Jun 15

Day 5 of Tarponless Tarpon Fishing with Bill and Dan

Day 5 was ugly. The wind was up in a big way and ruled out most of what we would have wanted to do. I was fishing with Bill Horn, the guy who wrote the (or at least a) book about the Keys. He’s also on the Board for the Bonefish and Tarpon Trust. Also in the boat was Dan Dow, who works at BTT.

It is always good to be in the boat with Bill. He has his home waters dialed and managed a couple of wizard-like moments in conditions that were beyond rough. We were taking green rollers over the bow. The bottom was stirred up and visibility was sketchy. Bill still managed to put us in the path of some tarpon. How he did that… I can only suspect witchcraft of some kind.

Not great conditions

Not great conditions

We actually got a couple of shots, but the fish were so close to the boat by the time we could see them the shots were not high quality.

We were watching the weather form out beyond us and when it was clear we were in its way we made a run back toward Vaca Cut. The first squall line had moved beyond us by the time we got there and as we tried to make our way to his slip we ran smack into the second squall line. Pretty impressive weather to get stuck in. We hid under the bridge and when the storm passed we even got to try for some of the smaller tarpon rolling in the inexplicably placid waters before the wind came back up.

Yeah... that's some weather.

Yeah… that’s some weather.

That's Dan and Bill, under the rain drop.

That’s Dan and Bill, under the rain drop.

The day was over and I was fish-less again on Day 5. It was a good day though and it was great to share the water with Bill and Dan. I learned a lot from Bill, as I do every time I get on the water with him. Dan… I didn’t learn anything from Dan (kidding), but it was fun to fish with him anyway.

Jun 15

Truths I don’t want to hear

Not fishing, not catching, most like running from the storm!

Not fishing, not catching, most like running from the storm!

There are these sayings one hears (I’ve heard them come out of my own mouth even) that can really drive you mad.

Maybe it is a tolerance thing and you hit it at a certain point, say, day 3 without a tarpon really even looking at your fly. Maybe it is 4 days. Regardless, there is a point when you you can see it coming, you know someone is going to say one of these things and you want to run up the tracks and flag down the locomotive before it hits the washed out bridge (you, fishless, or rather me, fishless on day 3-4 is the washed out bridge in this case).

Two of the most egregious of these sayings are:

  1. You can only catch fish when you have your line in the water.” Yes… true, but the other side of that is the “There is a fine line between fishing and waving a rod around in the air like an idiot.”
  2. That’s why the call it fishing, not catching.” True… but I’m out there to catch things, not just share their water. I know I’m supposed to enjoy “just being here” and all that, and I do, but I am there because I want to connect with the sliver king, because I want to do some catching.

These are thoughts you have when you mostly don’t catch anything. I had lots of time to think about these things since my hours on the bows of various skiffs was mostly not taken up with casting to or fighting fish.

Sure, I can laugh at it all too, so don’t take anything above too seriously. At the end of the day, I don’t. But a good rant is cathartic.