"fishing with Bill"
It has been great to be back out on the water again after all the cold weather we have had this winter. I have been chasing Redfish around Boca Grande and Pine Island Sound and also taking trips into the ENP out of Everglades City. I was pumped to see what we could find after the last few calm and warm days. It was a full moon and I was optimistic about finding some Slob Snuke, but did not think it was quite time for the Tarpon yet. I arrived to the first spot yesterday morning in the park and the tide was so ridiculously low that there was no water to found, nothing but mud on the flats. While this is a real pain in the ass if you are looking to fish these flats it sure is cool to watch the fish and the water move off the flats, because patterns emerge that show anglers where the fish will hold and all of the bottom structure. In years past I have found new areas where the fish will first move on, as the water returns. It is much like a small river or stream that works it way through the deeper cracks on the mud flats. In some cases, these are the same places where the fish will hold and feed throughout the entire tide, especially if the tide flow in these areas continues to be the strongest. As in many cases the fishing on the moon tides is best during the two hours when the water is really cranking in, deep in the backcountry at this time of year and once it gets dirty and deep it is game over and time to move on. Yesterday we set up looking for Snook and Reds. I am poling the boat and seeing nothing. I am looking, looking, looking and then I realize the water temps are already 70.2. Huh, so I slide the boat towards the next area thinking maybe the Tarpon will be here ? Sure enough I shut down and the Tarpon are rolling all happy (now this next part of the story really ****es me off). I was talking to Bill about the first cast and how the fish is going to clobber the fly, I even bring the boat to rest so that I do not need to hold the bottom with the push pole. From experience I know that we are about to hook up and still I do not grab the stupid video camera. Perhaps I am completely brain dead or just can not get the hang of this video thing, but I quietly stand there with nothing to do and do not get the brand new mini hd video camera that I purchased for just such an event. BAD FISHING GUIDE ! Bill lays out a perfect cast and after the first strip of the fly, a Tarpon around 36-40" nails the thing and it completely airborne in a blink. I told Bill that if he could hook up with and land the first bite of the day, that I would pay for the parking at the boat ramp. I also told him that if the fish took the fly and got away, then he had to pay for the parking. This is a fun little game because I know almost everyone misses the first strike, and free parking for me if awesome ! Well woudn't ya know, the 69 year of bugger and his perfect cast we followed by a perfect hook set and that fish was ON. It took 9 leaps on the end of that 8 weight fly rod and on of the jumps was sky high. I almost fell off the poling platform laughing. Bill was standing on the forward casting platform which is raised approx 8' off the water. He was holding the fly rod out towards the horizon as he tried to keep tight to the Tarpon and it jumped straight up in the air (10' in front of the boat) and leaped over his rod, looked at him face to face, and gave a little wag to his tail as he headed back towards the water. It was a moment that really would have been cool to catch on video. Oh well... We landed a couple Tarpon, saw some big Tarpon, and never found the Snook and Reds ?