Night Fishing Adventure, Yesterday with John Benvenuto

Night Fishing Adventure, Yesterday with John Benvenuto

Since the Gold Cup, I’ve been recuperating and hadn’t planned much fishing. That said, and in an effort to get these pages back on track, I have a few fishing excursions to report.

The first was an evening trip with some new friends. I had given Josh a casting lesson earlier in the day, and given his ability to fish in places I usually can’t we scheduled an evening trip to some dock lights that are ordinarily unfishable for a civilian like myself. At 10:30, Kat and I met up with Josh and his friend and we were escorted to where we would spend the evening fishing.

As a night fisherman for nearly my entire life, it’s a special kind of pleasure to fish somewhere new. Given that over the years I have spent probably hundreds of hours more than I can count chasing shadows in dock lights, new real estate is increasingly difficult to find. Add to that the fact that there were many small tarpon skating around, and the effect was a seat in a room built just for me.

Kat stayed on her own, and while I did not see it I heard from her that she had received a bite–no surprise, given the amount of PM ponning she has done in the last year and a half. Josh and I walked down the shadow line, getting shot after shot at the pons but not receiving any love. As we walked farther down the edge we switched, now it was my turn with the rod to try to force an error from the non-compliant scales. After a few tarpon shots I saw three fish swimming up the color change, and they looked different. At first I assummed they were tarpon, an honest mistake given the number of tarpon around. Soon I realized they were not, and the next most likely thing was thrown out: not jacks. Neither were they the next most likely candidate, snook. Briefly I thought them cobia, until a tail cut the glare and I could see the lips clearly: three permit, swimming into the current. I probably don’t need to point out to the readership of these reports how awesome it is to find wildcards when night fishing. I certainly don’t need to mention that simply seeing a permit would be a big deal. Getting shots at three was incredible, and as they swam off I was happy just to have seen them, though still burning slightly for not getting a bite. On the last shot one turned at the fly, though it didn’t eat.

As we returned to where we saw them first they met us again, and this time one shot and a slow strip garnered a perfect bite from the largest of the trio: the fish pointed at me and tracked the fly, its tail shuddering out of the water when the lips engulfed the tarpon fly. Unbelieveable. I cleared the line and fought the fish, increasingly sure that this was actually going to happen. I even passed my pocket contents to Kathryn in anticipation of getting in the water to clear an obstruction if the need arose.

After ten minutes and two long runs, the slack was delivered. I was dejected: after a tough Gold Cup, a permit from the docklights would have gone a long way toward reparing my ego. Reeling up, I saw the one thing that I thought was the least likely caused the loss of this particular fish: the fly had simply pulled loose. I wish I could say I was happy enough with simply hooking a large permit from shore with my fly pole. As it was, I was bummed (and continue to be) after losing what may be the only permit I’ll ever hook from the dock lights. So it goes, though the tarpon I caught soon thereafter seemed less exciting after the loss of the lips. I hope to one day recover.

In other news, yesterday I had a casual afternoon fish with John Benvenuto. We stayed nearby and fished from noon until 6, seeing many fish but not getting many great shots due to the glare. John did hook a good fish from a large group, and I had a few shots before we called it a day.

Here are some pictures from Aaron Snell, with whom I’m fishing in two weeks for the Del Brown:

More to come.


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Nathaniel Linville

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