Yestrday I fished with Captain John O’Hearn, eager for a sounder beating from permit.
We started at 7:30, and by 8:00 were fishing. We didn’t find any at our first spot, though the tide was slowing down and we were waiting for the next tide cycle anyway. During the slack tide we looked for bonefish, but found none. Once the water began to move, we returned to the permit flats for a second look. At our first spot we found none, then blew one out with the boat at the next flat. I had a great shot at what I thought was a small permit near the bottom; it turned out to be a vicious bonnethead shark that was brought on board fora visit and a release.
John soon spotted a pair of tailing fish, and my first cast was a little too far away. The fish split as I picked up to cast again–one stayed in his lane and the other peeled off from his buddy and headed at the boat. I wanted to cast at the unmoved (and perhaps more relaxed) fish, but doing so would potentially line and spook the other; my brain couldn’t decide what to tell my hands, and as a result the cast landed in between them both. This didn’t work out, and they quickly blew out.
After another few hours of painfully slow permit fishing, we discussed leaving the permit pursuit for a tarpon try…we decided in for a dime, in for another few hours of beating our heads against the same wall.
John took us to another flat not far away; here, it seemed, were all the permit. Our first cast landed just up current and in the middle of a school–three of the fish in the group chased and flashed on the fly. As the last one came half out of the water and turned on its side I set the hook, thinking that it must have eaten the fly. I never came tight. Permit fishing is great (add sarcastic emoticon).
We remained in the same area for an hour and a half, during which time we had around 15 shots at fish. None of them, however, acted as right as the first group we’d thrown at and we soon left for one last try before calling it.
We had one shot at a group of fish in our final stop, but the first cast landed short and the school disappeared when I picked up to re-cast. Such is life.
Thanks as always to John for a fantastic day on the water, and for putting up with some less than stellar angling from me.
Tomorrow I prefish with Aaron, then three more days of permit fishing for the Del. My forehead and the brick permit-wall are going to get acquainted, that’s a guarantee.