Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Last Long Goodbye - Night One

In keeping with the mellow nature that I hoped would color my last solo fishing trip to bonefish mecca, I was intent on walking with my thumb out instead of renting a car or riding a bike.

After two quick rides, I made it to the dirt turnoff at the end of which I would pitch my hammock.  Unpacking my backpack in the sand I soon realized that I was missing a vital piece of equipment, namely the hammock itself.  Fantastic, I thought to myself.

I learned the hard way that mosquitoes and sand flies can exact a serious toll on the unprepared, but the wind was whipping so I thought I'd be safe.  I excavated a depression in the sand and pulled my rainfly over two bent pine saplings, hitched its corners to some driftwood and stood back to admire my work.
Satisfied, I hoofed it back to the dock for some dusk tarpon.

I rigged up in the wind as the sun set and the stars began to shine.  While cutting the tag end off of my 60lb leader, the scissor tool on my Gerber Flik snapped off.  Awesome, I thought to myself.

A few minutes later, I was standing on the end of the dock with my 6" white tarpon toad sinking at my feet, scanning the water for a big silverside to come into range.  One appeared and it was a good shot, so I lifted the rod to make my first false cast.  As the toad shot directly upwards from perhaps 6ft beneath the surface, the owner of that particular dock decided to eat it.

THE BEAST erupted from under the dock and engulfed the toad at a million miles an hour.  I held fast to the line in a state of calm understanding as my 10wt Loop Evotec exploded two feet up from the cork.  How wonderful, I thought to myself.

As THE BEAST headshook in confusion, I set the hook into the tip of it's nose and the fight was on.  The broken tip of the rod slid down the line as the beast went deep.  It then blew up the water in a leap that had to clear 8 vertical feet and 12 horizontally.

In the past year, I witnessed THE BEAST in action, killing either unsuspecting mullet or smallish tarpon a few times, and have personally hooked him 3 times.  It's sort of sad that I lasted the longest on not much more than the cork of my 10wt before he wrapped me up on the dock and severed the leader.

After such a stellar night, I decided that I didn't want to risk dying a blood loss from biting insects while I huddled in my sand cave, so I walked to a semi-deserted hotel that I knew would be open serving dinner and asked for a room.

Defeated, I slept like the dead in the air conditioned room.  I did not dream, but if I were to dream of the coming morning session on the flats, it would have been a good one.


Mark Kautz said...

Those "skito's" can drain you into a pile of skin in a matter of minutes. Good thing you didn't stay. Sorry about the Tarpon, would have been a prize for sure.


Jerry said...

I was hoping that this would end in the taming of the giant cuda' but alas, the entry was too short, I knew it wasn't to be...great post!

Matt said...

The BEAST cannot be tamed. I have witnessed it hooked more than a dozen times, 4 or 5 by me. After the last ass kicking I vowed to leave it be. The longest I lasted was this accidental encounter. It is too smart, too aware of its surroundings and how to use them, and too damn huge. I will never purposefully fish for it again, and I hope that it is never disgraced by being hauled out of the water for a hero shot. It is a legendary animal, and I am thankful to have experienced its wildness. Long Live The BEAST.