Following the day on the water with Will Benson and Steve Trippe, I had two days booked with Simon Becker. The first day I fished alone, and the second I was joined by Kat. Here’s what all happened on the water.
I met Simon early, for the purpose of getting in to an early bit of action. We found fish, but no action; the few casts we were able to get in front of fish were summarily dismissed and we went through the area until Simon called a move and we headed elsewhere. There, we switched it up and looked for permit. Despite relatively perfect conditions and current, we never saw one and left for a new area. I had a shot at a barracuda, which tracked the fly hard before falling off. Again we saw perfect conditions and low numbers of fish.
The permit fishing continued at the next stop, and with the onslaught of clouds we were unable to see them in time enough to present a fly. A single fish spooked from our shadow, and then as we moved down the edge the bottom moved: in slightly deeper water, we had poled over a large group of permit and had no way of stopping before they bolted. We took note to look here the next day, when we’d have an idea of where they would be more specifically.
In the mid afternoon, Simon found a group of tarpon worthy of the morning’s efforts: for the next few hours, we had shots at fish idling past us, and in three hours were able to get five bites from tarpon, all large. Four of them stayed connected, one fell victim to a missed hook set. We headed home after the fish stopped swimming, five tarpon bites in the bank.
The day began early once again, and this time we had a secret weapon: Kat, who was prepared to unleash her skills on the resident tarpon population. It didn’t take long: after our first stop that was again devoid of scales, Kat remained on the bow for the beginning of spot number two. There, she had three shots at laid up fish before connecting to one, albeit briefly, on a beautiful close to the boat bite. The fish turned and ran away, immediately breaking off due to a high-pressure hook set from Kat.
I was up next, and had a nice shot at a single laid up fish that worked out as much as we could have hoped for. The medium sized fish, which we estimated at 65 pounds, ate the fly and took to the air for a nice air show. Simon poled after it, but the fish’s heart wasn’t in the fight and we soon had it by the boat. Kat grabbed the jaw of the fish and held it to take the fly out, and when she let go the fish kicked off strong.
At our next stop, we pushed down an edge that was again ripe with targets. Soon, Kat had a string of fish pass by the bow and threw a perfect cast to the midle of the group. A fish tracked the fly, elevated, and another close to the boat bite ensued. Her hook set was once again a little over enthusiastic, and the fish again was lost to a busted tippet near the boat. I got back up for my turn, and soon Simon spotted another fish; this time laid up. I had a decent shot at the fish, but the animal turned its nose away from us and didn’t exhibit anything close to interest. I had a few more shots, one of which looked as though it should definitely work but didn’t, and we headed on our way.
We bumped along through the day; we had a few more shots at tarpon in the morning, and I caught a jack off the back of a bull shark.
Simon soon had us at the site of yesterday’s permit extravaganza, and Kat stepped up to the bow for a shot at the tails. Unbelievably, we saw zero permit; given the number that had been there the day before, we were a bit disappointed by this. Simon brought us to two more places in search of tarpon: at the first, I had a shot at a pair of laid up fish that ducked the fly. At the second, we found a great number of fish and so began our second drying cycle. Kat hooked one, I hooked one, she hooked another, and I finished off with a last and final fish for a total of nine bites.
One of the bites I had didn’t work, but the others were all broken off close to the boat to prevent a time-drain on our fishing. Kat broke hers off, and while we thought about landing the final fish we didn’t make it past 20 minutes before it broke off.
I’d like to thank Simon for another amazing few days on the water, and it would be unfair if I didn’t mention what Simon and Bill Strowe did a few days later:
After a great many years of trying, Bill Strowe and Simon Becker captured the 100th permit for the latter. Hats off, as always.
I have one more report to upload to get current: the day before yesterday, I fished with Drew Delashmit as the guest of Howard Davis. Tomorrow with Kat and Jared Raskob, more to come as always.