Capt. Gary Henderson, Florida

February 21st, 2005

Anticipation

By Captain Gary (Flats Dude) Henderson
It's a little less than forty-eight hours before I pack the flies and rods in my truck and head out on the highway in the direction of Bill and Jill Sorbie's home in Dunedin, Florida for the 2005, Florida Fish-in. I have a lot to do.

I've fished the west coast before, just never Honeymoon Island. Sure, I know what flies will work there; I know what species of fish live in these waters. But, I've never fished these particular waters. To the north, I have chased tarpon in the triple-digit weights. To the south, the snook that line the summer shores of Anna Maria Island, but never Honeymoon's sandy shores or grassy flats. I'm filled with anticipation.

Honeymoon Island

I won't sleep much tomorrow night; I never sleep well before any long trip. Again, anticipation will flood my thoughts and dreams and deprive me of rest. The inheritance of such mental conditions I got from my dad, I suppose. He never slept before any fishing trip.

There is also the anticipation of meeting many folks from across the United States and also from across the Atlantic Ocean. Folks I have electronically spoken with for months, but never face to face. I'm looking forward to this. Four of the folks I've met; our gracious host Bill, Harold Hattaway and his wife Sue, and Stev. I'm a little anxious about this meeting, but it's a good anxiousness from within.

The anticipation of getting to know new people, the anticipation of fishing new waters, the anticipation of, well, everything.

I thought about the trip last night as Linda and I sat on the back porch, grilling steaks for our St. Valentine's Day celebration. There was the anticipation of leaving my bride for several nights. Funny, I always hate to leave her at home knowing she loves to fish almost as much as I do. She starts a new job tomorrow, and didn't think the new employer would appreciate the idea of her missing the first few days of work. Yep, she means that much to me. She's okay with it, really, and encourages me to go on these trips. She frets around the house helping to gather all the things I will need.

My thoughts turn to fishing the waters around Honeymoon. I've read some articles about the area and it looks like a beautiful place. I called Bill and asked him if there was enough room for twenty five, or six, fly-lines to be airborne at the same time. He assured me there was. Heck, last time the five of us gathered just south of there, we spent more time on the shore tellin' stories than we fished. I can imagine what it will be like with five times that many. More anticipation.

The west coast of Florida is more my home than the east coast. Sunsets after a day of casting the long rod, a pina colada in hand, promises of smoked fish and new friends gathering to do what fly-fishers do best, tell stories. Doesn't get much better than that. Yep, anticipation.

I wonder what the others will be like. There will be a mix of saltwater and freshwater fishers. Hey, I just thought of something. If one mixes freshwater with saltwater, the fresh will become a diluted saltwater solution. Hmmm, we may just ruin these folks. Dad always said, "Once you get Florida sand in your shoes, you never really leave here."

I promise next week's column will be better. The anticipation will have diminished and I will surely have a lot to write about. But for now, I sit here and wait to begin the trip to the other side of Florida. Anticipating.

To be continued. . .

See y'all next week. ~ Capt. Gary

About Gary:

Gary grew up in central Florida and spent much of his youth fishing the lakes that dot the area. After moving a little closer to the coast, his interests changed from fresh to salt. Gary still visits his "roots" in the "lake behind the house."

He obtained his captain's license in the early '90's and fished the blue waters of the Atlantic for a little over twelve years. His interests in the beautiful shallow water flats in and around the famous Mosquito Lagoon came around twenty-five years ago. Even though Captain Gary doesn't professionally guide anymore, his respect of the waters will ever be present.

Gary began fly fishing and tying mostly saltwater patterns in the early '90's and has participated as a demo fly tier for the Federation of Fly Fishers on numerous occasions. He is a private fly casting and tying instructor and stained glass artist, creating mostly saltwater game fish in glass.


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