Day four saw Davin and I deciding to camp out in Tav and just wait it out. If you are trying to move around to find a fish that moves around, you stand some chance of missing the fish every time. If you wait, so the thinking went, the fish will have to come to you.
It was a good theory.
The weather was grey, the water was hard to see anything in, the wind was up. In short, not ideal.
This proved to be the closest I would get to my oceanside tarpon. Davin, it turns out, sold his soul (at least a part of his soul at any rate) to gypsies in return for super-human vision. He was calling out fish for me on a day when I couldn’t see a damn thing. He must have seen 100 fish that day, I saw about 8. I was making casts to fish I couldn’t see, but Davin and I were working like a team and we were working well.
Three follows. That was the grand tally for the day.
“Tarpon fishing is a game of incremental victories,” said Davin, and that is certainly true. The fish you see. The fish you cast at. The fish that follow. The fish you get to eat. The fish you jump. The fish you land and release. On a bad day you count it all. On a good day? I’ll let you know when I have one.
At one point we got chased off the water by a wall of watery darkness, managing to run under the protection of Nate’s awning just as the squall hit. We went back out, but the tides had changed the fish stopped moving (or moved further out where not even Davin’s gypsy purchased vision could find them).
Davin got to cast for about 5 minutes and had one shot in that time. He let me stand up there for hours, willing me to connect, but the fishing gods had other plans. Either that or this was the fishing gods’ plan and they are a bunch of jerks.
Another day, another smack down, but a good day on the water. I felt like at least I was in the game and that was more than I had felt the previous few days. Funny how I could feel mostly content on a day when I didn’t touch a single fish, but I did feel content. I took the small victories and was happy with them.
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Tags: Davin, Flatswalker, Florida, getting skunked, Tarpon
Love Windknot’s artistic perpective on tarpon fishing. I felt it too on my one trip to Pine Island, FL a few years ago: my similar experience: dozens of fish rolling, 8 jumps, 3 briefly on, one boated! I also agree with your progressive dialing in of your fish spotting eyes and your ready position and casting. Next time you’ll have the boating parts. You put in your time!
I’m putting my time in… or trying to. We’ll see if I get the hall pass next year.