Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Monday, January 25, 2010
“The swell is down, yeah? Probably good conditions…”
“When are you gonna put Lex on some fish?”
He’d flown out three days ago but was mentally still fishing the flats. Mark’s only chance, having struck out with bonefish during his brief week of opportunity, was to live vicariously through us until he returned in 8 months.
A few days after Stace and I had begun to settle into the school week routine and Lex settled into her own routine of napping her way through the beaches, I rigged up our 9wt for bones and the 10wt for baby tarpon and took Lex to our newly discovered honey hole.
The goal was to give her a chance to cast to some fish. This was unrealistic for a few reasons. More often than not, I see nothing during a trip to the flats. Not a sign. Of the remaining encounters, there is probably only a viable shot at a bonefish 10% of the time. As I have previously documented, bonefishing is difficult. Furthermore, Lex had received her first saltwater lesson about a week ago.
So, it was with these expectations that we slunk through mangrove roots and entered the water with about an hour of sunlight left. I helped Lex set herself up for a quick cast and gave her a 3 second tutorial on how to walk on the flats. Shuffle your feet slowly, watch out for rays, scan at the limits of your vision and look for movement.
Astoundingly, as I finished that lesson, I caught movement above the turtle grass not 10ft in front of me. Realizing it was a pod of bones, more bones than I had ever seen in one place, I ducked low and rasped to Lex a command to throw her fly 8ft to my 12 o’clock.
Lex was 5ft to my left and she was casting right-handed. Her first cast was not to hit it’s mark. The leader wrapped about my torso and the fly caught my shorts. I unhooked while barely moving and pulled as much of her fly line through her guides as she would need to get the fly into position.
We were both laughing. Her 2nd cast wrapped around my neck but thankfully didn’t hook me in the face. She pulled the rod tip up in an attempt to untangle and only looped the line around the rod a few dozen times. Thinking all hope was lost, I dared look for the bones. Incredibly, they had moved closer to me. At least a dozen fish were no more than 6ft away, hovering above the turtle grass in 18inches of water.
We managed to untangle her rig without spooking them. Her next cast landed 3ft in front of me and I watched, incredulously, as two bonefish zoomed over to inspect the slowly sinking shrimp pattern. One of them moved right on top of it, and paused.
“What does that mean?!” she replied.
“Strip! Lift! Pull!” I was freaking out. This was just too much.
She managed to take in some slack line and felt the fish. The bone took off, peeling out a bit of line, but Lex had a death grip on the fly line and wasn’t letting it take any.
“Let her run! Just let her run! Keep the rod tip up!” I barked commands as Lex giggled uncontrollably.
With about 20ft of slack line sitting on the water, the bone just cruised around, more confused than alarmed.
When I caught my breath from laughing, I told her to take in the slack and keep the line taught. At this, the fish thrashed and peeled out some line. It was no match for Lex’s superior play.
She guided the bone towards me and I scooped it up. In countless hours of fishing the flats of this island, my sister lands the first bonefish in ridiculous fashion.
How embarrassing for that poor bonefish.
The fish finally realizing it was hooked.
Pretty damn happy.
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Friday, January 22, 2010
The switch rod cult…I never had a chance. Instead of jumping on the bandwagon, it just flat-out ran me over. (long story)
My choice, Beulah’s 7/8. I had fished the rod single-handed for awhile, throwing in the occasional D-loop as I fished an indicator rig. This technique became too automatic..if you catch my drift. My interests soon turned to the other capability of the rod. Ever since then spey style casting has taken over my train of thought.
Teaching myself this new style of casting and fly presentation has been the most fun and rewarding experience since I first taught myself how to fly fish over a decade ago. I may just like getting new toys,
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Time was running low. After a week of fishing and relaxing we had precious few hours remaining to put Mark on a bonefish. He needed to be at the airport by 5:30 for his flight outta paradise. We decided to hit one last flat on the way to the airstrip, hoping against hope for some bonefish.
Monday, January 18, 2010
For Christmas my friend Nate received his first pair of chest waders, we decided to head to the Little Schuykill to break them in. The last time Nate and I fished the Little Schuykill was during the one fly contest held last year…where Nate failed to catch a single fish leaving me to carry the team, haha.
We began by trudging up river to my favorite haunt. I set Nate up with the exact pattern I gave him to use in the one-fly. Not long after he bellowed “There He Is!”…I wonder who he gets that from..haha. Nate soon landed two more fish following a quick and splashy rise to his hot pink indicator. He then retired to let me have a go at the honey hole where I produced the smallest trout of the day.
We then moved down river to the infamous…“Bend Hole” (where Mark and Matt clinched their one-fly gold medals). Fishing along the way, Nate managed three more trout all within two minutes of fishing a riffle. In between taking photos of Nate landing fish, I took the only brown of the day.
Upon arriving at the bend I produced three rainbows and a notorious Little Schuykill fallfish. We soon called it a day each of us landing six trout a piece. On our walk back to the car we reminisced about the one fly contest and how I placed third with no help from my partner…we could only come up with one reason…It’s just got to be that hat…no question about it, haha.