After the days with Steve, I fished with John O’Hearn as a guest of Ted Margo. We had a great time, and while it took us a few hours to locate the lips we eventually finished the day with a few shots. It’s worth mentioning that Ted Margo made a few of the best casts I’ve seen the man make, and I can’ wait for him to start fishing tournaments in the coming years.
Following this, I had two days booked with John O’Hearn. Even though we both wanted (perhaps desperately) to fish for tarpon, given that we are fishing in the Merkin in a month’s time we elected to permit fish. Buoyed by (or perhaps jealous of) Captain Drew Delashmit’s three on fly the day before we set forth for the rubber.
It took us four hours without a single shot before John located a large congregation of permit, deep in crab worship. I had maybe a dozen shots before connecting to a single tailing fish, and in a few short minutes we had sealed the deal. John took the following photo to document our first permit capture of 2014.
After this, we had a fair amount of time remaining to try again. In 45 minutes, a single fish swam through a sand hole and fell for our crab peddling. After a harrowing battle over a shallow bar four times, John grabbed the tail of the second permit. It’s worth mentioning that I was incredibly happy to have caught two permit on fly in a single day, something that I had never done. John again snapped a few photos of the capture, and we went on to try for a third.
The fish were there until we left, and though we had a few more great opportunities we were unable to make a three fish day. That said we were glad, especially since if we hadn’t caught any the tarpon we weren’t fishing for would have been that much more difficult to think about.
The second day we fished a different area, and at the first stop I took a cast to stack my line and saw further down the bar a giant tail pluck out of the water. We took a shot at this fish, though in typical form the giant spooked off the flat when the fly landed. In short order I was out of the boat, wading towards two pairs of tails. I had a number of good casts at the fish, especially the second pair, though none wanted to bite. We left for a nearby bar, where we had two shots but did not come tight. At the next stop, the boat lost John when a passing wake nearly swamped us. I stayed on the boat, and thankfully the only casualty of this particular mishap was John’s phone.
We bumped along, having shots here and there along the way, but were unable to catch another permit before we called it a day. I’d like to thank John for putting up with the permit fishing we need to do in preparation for the Merkin, and I have another two days with him at the end of next week before the Lower Keys Guides Association General Membership Meeting (Sugarloaf Lodge, next friday!). Reports will follow.