Wow, it sure is good to be back among the
living again. I got a real wicked strain
of the flu while working the Miami International
Boat Show just over a week ago. It completely
knocked me out of commission for 8 days. Between
the constant 101.5+ fever, ever-present aches and
pains and the complete lack of any energy, I had
to cut the trip short, cancel a trip to China and
retreat home to recover. Symptoms are gone thank
goodness but the lack of energy remains.
Before the flu set in, I got to spend a day
on the water with good friend and guide, Jorge
Valverde. For once the wind was supposed to
stay below 30kts and cooperate. Turns out that
it did not really cooperate but neither did the
fish. We set out of Flamingo in search of early
morning Reds and maybe a Snook or two. Later we
would hunt Bonefish and maybe some Tarpon and
Permit. The morning started out nice with temps
in the high 60's and no wind. Temps warmed to
near 80 degrees during the day and the 5-10kt
south winds developed into 15-17kts out of the
east, go figure.
It's always interesting spending the day on the
water as each day holds new surprises. Right
away we found a few skittish Reds and some Black
Drum. The first Black Drum I saw, I quickly
presented a fly to. Unlike the typical Black
Drum response, this fish followed the fly and
ate it like a champ. Hey, what a great start
to the morning. It's gonna be a great day!
Well, that was pretty much it for the catching
for the rest of the day.
Don't get me wrong, we found plenty of fish BUT
wow, they sure were acting weird. Some were
eating on the run and I mean on the run. Mud . . .
run 30 yards . . . mud . . . run 40 yards . . .
mud . . . run . . . see a pattern here? Never
seen Reds act like that before. We could not get
them to eat any flies and my friend even offered
up some fresh, live shrimp with no takers. So,
we ran south in search of Bonefish. Then, there
it was. Someone had played a terribly tacky trick
and loaded a flat with pink lawn ornaments. Wait
a minute now . . . upon closer inspection these
lawn atrocities were alive and moving! COOL, we
have found one of the resident Florida Bay Flamingo
flocks! They were a wonderful sight to see and they
let us get fairly close. Their brilliant colors in
the early sun was burned into my memory. Ok, so
I'm a closet birder . . . ssshhhh don't tell.
After a few photos we continued south toward
the middle Keys hunting silver ghosts. It did
not take long and I was on the bow with 6 to 8
small Bonefish in the 7-8 pound range. Yes, I
said small because 7 pound Bonefish here ARE small.
Florida Bay is the land of GIANT Bones, if you
know where to look. Well, these fish wanted
nothing to do with us but never blew out and
took off. They simply chose to ignore all
offerings and slowly move elsewhere. Shortly
there after another group of fish in the 8 to
11lb range show and come right to us. Again,
it mattered not what we showed them. They were
not going to play today. This repeated itself
over and over again during the day.
Later in the afternoon we found a nice school of
fat Tarpon in the 40 - 70lb range. Again, we
offered flies and some crabs with our newly
found friends showing no interest whatsoever.
Quite humbling it is. As the afternoon went on,
we found a few more Bones and even a couple nice
Permit. Nope, no takers . . . none at all. Even
the sharks, which normally play ball 24/7, were
acting out of sorts. The Lemon's that typically
love to chase a fly (or bait) were lethargic,
uninterested and rude to us. Now, I did manage
to get a couple to tug on the line but not what
we normally see.
So, it was a frustrating day as far as the
catching went. But, that's not what it's all
about. Sure I love hooking up on fish,
especially when they are fish I only get to
chase once a year. A day on the water is also
about sharing good company, seeing all the
wildlife in the air and in the water and
enjoying a nice day. It's interesting how
things change over the years. When I was a
kid, fishing was about the catching. How many
did you catch and how big were they. As you
get older it's less about the catching (still
like the catching) and more about the experience.
Some of my most memorable days of fishing were
days when the fishing simply stunk. However
the company was great and/or I got to see some
fantastic sights or get up close and personal
with some wildlife. One thing you really come
to understand as you get older is you just never
know when it will be your time. It's a crazy
world and you just never know when something
can happen and it's all over. I enjoy every
single second that I'm out on the water. Sure,
catching fish is great but having fun with friends
who share the same passion for the sport and enjoying
the outdoors is really the key. Standing on the
front of that boat and seeing Tarpon, Rays, Bonefish,
Permit, shark after shark after shark, Eagles,
Flamingo's and so on was fantastic. I'm already
looking forward to my next Florida Bay adventure.
Sure, I'm hoping the fish are a bit kinder to us
but in the end I know it will be a great day no
matter what. ~ Dr. Fish
About Dr. Fish:
Dr. Fish (Jeff Pierce) is the Sales Manager for O.
Mustad & Son. Along with being an avid fly tier,
he's a diehard fly fisherman that's always looking
for something new to bend the long rod.