On Tuesday, I fished with Captain Simon Becker. Simon and I have tried to fish in the past, but his (understandably) busy guiding schedule and a tournament in the middle of some planned days got in the way. Last week at the Lower Keys Guides Association meeting he mentioned to me that he had the following Tuesday open, and I jumped at the chance to fish with him.
We started looking for tarpon, and while the water was great looking the fish were nowhere to be found. As the wind picked up and the clouds moved in, we decided to take our chances with the permit fishing. As I don’t fish for permit as much as I’d like, and Simon is one of the most accomplished permit guides in the Keys, this was a great opportunity to learn a thing or two about these odd little animals.
We began on a flat, Simon tied a fly on my leader, and within minutes we had a tailing fish in front of us. I took perhaps 5 casts at the fish; every time, he didn’t quite get a good look at the fly and continued with his business. Finally I got the fly in front of the fish, and as soon as it landed and began to sink he took a swipe at it. I kept it coming (he missed it), and a short beat later he came around and inhaled the fly–I came tight, cleared the line, and we were off to the races.
We fought the fish for maybe 10 minutes before it wrapped itself around a crab trap and broke off; these things happen–I was just glad to hook one.
We kept fishing there and had a few fish come through but never had a shot: the cloud cover was in full effect, and we simply didn’t see them before they saw us.
Following this we went tarpon fishing again, and while we had some spotty sunlight we never drew a bead on a tarpon. No matter, since we were ready to continue our permit pursuit.
We found a flat that had a fair number of fish on it. I had maybe 6 decent opportunities, four of which resulted in a great deal of interest from the fish but none of which earned us our second bite. By 4:30, with the sun now cloaked completely in a deep cloud and glare on the surface of the water, we went home: a permit hooked and lost, a victory by my (dodgy) accounting.
I would like to thank Captain Simon Becker for an incredible day on the water, and I look forward to fishing with him more in the future.
The weather seems to be on its way to cold and windy, and here’s hoping that it re-aligns before the March Merkin.