Yesterday I fished with Joe Rodriguez in the Everglades. We were fishing exclusively 6 lb tippet and looking for large tarpon.
We left Islamorada at about 8:00, and ran to the park. We were plagued by clouds: both dense and between us as the sun, as well low on the horizon, casting a shady haze on the water even when the sun was not obscured. These two factors, coupled with the dark grassy bottom in most of the areas we were fishing, conspired to create conditions for us that maximized the coefficient of toughness for our undertaking. All of the fish we saw were large, and most were easily over 100 pounds.
Our first shot was at a large sliding fish in shallow water. I cast too early, and the fly landed a little too close. I re-cast, this time cheeking the fish on my retrieve; he blew up and ran at the boat, fleeing in short order.
Our second shot was at another high slider, and while I made the cast at a reasonable distance (not too far, which was something I am prone to doing, especially when I see the fish coming from a long way out) I was unable to feed the fish on either of my two presentations.
We had another few fish approach us, though they all appeared close and flushed before we could get a shot off in their direction.
At our last stop, Joe had found a group of fish. The sun and clouds, however, were creating more problems: we knew there were fish around, but we simply couldn’t see them in the glare.
I had about 3 shots at a group of tarpon we stumbled across. One fish ate the fly a few meters from the boat, and as I came tight I pulled the fly right out of his mouth. Devastating, but we stuck with the cloud-O-vision for a few hours longer. We had one fish track the fly and crack open; it turned away when the fly became stuck on a piece of grass.
We called it a day, all headaches and curse words from the difficult visibility.
More to come from the park next week, where hopefully we will have an opportunity to tug on a large creature.