It’s been a long break on these reports, since I haven’t been fishing. Also there has been a refractory period after the big battle with Steve a few weeks ago.
The last three days I was scheduled to fish the Cuda Bowl with Aaron Snell–our third year in the tournament. The first day, our prefish day, was instead spent sanding Aaron’s skiff rebuild project since it was windy and cold.
Day one of the tournament was also windy and cold. We left late, and decided to fish until the 5:30 check-in time. Early on I fed a large fish that was near the boat, but never got the hook in him. Later, we caught a 34 inch fish, and soon thereafter a 36. While we saw a fair amount of fish (and some of them were quite large), we were only able to get a small one to bite later in the day that came unbuttoned near the boat.
Day 2 was leaner, though the wind had died off and there was no cloud cover to contend with. After fishing 3 or four spots Aaron took us to a nice little corner that had all sorts of activity: sharks, rays, and even a school of bonefish (!) all told us we were in the right area. In short order we had a few shots at barracuda, and hooked one that turned out to be 36 inches–not huge, but a scoring fish and one for which we were very grateful given the slim pickings. As I unhooked the fish and set about tying a new wire leader and class tippet, Aaron saw another fish approaching the boat. I hadn’t yet clipped the old fly off. A quick strip-off and cast, a few strips, and we were tight to a 37.5 inch fish that gave a great account of itself.
The rest of the day was harder, and we fished plenty of flats that held nothing. We went to some large table top flats that yielded no barracuda. We did, however, see a sting ray that had been turned upside down and couldn’t seem to right itself–strange times indeed.
After re-aligning the sting ray, we began to see a few barracuda on the next flat. I had a couple of good shots, and missed a bite from a nice fish. Soon, I had a good shot at a couple of fish and hooked one. Aaron told me that there was another big one nearby, and while I was fighting the small fish I saw the fish he was talking about. I landed the fish, Aaron pulled the fly out, and I stripped off some line and cast at the other fish. Again, we hooked a fish with another in the boat–beyond lucky, to be sure. That fish was 42 inches even, enough to secure us the largest fish on fly. The others together added up to a win in the fly division–an awesome two days of tough fishing that I owe to Aaron Snell and his mad skills on the platform.
Grand champion in the spin division went to Captain Justin Rea and LG, and the largest barracuda on sin went to Captain Michael Pollack and his angler Tom del Bosque for a monster 46.5 inch fish.
First Runner Up Angler Spin Division
Total releases: 10
Total Inches: 223.00
Guide: Capt. Bo Sellers of Summerland Key, FL
First Runner Up Fly Division
Round Hill, VA
Total releases: 4
Total Inches: 163.50
Guide: Capt. Peter Heydon of Key West, FL
The Angling Company would like to thank Justin Rea and Loren Rea for another great year of this tournament, as well as Kapusta Reels for the sweet new fly reel that’s about to get some serious use!
Tomorrow I’m offshore with Fitz and RT, the next day also. Reports to follow.