Fishing with Steve and Chad

Fishing with Steve and Chad

After the day with Jeff and Scott, I traveled to the Everglades to fish with Steve and Chad Huff. We were once again hopeful that the weather would warm up enough for us to look for a tarpon, and after the last three trips rendered zero shots we were all hoping for a change in our luck. The water had been cold but was warming, and we kept an eager (obsessive) eye on the temperatures before the first day started.

Steve smartly took us to a place to look for snook in the morning chill as we made our way toward tarpon territory, and we kept our interest level up with some mangrove lever-pulls for the first few hours. Chad and Jason Schratwieser had fished the day prior and found a group of redfish hanging out on a storm-scoured shoreline, and Chad and I traded shots on the light bottom in the mid-morning. The fish were hard to see and difficult to engage without spooking them, but after a few failed attempts we got tight to one and dispatched him for dinner. We stuck with the puppy drum for a while before heading on towards parts farther for a look for a tarpon where the water was (allegedly) warmest, and kept our noses to the frozen grindstone for most of the remainder of the day. We did return to the snook search later, on our way home, and caught none despite our application of so many casts against the shoreline.

I’ve taken to picking up a few steaks from the Trading Post in Islamorada on the way up to fish with Steve, and with the additional redfish we were able to make a fantastic surf and turf for dinner. Steve posed for the trophy shot with our drum before the feast:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After a delicious dish we got some rest before the following day, the prospects of which I remained euphorically optimistic about.

The second day of fishing was warmer still, and we did not run the distance of the day before. We fished for snook again to start, and found a few tiny ones to whet our appetite before looking for tarpon in the afternoon. We saw a few fish roll (ok, maybe just one…), and a number of busts in the distance (fine…two. Jeez, tough crowd) and kept it 100 and ran the play by play in case one showed up. We snook fished in the afternoon to ease the pain, and I caught a nice one that Chad took a picture of:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We continued on, though at this point we were enveloped fully in the hunt for a large snook. We came across a few that made us early, including a truly large one in a back bay that flushed out, toilet like across the slick water. The fishing never turned on, and at the end of the day Steve took us to one last place to look hard for a tarpon before heading in. We watched the sun set as we watched for the tarpon that never came, and Chad snapped a pic of the end of the day:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The final day of fishing was treated with the same optimism we had used (and been used by) on the first two, and we made our last stand as a team. I started the day snapping some pictures of Steve’s used fly mosaic, thinking it would make a good addition to these pages and affirm my commitment to taking more pictures from my days in the Everglades:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The water was now the warmest yet according to our calculations, though the tarpon were not as convinced. We looked and looked, kept it 100 and ran the play-by-play, and still found nothing. No matter; we stuck with it and made our way through the day ready for anything. We kept it light, as always, and had fun as it became apparent we were early to this particular party. When the light ran out we took off for home, leaving the six for another day.

I’d like to thank Steve and Chad for another great trip, and I don’t care how bad the weather is when I’m fishing with those guys–I still feel lethal.

Up next is the Cuda Bowl report, which will be awesome since John O’Hearn and I traded places (not to mention John winning the spin division, Ted and John winning the team award, etc). More to come, current before Friday when I am headed out with Doug and Wes Smith. Saturday I’ll be out with Ian Slater also.

Nat

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Nathaniel Linville

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