish of about 80 pounds that took a half hour to bring to hand, and then Brandon and I traded shots on some small permit that he’d been eyeing. Brandon’s connection to two of these was brief (if thrilling), and then I got up to try to convince one myself. We stayed with them for longer than we should have, unwilling to divest ourselves of our position, though in retrospect we might have moved on earlier than we did. Still, it’s been a while since I caught a permit and the idea of catching one held both of our interest solidly for a few hours before we gave up and moved nearby for some tarpon. Brandon was up at this point, and after a shot at a large school that didn’t pay off he worked the mouth of a monster open with a great cast and a slow strip.
This fish stayed on long enough for Brandon to give it his built best, and with 20 minutes of his hard work I got a hand on the lower lip of a fish that I’d love to throw a strap around next week. We kept at it after this, focused on trying to find a permit, but only had a few low quality shots that didn’t work out before we headed home.
The following day I fished with John O’Hearn. We spent a great 10 hours in search of tarpon, and had a fair number of shots. I hooked and lost near the boat a smaller fish of around 75 pounds, and after that had a pair of bites that didn’t connect with their source long enough. We moved around throughout the day, ending up on the ocean to make a friend from the swimming strings.
I had a hard time connecting for an hour, though after that got a great bite from a larger fish. John grabbed this fish after 20 minutes, and I was able to get out of the boat for pictures. Sadly, my upload game has been pretty shoddy lately and they’re not here.
After that Chad Huff came down for two days of fishing with me and Ian Slater. He was going to join me for these two days and then fish with Kat and Simon Becker. We started on Wednesday early, and straight away found a swirling glob of tarpon that we felt sure would give us at least enough bites to pick a fight from. We were not able to get a bite early on, and the group split over the next few hours into tendrils that were as impossible to hook as they were pretty to look at. We spent a few hours bending our minds with these fish before moving, sour with our treatment and looking for more. Ian once again found us a number of shots, and again we were unable to convince any to open up. We finished the day after a move, looking for more fish that never came, without a bite between us.
The second day Ian had a slightly different plan, hoping to buck the trend. Once again we were confronted with a supply of fish that didn’t give us the time of day, which as it grew later drew us far away in search of new fish to throw at. Chad graciously ended our streak without a bite by breaking one off on a hook set, and while this would ordinarily be the cause of me handing him a large portion of guff I was in no position to be anything other than happy that he’d broken our biteless curse. We left soon thereafter when the fishing slowed, and Ian once again found a rolling mass of tarpon. Chad and I were between us only able to cause a single error from a fish that never stayed on (Chad’s), and we moved nearby after things slowed down.
Again we found them; again, we were unable to get a single fish to crack. We finished the day in yet another spot, yet again surrounded for most of our time by fish, and yet again unable to coax a single one into our trap. I ended two days of fishing without a single bite, though coming home to find out that Kat had caught a permit with Simon and hooked a few tarpon took some of the frustration out of the day.
I’d like to thank Chad for making the drive down, and Ian Slater for working hard in the face of fish that didn’t want to open their mouths. I’m going in to the Golden Fly humble, I can assure the readership of that.
Tomorrow I fish with John, then the tournament starts the following day. The weather looks good, and my prediction is that whoever takes down the field is going to have to catch a lot. Report and results will follow, as always.