Wednesday I fished with Captain Lenny Leonard and my mother, Vicky. We intended to fish for sharks, and though we started by tarpon fishing we only saw a few fish in a channel and never really got a shot. In an hour, we were heading west to deploy a bonita and try our luck at shark fishing.
I was up first, and in a short time there was a large group of lemon sharks circling the boat, eating our chunks. I caught a jack off the back of a passing ray, and it was also dispatched into our slick to draw the sharks into fly rod range. I hooked one and broke it off, and then Vicky was up. With a little coaching, she hooked a 40 pounder and it was neatly fought to the boat for release and photographs.
After this we returned to the slick, where the sharks appeared on average larger than before. Within a half hour I fooled a large fish with a chunk fly, and we pulled the stake to give chase.
The fish was relatively green when Lenny put the tail rope on it to control it so we could take pictures and remove the fly. As he stood up he put his right hand on the gunwhale, and the shark spun around and bit the boat, squarely around his forefinger. I must admit that I had a moment where I saw the fish bite the boat but couldn’t figure out what had happened–as soon as I did, and once I established that we didn’t need to bring the shark with us to retrieve Lenny’s finger, I broke the fish off, covered up the wound, and drove back to the dock where an ambulance met us.
Lenny was brought to the hospital in Key West, and quickly transferred to a hand surgeon in Miami, who finished work on him yesterday morning.
On a personal note, I’d like to wish my great friend Lenny Leonard a speedy recovery. He is a champion and I’m sure he will be just fine. If you want to wish him well his phone number is 305.304.0154
The day after this, I was scheduled to fish with Captain Sandy Horn and our good friend (and all around awesome dude) Howard “Great White” Davis. We left at 8, and had a few passing shots at fish in short order. Despite the wind (and a blatant cutting off from another boat, which I need not go into here as I believe in handling these things privately), we were able to have some decent fishing, though a bite eluded us. We continued fishing for almost nine hours, and while we hooked none we had a great time nonetheless.
On a side note, Captain Sandy Horn stuck through some quite difficult conditions to give us what shots we had–a great reason to respect the local guide population.
I’m fishing Sunday with Chris McCreedy, a report will follow.