Publisher's Note: If you missed Part 1, 2, and 3 of Show Time,
At half-passed noon, we motored over to the launch site
and tied off at the docks. Trailers were backed down
the ramp and the boats were loaded for the trip to our
"JB, where are we headed?" asked Henry. "Just a spot along
some old mangroves and backwater estuary. We won't even need
the boats, but we should take them anyway," came his reply.
So off we went, eating our sandwiches in the car and sipping soft
drinks now and then. We motored back over the Inter-coastal
Waterway. Back up Jensen Beach. Past the sign that said,
"Ft Pierce, 5 miles." I kept thinking, "where are we going?"
Just past the big nuclear plant we made a hard left turn into
a chain-link fenced area and gate. JB got out of the truck and
went over to unlock the gate. Henry and I were puzzled. I
kept thinking, "I'm towing my boat in there." The 'road'
was a path in the grass with tire tracks on either side.
This was a narrow track and built up causeway over a large
marsh area. The sides dropped down to the waters edge and
there was just enough room to tow the boat in through it.
A couple of times we had to get out and physically move boulders
or branches so that there would be enough room for the trailer
tires to get through. I wish I had taken my chain-saw.
I envisioned the trailer slipping and having to call for a chopper
to airlift us out. This was not the place to be trailering a boat.
Having said that, this turned out to be as beautiful an area with
large oaks and mangroves and flats like I'd never seen.
And, did I forget to tell you about the tarpon? They were there.
This was a nursery for Tarpon babies. Baby tarpon in the 10 to 15
pound range were everywhere. We stopped at every clearing and
most outflow areas. Ponds were linked by culverts to the Indian
River and I'm sure that's how the big tarpon got in there to
foster their young.
This was an angler's dream come true. The first pond we came to,
Henry jumped out and grabbed a 6-weight rod from the boat and ran
over to the culvert. He looked like a kid who had never been
to a candy store. Tails were everywhere, even their dorsals cut
the surface. But there were also low overhanging trees and
branches sticking up from the bottom. The slew had a culvert
pump that was moving a lot of water and bait and the baby tarpon
were munching anything that moved.
The first fly out caught a baby in the 8-pound range. He was so
wiry it was tough trying to take his picture. He did not want
anything to do with us. Not big enough for the show, so he went
back. Now Henry was working the water line around the slew gate.
Bead-eye Clousers (#6 with weed guards) were our choice of fly along
with Borski Sliders (#6). The tarpon would come over and roll on
the fly, just like a dog rolling in the grass. We saw more rolling
tarpon than I would like to mention. We had long pants on for the
show, and except for Henry we were protected from the mosquitos.
We traveled 4 miles on this back road, and fished countless breaks
along the causeway. I bet we saw at least a couple of thousand tarpon.
Yes, more than a thousand tarpon. We fished with Clousers, Borskis,
San Juan Worms, Snake Flies, Redfish Divers. I bet we tried every
fly that was in my boat. But the best was the old Hot Lips fly.
We scored time and again, with each cast a baby tarpon. Quite
honestly baby tarpon are more fun than wrestling with a giant tarpon
for two hours. By 5 pm we had caught and released our arm's
limit of baby tarpon and what a show this will make.
What a relief after days of catching and releasing Jack Cravelle.
Now planning is in the works for our next shows, which are being
filmed this coming week. We planned it around Easter week
thinking that the timing might bring us luck.
Please don't teach your trash to swim. ~ Doug
Capt. Doug Sinclair has relocated from New Smyrna Beach, Florida to
Grantsboro, NC. He specializes in fly-fishing and light tackle charters.
Doug charters the Coastal Carolina area of New Bern or Oriental.
Catch him on the web at
www.flyfishacademy.net or call him at (252) 745-3500.
Doug is also a Sponsor here on FAOL.