Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Vote! Fish of the Year 2010.

Happy Holidays everyone!

This is our second annual, fish of the year contest. This year each of us chose three fish for you to vote on as our fish of the year. These fish were chosen because they are the ones that we will always remember. The ones that we can recall from the spot and stalk to the hook and land.

This will be our last post of 2010. It was a crazy year filled with a ton of fishing and several new species caught. The blog has also taken off quite a bit since a year ago and thank you for following along with us.

Matt's Entries. 
1. Slump-killing and Slam-sealing Bonefish.
Post: Teamwork
Watching two people who are very good at catching fish catch fish is something I enjoy very much.  So, I didn’t mind deferring to Mark and Adam prime wading lanes or first water during our Caribbean fish fest.  After about two weeks of getting personally skunked, I nonetheless started to become slightly frustrated. So, it was in the midst of an 9 month long bonefish slump that I found myself wading a flat behind Mark and Adam after blowing numerous chances at fish with poorly tied knots, poor casts and nicked or frayed leaders. 
Hooking, chasing and landing this very respectable bonefish pictured below not only ended my personal slump, but because catching a tarpon under the lights at night was a given, it sealed the grand slam we teamed up for on that August day.

2. Albacore from kayak:
Post: Pound for Pound
Powering my kayak towards flocks of birds feasting on a baitball driven to the surface by marauding false albacore was my answer to the embarrassing failure of me trying to cast into the fray from the heaving and curling bow of a small powerboat. Casting into the fracas was fraught with the possibility of hooking large, pissed-off birds, but more often than not I couldn’t get close enough before the giant yellow ‘yak put the fish down.  Invariably, they would pop up 200 meters away in a few seconds, prompting me to give chase yet again. So, I was pretty surprised when I actually got a cast into the fray, hooked and landed one of those absolute bulldogs.  The next time I tried that, the albie snapped my borrowed 10wt at the cork.

3. Meteor Tarpon
The green streaks slicing across the sky held my attention more than the probability of fish in the dark waters I was up to my knees in.  The fragmenting meteors glowed like a hot wire of tungsten in an old light bulb as they seared a purplish shadow onto my retinas that lingered for a few seconds, long enough for another to take its place.  The Geminids were peaking tonight, and I was tarpon hunting. Turning my attention to the water, the brief searchlight of my headlamp revealed a glowing red coal, burning below the surface.  The reflection of a meteor?  No, the iridescent retina of a Megalops atlanticus, unwittingly revealing her vector. A short cast, one strip and the fish was on.  I struggled mightily to land it amidst the swell and the boulder-strewn beach, but I did manage to lip her, revive her using the tides and send her back into the dark depths.  Before I walked home, I reflected on this and past experiences while watching the meteors pour out over the sky.

Mark's Entries
4. Birthday Permit
I can't believe this happened. Easily the most memorable experience during my fly fishing career. Every time I think about it, a smile spreads across my face and I shake my head in disbelief. Some people spend a lifetime pursuing a Permit on a fly rod and I did it all by my lonesome wading a flat. The stalk, cast, set, fight, and land all came together for the best birthday present I ever gave myself.

Post: Permit, Baby!

5. Hog Johnson of the Canal
After snapping a six weight in half, I upgraded on my next outing with an 8 wt. I was glad I did because I needed the extra butt strength to land this guy. I spotted him under a bush, his vast scales visibly seen moving between the foliage like an anaconda in the Amazon. I moved ahead and positioned my fly at the end of the bush awaiting his arrival. He fought like a pissed off railroad tie and it was easily the longest I have ever played a fish. I found myself alone on the canal, waist deep in muck positioning a camera amongst poison ivy and marauding mosquitos for a self portrait of a creature from the deep. Quite possibly the largest carp in the canal. No arm extension required.

Post: Breaking Down The Wall

6. Fully Scaled Mirror Carp
Moldy Chum called this, "one of the sexiest brownlining's ever," and I would have to agree with that statement. This one is special not because of its size, or how sexy it may or may not be, but because I celebrated this fish with my father. After setting the hook, I could only utter, "Dad, I've got a big fish," before jumping into the water to give chase. After two long runs into the backing and becoming entangled in several branches, I finally beached this pig of a carp for a few victory shots before sending her on her way. 

Post: Dad, I've Got a Big Fish

Adam's Entries
7. King of Lago X
Legend has it that Adam hooked up with a carp one time and it snapped his helios like a twig. Legend also has it, that it happened more than once. One of those fish was landed despite the broken rod. Almost a year later, Adam exacted revenge on probably the same fish using his switch rod. This is indeed the hog johnson of our stomping grounds, a good 14-16 pound carp.

8. First Cast Tarpon:
Post: A Shot in the Dark
Adam's first night in the Caribbean and Matt and I had him out on the rocks guiding him to his first tarpon. I spouted out directions and seconds after his fly hit the water, a tarpon exploded on his puglisi baitfish. A trout set ensued but Adam recovered with three great strip strikes and the battle was on. Adam couldn't believe what was taking place and marveled at the power of his first silver king. Moments later, I lipped his tarpon in the surf, and Adam was all smiles. He successfully hooked, fought, and landed the first tarpon he ever casted to.

9. First Cast Bonefish:
Post: Infection
A few days after his first tarpon, Adam repeated the same scenario but with an entirely different species. Going our separate ways on a large flat, Adam was the first and only one of us to hook and land a bonefish. It happened to be the first bone he ever casted to. His custom merkin crab landed abruptly in front of a street gang of bones, with one quickly charging and consuming the morsel. Adam let out a primal yell, several laughs, and the words, "this is better than sex," before cradling  his first ever bonefish. 


All about the grab said...

All great fish but the Full scaled mirror Carp tiped the scales for me.
Have a fantastic festive season lads.

Carlos Del Rey. said...

Beautiful bonefish, fishing them is my dream someday.
In Spain we have the "freswater bonefish", the barbel, visit my blog to view.

Michael Agneta said...

Any of those fish could easily win, but I went for the birthday permit...was really tough to ignore the tarpon and carp though.

Alexander Davidson said...

Permit all the way for me, great fish and of all the fish you have there the hardest to hook. To do it on your birthday must have been awesome! All great fish though and marks of a good year of fishing.

erdodadeo said...

I wish I could vote for more than one. My vote has to go to the Birthday Permit. All stories were great and keep up the good pics and stories in 2011.

Mancing Gembira said...

I like number 6, Full scaled mirror Carp.

Unknown said...

Going with the albi just cause I like the photo. :)

Clive said...

I vote birthday permit for sure!