Following the two days with Steve Huff, I got in the car and headed home to Key West to fish a day with Steve Trippe and Captain Will Benson. As part of a team, I was looking to contribute to the scorecard that Kat had started the day before. In a tournament in which the score is based on a metric including bites, jumps, and leader releasing a fish (I’m still not entirely sure exactly how the scoring works…) she had a strong showing on the first day.
I fished on Friday with Steve Trippe, and we were guided by Will Benson. It’s been a while since I’ve fished with Will, and I was looking forward to spending some time on the water with him.
We started near Key West, and worked our way through a long bank for a few shots until Will decided to pick up and run elsewhere. Here, while we waited on the tide, we saw a few fish that Steve had a good shot at. Another shot followed, and then another. In short order we were in the middle of some pretty consistent action, and Steve and I traded off the bow. I had two shots at a large group of fish: the first was bitten by a smaller fish that didn’t stay connected. The second, on the now quicker moving school, elicited a bite from a larger fish and this time we were able to get the hook buried. After a few jumps and starting up the motor on account of a nearby bull shark, we had the big fish near floated next to the boat. Since the points structure dictated at this point that the fish would count for more if I broke it off than if I brought it to hand, I broke the fish off and headed off the bow to give Steve his shot.
Steve had a near-bite from a fish from a school, then another hard bite that never caused a hook up. I was up next, and hooked a large barracuda that I thought was a tarpon when I first saw it in the water. A shot at a small school of permit followed, and while we put the fly there they never gave us a bite.
A few more shots at a few more spots followed, and when we went in my score was added to Kathryn’s from the day before.
Our final scoresheet addition came from Sean Morton, who caught his first tarpon ever (that’s right) on the third and final day of the tournament. Our collective effort was good enough for second place, and we all had a hand in it.
The following Sunday and Monday I fished with Simon Becker, and a report will follow with the results from those days.
Here’s some fish pictures from Aaron as promised. More to come.