Yesterday I fished with Kathryn and Simon Becker. We didn’t have a plan in place to target permit or tarpon specifically, which is a good thing: as it turned out, we would do a bit of both.

We started off after a short run looking for tarpon, and it didn’t take long for Simon to find them. Kathryn and I traded shots, each hooking a couple. I fought two fish on a few bites near the boat, ending the fight early so as to preserve our fishing. Kat had the same, and when the fishing dried up it did so in an unusual way: the tarpon remained but became hard to get near, and on a nearby flat we saw a few permit tails that we couldn’t help but be interested in. I hopped out of the boat to chase the permit, and Kat stayed with Simon to pursue the pons.

In an hour, I never saw another tail but kept a hard look out as I ambled down the bank. Kat and Simon looked to be closing in on rolling tarpon, though they never made a cast or jumped a fish. The tails and rolls had dragged us in, and we were each similarly struck down.

After leaving this spot, we went to a faraway bank to look for permit. Upon our arrival we saw enough fish quivering down the bank that we felt it would be a good idea to get out and wade after them, though in an hour and a half of walking we only saw a pair of fish to throw at that were far from interested in what we had to offer.

With that, Simon decided to make a move towards tarpon. On the way to this destination, however, we noticed that the spot had become overrun with rain and lightning and decided to turn back and make a final stand on a permit flat. Kat had a couple shots at schools, and then we spotted a tailing fish high up on the bank that I went after on foot. This fish I never saw until it was too late, and I remained in the water by myself, bumbling around and hoping to get lucky.

Kat and Simon threw at a few fish, and I saw a single in the water that spooked off on a too-close cast. I continued on my way, and soon saw another fish in the water. Not tailing, just slowly swimming in about 3 feet of water, the fish angled away from me towards the shallow bank and I put a cast 20 feet in front of it to get the light tailing depth fly down to snout level. I watched the fish reach the fly, turn, and rip forwards and eat it with a hard tail shake on the surface. I set the hook, and while it took the fish a few moments to figure out what was going on it soon enough tore off the flat and I gave chase.

Initially, I thought I would attempt a full wade capture, but after the second run and tiring myself out running in the water I gave up and got in the boat. It didn’t take long before Simon poled us down to the fish and netted it. Honestly, I was pretty amazed with how big the fish was (my biggest wading), and really happy with the capture. Here’s what it looked like:

27# wading, (48) 27# wading, front view

 

After that there wasn’t much more to do except give Kat and opportunity to get one as well. She gave it a solid effort there and in a final spot, where the closest she came was a perfect cast that was instead eaten by a nearby yellow jack.

After a frustrating hour or two, we packed it in an decided to head home.

 

I’d like to thank Simon and Kathryn for another epic day on the water, and tomorrow I’m with John and Ted.

 

More to come, Gold Cup prefishing starts Friday. A report of the tournament will be up after the smoke clears.

 

Regards,

 

nathaniel