Aaron and I fished two days earlier this week and I can tell you honestly that the wind was with teeth.
Our first morning started out in fine fashion. Aaron and I poled an edge for about 20 minutes before I felt Aaron kick the boat around for a shot. We could see a dark shape–tail on one end, business on the other, and Aaron stopped the boat when the fish was about 30 feet away. We both turned to see a giant cloud on its way between us and the sun, and we both commented colorfully on our bad luck. All I could do was pick a bit of foam on the water that was near the fish’s head and throw there–when the cloud obscured the sun we were essentially fishing blind. I tossed Fitz Coker’s Skoker (his hybridized domesticated derivation of a Dave Skok tarpon fly) in front of the foam, and basically acted like I was playing to a fish. We both saw the fish sliding at the same time, and Aaron said “He’s sliding right–try him again.” I pulled back to re-cast, and realized that the fish had already eaten our bug. I set the hook via my intended backcast, and the fish (all apparently 110 pound of it) came out of the water up to its pectoral fins, breaking off when it hit the water. It appeared that the late hook set allowed the tarpon to get its mouth past the 12 inches of shock; we all know that tarpon mouths don’t have a lot of respect fr 6 lb tippet.
The rest of our day we had about 6 shots, none of which resulted in a grab.
We elected to shark fish, since the wind was worse and a giant cloud bank was paying interest to the entire backcountry. We spent our morning acquiring mullet, and, with them in a bag, set up a drift. In addition to the mullet in a bag, we also had a spinning rod rigged with a split-tail mullet on it with which to tease any incoming sea monsters.
Aaron and I both thought it would be pretty cool to throw said mullet at a laid up tarpon, and spent a few minutes talking about what would happen. We caught a small blacktip that quickly got to first base with Aaron’s rain jacket, and soon thereafter saw an ominous creature-glow below the mullet. A few minutes later, we both got to see what a tarpon does to a mullet on a spinning rod; it was just as cool as we’d thought.
Later we had a visit from a very hungry barracuda, who relieved us of our third mullet teaser bait.
We called it a day around 1:30, but Aaron had one last trick up his sleeve. We spent about 30 minutes on a near edge, and in the first 10 minutes Aaron again turned the boat and pointed out a very large laid up tarpon to his angler. It took me three (ok…maybe 4) casts before I got Fitz’s Coker Skoker in front of the fish, which proceeded to give us one of the best bites we’d seen in a long time. The fish tracked the fly high and happy, opening its mouth for about 5 feet before it came out of the water up to its midriff and rolling back on itself. The only problem is that the fish pushed our fly out of the way in its haste and excitement; we were left with two things slack: our jaws and my fly line. Two more shots and we called it a day.
Mondya I fish with Fitz and my uncle Jack Linville with Chris Trosset for whatever we can find; a report will follow of course.
enjoy the wind.