Thursday, January 14, 2010

A Silver Prince.

On New Year's Eve, Mark and I decided to fish a narrow channel that I haven't fished before. I have seen numerous species of fish travel through it in the past and was waiting until my bro came down to actually fish it.

We saw huge schools of baitfish massing near the mangroves and numerous tarpon cruising through them. We rigged up and waded in.

In such tight quarters, I was the spotter while Mark fished. I stood on some mangrove roots to get a higher vantage point from which to spot any gray slabs moving through the baitballs.

Slingshot casts required.

Consistently, tarpon cruised through. Mark had a bunch of looks, but no takes. The fish would go nose-to-nose with his fly while his leader was in his guides and he was standing in waist-deep water. This was truly close quarters fishing. I was looking forward to the inferno of leaps and thrashing that would signify a hookup at such close range. A 60lb fish would deal a swift ass-kicking and leave us shaking our heads in astonishment at their power.

With so much bait in the area, pelicans were diving all around. If you have ever seen a bird with a 6ft wingspan fold it's wings to it's body and dive, beak first, into a baitball, you wouldn't forget it. For all of the splashing of these birds, the tarpon seemed unfazed. They were clearly the clean-up crew for any maimed fish that the birds missed.

A school of baby tarpon, the first I have seen around the island, came into sight cruising towards us from the west. Mark flicked a cast in front of them and during the ever so slow retrieve, a pelican cannonballed into the water inches from his fly. I thought we were going to have one pissed-off bird in a second when it realized the fish it grabbed was made of marabou and rabbit strips and contained a sharp surprise. Thankfully, the bird missed.

On his next cast, only seconds after the bird took off, the school of baby tarpon came towards his tarpon toad as one. The fly pulsated in the water a few feet beyond the end of Mark's 10wt.

Mark told me once that baby tarpon are probably a hell of a lot of fun on the fly; all of the acrobatics without the grinding bulldog dead weight you've got to haul in afterward.

In a sudden acceleration, a baby tarpon inhaled the fly and Mark set the hook. Still, as you will see, as if a rainbow had taken his Adams. This time, however, it served him well.

Check out the video below which shows the miss by the pelican and the complete duel with the baby silver king, set to some tunes by Death Cab.

It was a gorgeous, perfect fish.

After that, we walked West towards a sandy flat and observed some 'cudas chilling under some half-sunken boats. We gave the tarpon channel a breather and explored for bonefish. After about an hour, we returned to the spot and began to fish again.

Reviving before release.

It was at this time that some very unexpected visitors stopped by and began watching us fish...

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