Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Reckoning

The dark shape cruising the sandy shoreline caused my right foot to smash the brake pedal to the floor. My first thought was; 'shark, how fast can I tie a wire leader?' That musing disappeared as the shape broke the surfaced and revealed itself as a tarpon. Seconds later, two more fish rolled within twenty feet of the beach.

I was parked and wading in knee deep water less than a minute later. I replaced my bonefish leader with a 80lb tarpon shock tippet in record time and laid my fly 10ft off the end of the small jetty. I looked to my left as another tarpon rolled, then my eyes were pulled back to the location of my fly as a massive silver flash slashed perpendicularly across the fly. The line in my right hand burned violently through my fingers as I struggled for a grip and a hefty strip-set.

The monster leapt from the clear waters and thrashed it's head savagely as it tail-walked away from me. Plunging back into the water, it immediately erupted again, thrashed it's huge head and sent my line, and straightened-hook, slinging back into my chest.

I stood, frozen, for a second as the recent events sunk in. I examined the destroyed hook, felt a surge of confidence in the fact that my shitty knots had held, and peered to my immediate left as two more massive tarpon rolled through the surface film.

A re-tie and two casts later I had another hook-up and another straightened hook. This scene repeated itself once more before another re-tie, this time with a stiffer hook. Two more casts and an enormous fish took the fly. I offered a beastly strip set, burying the hook in the fish's lips, but still had hold of the line as it porpoised out of the water, heading for the horizon. The 80lb shock tippet snapped with an audible TWANG as the fish plunged back into the water.

I was in awe of the power of these fish, aware of my ineptitude and naivete in thinking that I could take one of these from shore any time in the near future, and laughing at the ridiculous fact that where I was standing was within walking distance of our new apartment. I examined the exploded shock tippet and the 4 decent and now unusable flies with straightened hooks I had in one hand. I looked out across the tiny beach and saw a tarpon's head break the surface, then it's dorsal and tail fins. It lingered there, it's back above the surface, then sank out of sight. I walked back to the car and made the minute long drive to our new apartment.

It is time to reload. I am locked in an arms race with the superpower of the shallows and I've just been bested. In a word, outgunned.

I've unpacked a set of gamakatsu tarpon hooks that I forgot I had purchased and tied some slayers, I've got some ideas for leader experimentation that I am pumped to take into the field, and I've got a tiny beach swarming with monsters with which to do battle. More importantly, I've got line burns on my fingers, four destroyed flies and one exploded shock tippet hanging above the door as a solemn reminder of my first encounter with the silver king.

1 comment:

Mark said...

From Dadeo. I'm glad that Nothampton schools ( MOM )taught you how to write. I'm glad you're enjoying yourself. Remember the secret of life is enjoying the passing of time. Love u