On Tuesday I fished with John O’Hearn. In the week leading up to the March Merkin, it was the only day we had on the books.
With the wind blowing near 30, we left the barracuda rods at home for a grind at permit. We started in places familiar to us, and found mostly wind instead of permit. In the first hour we had a shot at a large single fish that picked up a smaller friend, and while the first fish never turned on the fly the second one eventually turned towards it on the only cast we could get nearby in the wind. We both felt as though the fish might take the relationship to the next level, but instead the permit blew out and we were forced to fix the fly line that had become suddenly enamored with the trim tabs. Sadness.
We picked around for better shots and opportunities, finding very few places that looked fishable in the wind and increasingly murky water. John made a long pole down a bank that looked perfect, then took us to another area that he hoped would have a permit to throw at. Here, in the midday shine, we found three shots. The first was at a fish heading our way, and while the first cast was blown far off course by the wind the second toss made it to the hoop. The fish dipped hard on the fly, and each time I stripped the fish wiggled after it. We stripped the fly four or five times, thinking we would come tight every time. The fish tracked the fly, head down, all the way to the boat before it took off and left us without anything to show for the interaction. We were buoyed by this event, however, and we both felt confident that if we were to get another clean shot we could reasonably expect good things to happen. The next shot happened not too long after the last one, and this time the fish whipped behind the fly with even more apparent intent. The fish looked hard at the fly, and even shook a little bit. I stripped to come tight and felt nothing, and we both watched the fish zig around the fly and follow it on the strip towards the boat. Again, the fish tracked our offering to the boat for nearly 30 feet before seeing us and fleeing.
Soon, we had another shot at a single fish. We thought that this may have been one of the same fish we just threw at, which was the only way we could make sense of the complete disinterest in the fly that we got in front of it.
After lunch, we continued to look for fish. John found a small group of permit that drew us downwind after them, and while we had a half-shot in their direction the fish were soon overcome by the boat and (immediately thereafter) fear of the same.
We fished hard, and both felt as though we had put a good effort forward despite not getting a fish on.
I’m headed out food fishing with Fitz and Kat on Saturday, and then Monday I fish with John. The tournament proper starts on Tuesday. A report and results will follow.