(UPDATE – May-June 2013, I fished Biscayne Bay and the Keys… mostly for Tarpon. I did manage to land one small bonefish and got shots at two others on foot. I’m less intimidated and can’t wait to go back.)
As a kid growing up in a small mountain town in Northern California (the State of Jefferson, as it is called by some), I wanted to be Mel Fisher. This seemed a rather dreamy prospect… we had rivers but no oceans, a gold rush past, but no sunken Spanish treasure. My family drove from Dunsmuir to Key West (that’s about 3,500 miles) one summer and I went to the Mel Fisher Museum and got to touch a Spanish gold bar. At the aquarium in Key West I had a horse shoe crab put on my head. I was about 10 and this was simply awesome.
Today, I live in a different small Northern CA town with a history of Gold (Sutter’s Mill is about 20 minutes away). I am still haunted by Florida, but now the object of my desire is the Grey Ghost, the bonefish.
Florida intimidates me when it comes to bonefish. I’ve talked to too many folks who have gone for glory and produced goose eggs. Days without even seeing a bonefish have been recounted. Stories like this one from Florida Fly Fishing Magazine, make it all seem like a pursuit for only the top tier, the elite. I just want to have a good day on the water. I’m devoid of the need to prove myself as some expert bonefish master I know I’m not.
I’m absolutely positive that more than one horrible angler has caught a bonefish in Florida, but it does not sound like a common occurrence. Maybe some day I will have caught enough “dumb” bonefish and I’ll get off the plane in Miami and exit the airport instead of flying on to the Bahamas.
I’d love to hear your words of either encouragement or discouragement. What’s your Florida experience been?