We left off with the days with Simon last week, and we’ve added two days in the interim: a day with Drew Delashmit and Howard Davis, and a day yesterday where I fished as a guest of Kat fishing with Jared Raskob.
In order, here’s what all happened:
Every year I have the pleasure of joining Howard Davis for a day or two of fishing, most often with Drew Delashmit. This year we were only able to make a single day happen, given the insanity of my April schedule. Howard picked me up at 7:15, and we headed to the dock to meet Drew.
After a short run, Drew had us in a great situation: a large number of tarpon, rolling slowly in the early morning calm. Graciously, Howard offered me first shot and I gladly accepted the opportunity to address the bobbing scales. I had three shots, the third of which worked out smashingly: a medium-sized fish lined up on the fly and took a nibble. I set the hook, and given the upcoming Goldenfly tournament took a crack at landing the fish that we agreed was on the edge of weight-fish status. Near the end of the fight, however, a straightened hook kept us from the grab.
Howard was up next, and while we continued seeing the fish we were not able to get a great shot at them in the glare. We continued up the bank, and there saw a higher concentration of tarpon. Howard soon had an opportunity to make good on his promise of a show, and deftly fed a hundred-pounder that promptly took to the air. He fought it for 20 minutes, gaining the leader release before breaking the monster off.
With that, we headed elsewhere for shot at different creatures. We found action but less than we’d hoped for, and over the course of the next few hours I was able only to get two bites from a singe fish. Neither of these bites caused the tension I desired, though both were great to watch and fun to cause. Howard had a beautiful close bite from a deep fish, and while he was a little over-eager with the hookset it was once again a brilliant show of bitesmanship by the tarpon.
Drew had one more stop on the agenda, and when we pulled in to his destination the fish were already passing by. Drew pushed hard to keep up with the traveling school, and though we came close we never had a casting angle. As Drew repositioned us, we saw another incoming group of fish on the bank. I had three shots at this group, and while I would ordinarily call our angle near-perfect the other participants disagreed and we came up empty. I had a final shot, just as we were trading places and saw a group of fish coming from the glare. I got another three casts into this school, and on each presentation we had a member of the group turn and track the fly before losing interest.
Howard finished our day with a great account of himself on another long line of targets, and once again without a bite we headed home.
Yesterday, I fished with Captain Jared Raskob as Kat’s guest in Islamorada. We started as early as we could given that we were driving from Key West, and set our sights on tarpon.
At our first stop we saw fish right away. Kat was up first and hooked a fish on her first cast that didn’t stay connected. I was up next, and after a few shots that were far from perfect was able to connect on a long going-away shot thanks to Jared’s guidance in the glare. This fish we hooked well, and after clearing the line and surviving a few jumps I was prepared to take it to the boat. This plan was foiled by the hook falling out after a third jump, and I ceded the bow again to Kathryn.
While we had been fishing, so too had the other boats arrived. Specifically, we were pinched by a certain individual that obviously didn’t care where anyone else was. While I ordinarily don’t get in to etiquette discussions in these reports (I try to deal with that stuff privately), I have no doubt that Jared was correct in standing up for himself and can easily classify the behavior of the other guy as miles away from classy. Jared said his piece and we moved on, leaving the fishing to the other guy who obviously needed it more than we did.
At our next stop I had a bite from a smaller fish that again cleared the line before falling off, and I needed to remind myself that despite the recent increase in my hooksets leading to boated or broken off fish the statistics were still in our favor, simply correcting.
We fished hard at two more spots, and in each we had a few shots but in neither were we able to make a fourth bite happen.
Tomorrow I’m scheduled to join Ted Margo and John O’Hearn, and the forecast is calling for west winds near 30. I’ll report back and let you how we do.