Yesterday was thanksgiving, and as I had the day off and no plans until 4 Ian and I hatched a plan to get out on the water for the first part of the day. We started off by looking for permit, though in short order it became clear that this was not meant to be. The wind was blowing hard, and as we struggled to find some permit haunts that looked even remotely viable it took us a short hour to accept that we needed to be barking up a different tree.
We had brought, for just this occasion, a few barracuda rods. As soon as we made the mental shift to long casts and fast retrieves instead of hopeless staring, we were a lot more relaxd. The water was just on the edge of being completely mudded out from the wind, and despite our best efforts for the first few hours of water wolf hunting we were without a single shot. We bumped around from spot to spot, until finally I saw what I thought might be a barracuda sitting on the bottom of a small basin. I pointed it out to Ian, who was at first uncertain but soon told me that it was for sure a fish. This was the opposite of my reaction, which was initially to be convinced and then later to be less and less swayed. By the time he told me to cast, I was sure that this fish was a rock. As I started to cast it was apparent that what I was looking at was in fact a rock, though ten feet to its left was, unquestionably, a barracuda that Ian had been staring at for some time now.
My cast landed behind the fish and I had no choice but to strip it. Despite the awful initial placement, the fish elevated on the fly and tracked hard. Near the boat the fish gave it a hard try, though in its exuberance missed the hooks. We had another shot at the fish going away, and then it was gone–our only opportunity of a hard morning of wishing for teeth.
Soon, we spotted another pair of grey smudges on the flat, headed our way. Unfortunately these were in the same direction the wind was coming from, making the cast all but impossible. I flailed a cast in their direction, though the wind put a stop to those efforts quick. Again I flailed as the fish got closer, and while the leader landed in a pile short of the fish it was enough to get some attention. The fish tracked the fly and overtook the gap in no time, and we got a great bite from a large barracuda. We fought the fish through a knot in the fly line, and as soon as that was clear we were on easy footing. Ian soon grabbed the fish and passed it off for pictures, an over-40 inch fish that weighed near 15 pounds:
After that, we continued on in the spot and hoped for more targets. There were none, and we soon made a move toward dinner. We bumped around to a few more places on our way home and had a single shot at a large fish that didn’t work out before we finished our fishing.
I’d like to thank Ian Slater for another day on the water that ended in success, and I’m looking forward to more.
Next week I’m going to get out with John O’Hearn for a day, and hopefully catch a permit to finish out the year before I head to the Everglades for another assault on the 6 with Steve Huff and Jason Schratwieser.
More to come,