Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Fly Fishing Frustration?

Yesterday was a beautiful day on the water but it had some frustrating moments. I had my fly guy Bob on the boat so we started by drifting a flat in hopes of a tarpon or bonefish. We only spotted a large 'cuda that and a ray that had no followers. Then we headed to the reef and started catching a few nice mangrove snapper for dinner. With the still weak current the snapper bite was less than stellar. The snapper were there and would bite but we had to wade through nearly hundreds of under sized and wrong type fish to get the ones we wanted. I could tell Bob was getting a little frustrated with the bite and we were burning through our bait too quickly. So I decide to take him to the wreck to try for a permit on the fly rod.

There were plenty of permit and we saw them tailing which impressed Bob quite a bit. Unfortunately they we not biting very well. It took much longer than normal for us to hook up then it was my turn to get frustrated. When the fish hit the first words out of Bob's mouth was "we are in trouble now" as the line melted off his reel and the fish took Bob way back in his backing. I have put hundreds of anglers on wreck permit but this was my first one on a fly rod. On his nine weight rod with an estimated 30 pound spawn permit on the other end, I figured Bob was set for a 45 minute plus battle. That is if the huge bull shark I had seen didn't eat his fish first.

After the fish's first run Bob was able to gain a little line so I set back to watch the show. At the start of the second run Bob's leader parted so no more fish. Losing a big fish on a fly rod is not uncommon, but were the leader broke made no sense at all. It broke a good four foot above the jig in the heavier leader not at the tippet. That was frustrating but it was not the first Permit I have seen an angler lose. We tried to hook another with a little stouter leader but no takers. So since we had a beautiful day with no wind and light current I take Bob to another wreck to catch some Lane snapper on his spinning rod.

First drift we had a hit but no hook up. The second drift we had two hits and no hook up. The third drift a mackerel trashed the rig taking the bottom jig. So as I am getting ready to re-rig I notice two fat Cobia are under the boat. The only rod I had handy was the one with the damaged rig so I drop it to the Cobia and hook up. While I was passing the rod to Bob the big fish takes off around the motor before I can react and breaks off. I quickly try to get Bob's other spinner baited but before I could the other Cobia starts to head down to the wreck. I drop the jig down to fish as he is disappearing from sight and I hook up and pass the rod to Bob.

The fish nearly spooled Bob twice so I was driving the boat as well as I could to not lose the fish. We were down to a couple of wraps on the spool when we finally gained some line. A good while later it looked like we had the fish under control and started having visions of dill Cobia and grits for dinner. The fish took another surprisingly strong run that chased that vision from my head for a moment then fish came close enough to the surface that we could get a glimpse of Bob's first Cobia. Unfortunately, it was a damned Bonita! Now my frustration level is just about maxed out. After another drift and another mackerel cut off it was maxed!

So after what could have been a dream trip for Bob, we ran back to the dock with our tails between our legs. Tomorrow we will have a rematch with these fish that made4 us look bad with hopefully a better outcome. I will be bringing my own spinning outfit with plenty of fresh line to improve our odds.

Marathon in the Florida Keys should be your next fishing vacation destination. Join us for charter fishing, fishing guide trips or our fishing 101 so you can fish on your own with better success.

Tight lines,

Capt. Dallas

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