Friday was the Superfly, and I again fished it with Aaron Snell. It’s been a while since I fished with Aaron, and it was great to get on the water with him. We did not have an opportunity to prefish the day before the event, as we are currently without a shop manager (if anyone wants a job, send us an email!) so we simply showed up in the morning and gave it a shot.
The weather was pretty awful, and we made a stop to find a baby tarpon in a place that’s often produced for us in this tournament. After all the weight tournaments in which we hope to find the big ones, it was nice to rig up some 12 pound and a nine weight and hope for a small fish to play with. We fished for an hour before moving on, finding nothing before making a run to a faraway land in search of a tarpon to start the scorecard with. Finding nothing at our first stop we moved again, and Aaron soon had us in a place that held a few tarpon. We had a passing shot at a single in the glare, though with the cloud cover and dirty water we had to hope for some luck to get a shot. Finally, we saw a larger tarpon in the water swimming away from us, and took a cast over its back in hopes of getting lucky. The fish spun around and tracked the fly, gobbling the little diablo and making a hard turn as we set the hook. Instead of the smaller fish that we’d been hoping for, this fish was of decent size (60 pounds) and took off for some deep water as we gave chase. We fought the fish for a half hour, getting the leader touch early on but hoping for a face grab. I had the fish floated a few times, though Aaron was unable to latch on before things went haywire. A hammerhead shark took an interest in our prize and we chased it away as best we could. After a long run we decided to pop or stop the situation, and in so doing broke the 12 pound and let the fish swim off. We hung around for a few minutes to give the hammerhead some confusion if need be, but soon took off for another place. Our thinking was that it was attempt the slam or nothing, and figured that the best thing to do would be searching for a permit. The bonefish, which had been around in great supply, would likely find us in the course of our permit pursuit.
We started off in the permit hunt with a great shot at a single tailing fish, and despite a decent reaction were unable to convert the interest to a bite. We blew out another school of permit that, while too close for a shot, was enough to give us hope that we might get one. We hooked a bonefish out of a small group before going around to do the same area a second time. As soon as we started down the bank for our second pass we spotted a bonefish, which quickly bit the fly on a fast shot. We brought the fish to the boat and measured it, finding it just over the 18-inch minimum and giving us our second species of the three. We saw more bonefish in the next hour, but were plagued by cloud glare and never got a shot in front of them.
With two species down we ran to another permit location, making every effort we could to focus on getting a slam. We found a few fish, but by this point the clouds had arrived overhead. We hooked another few bonefish, even getting one next to the boat before the hook came out, but were unable to put another one on the board to add to our score. Mostly, we tried to find a permit. This didn’t work, sadly, and we ran out the clock looking for the final piece to the slam.
At the dock, we found we were the only team to catch two species. In this event number of species trumps total points, so it was good enough for the win. Of note was Brandon Cyr in second place, who had five bonefish on his scorecard and told me that they’d lost a number of tarpon in the course of looking for the leader touch.
This afternoon I’m headed out for a few hours with John O’Hearn and Ian Slater, and I think the plan is to throw 2 pound at permit. I’m sure there will be something to report, but tomorrow morning Kat and I leave early for Belize to fish with Eworth Garbutt for six days so I won’t be able to upload any reports until I get back.
Stay tuned after the 21 of this month for a report of our light line pursuit and six days of permit fishing in Belize.
More to come,