Earlier this week, I fished for a day as the guest of Greg Kelly and Michael Pollack. Greg and I have become permit buddies over the last few months, and after talking about the life cycle of a crab through long text message exchanges and over dinner it was high time to get out and fish together. I was grateful for the invite, and I was especially glad for the opportunity to fish with Michael Pollack, whom I had not fished with for many years.
We started on a long edge far away from Key West, and as the tide crept higher we stayed in position for what we thought would be some incoming tails. The water stayed lower than we wanted for longer than we expected, though despite the less than perfect conditions we were in the game and having a great time. It’s one thing to have a good time when the fishing is great; it’s quite another to have a fantastic time when the fish just aren’t playing ball. We did.
Our only shot of the morning came from a fish that suddenly appeared next to the boat as we drifted between high spots. We got the fly where it needed to be in short order, but this seemingly motionless permit barely nodded at it as it fell and spooked off the boat when it realized what was going on.
We bumped through the day, looking in areas that we had every reason to expect would hold fish, and found none. Mike gave a fantastic effort in the face of a tough-lipped crowd, and when the day ended we left for home with the confidence that accompanies a solid effort if not the results we’d hoped for.
The following day, I went out for a day with John O’Hearn and Drew Delashmit. Our goals were, primarily, to have a fun time on the water and also to do some scouting for some permit and/or barracuda. The weather was far from perfect for barracuda: since we haven’t yet had a cold front to lower the water temperature, what barracuda we’ve found recently have been at best disinterested. We started by finding a spot that had tons of potential but only a few fish to show us. I poled as Drew fished, and in short order we were able to put together a few close shots in the fading clouds. Our efforts were rewarded with only a few follows from half-interested fish, and we moved to new ground after the bank we were fishing faded out into some deeper water.
As we slowed down at our next spot we saw quickly that there was some nervous water nearby, and it soon became apparent that these were nervous permit. Drew had a shot at them as they passed him, and the fly landed where it needed to but was not welcomed by the already nervy fish. We stayed in the area for a while, hoping for another opportunity, but this was to be our only permit encounter of the day. Soon, we made another move and this time made the switch to barracuda fishing. We found a number of small barracuda, and Drew had a few shots. I hooked a nice fish that fell off the hook after a short run, then Drew had another opportunity at a large fish sitting in a white sand hole. This fish tracked the fly hard for about 20 feet before shying off on a missed strip, and with that we changed anglers again. We poled through the spot again without another shot, and left after it became clear that the fish had done the same.
At our next spot John caught a medium-sized barracuda on a blind cast, and then I was up as we approached a large white spot. In the sand were many barracuda, and I threw two casts into them before a small fish took it away from the large fish in pursuit. We caught this fish easily, and when Drew stepped up on the bow the fish were still there and provided some great shots. Drew threw at them for a while, then I tried a different strip and caught another one. John got up and we had no more shots, and we left this white spot soon thereafter for a final stop on the way home.
At our final spot we actually found a number of large laid up tarpon, which we threw at until the light got tough and we headed for the dock.
All in all, it was a great day of fun fishing with Drew and John and I was grateful for the invite.
Next week with Steve, once again in pursuit of the six.
More to come.