Last Sunday I had the pleasure of fishing with Captain Bryan “Bear” Holeman and Kathryn Vallilee, who works in the shop. Our target was shark, specifically, to let Kathryn get an idea of fighting big animals with a fly rod. If you read these reports you know that sharks feature often and are one of our favorite targets on a fly rod in the Keys. We left at 9 AM into a stiff wind, in search of the teeth.
Our first stop only brought in a single large bull shark that refused to approach the boat. We waited through its zigs and zags for a half hour before calling the spot over and looking elsewhere for lemons.
Our next stop, a flat adjacent to some deeper water, produced some immediate company: a brace of lemon sharks, willing at least to inspect the slick. Within 30 minutes another half dozen arrived: all large, all interested, but not quite yet in the necessary mindset to accommodate our fly rod wishes. Soon, Kathryn hooked one and broke it off on the hookset. While slightly bothered the shark returned, fly planted firmly in the corner of its mouth, content to glide around our slick and eat the bait pieces we pitched. Soon, another fish was hooked and broken off: we were, it seems, using some defective monofilament. We changed our leader material, and within an hour Kathryn had hooked another shark, this one firmly in the pectoral fin. No matter, we boated and released the large fish anyway.
I caught one next–a smaller shark that didn’t take well to the whole program, promptly biting a hole in Kathryn’s bag to show its dissatisfaction. Kathryn hooked one more fish that broke off in the wire leader before we ran out of chum and headed home.
Thanks of course to Bryan Holeman for an incredible day of fishing, and congratulations to Kathryn for catching her first shark on a fly rod.
Monday and Tuesday I’m scheduled to fish with Aaron, and on Thursday and Friday I’m headed out with Doug Kilpatrick. Dave Dalu will join Doug and I on Friday; reports to follow.