Lately; my English Lab, Cabo has been spending a good amount of time on the water.
As with most labs, he loves the water and often times finds the most inopportune time to quench his desire to get wet. He’s a master at going total ham and plunging into the backyard lake when you need to be on the way out the door to an appointment in five minutes.
Over the Christmas and New Years holidays, Cabo spent a couple of weeks in Melbourne with Florida Fly Co. co-founder, Ben Pickett. While there he joined Ben on the water a lot and unlike when he was younger, seemed to be a bit better behaved / able to remain in the skiff.
I’m not sure whether Ben employed some “dog whisperer” charm on him or its simply that he has settled down now that he’s four years old.
Recently I had the opportunity to get out for an afternoon session on Mosquito Lagoon and figured it was time to see if he was ready to join me while I tried to fly fish.
We stopped on an island beach to get wet on my terms and in hopes that maybe Cabo would be more apt to chill out the rest of the day if he had just gone full tilt for a few minutes.
Our beach time was a blast.
Once he started to slow down, I figured it was time to go look for a redfish.
A few minutes into the first flat, he was totally chilled out, simply posting up alongside me, content to watch the shoreline pass by as I hunted for a hungry fish.
We spent the next couple of hours slowly poling over deserted flats, taking a few shots at the happier redfish we came across, even managing to feed one that was lost skiff -side when I bungled the landing.
Cabo still seemed proud of my effort, showing great interest in the fish as it spun and thrashed alongside the gunnel.
Occasionally, an osprey or pelican would attract his attention, but he remained calm and never left the boat, which was exactly what I was hoping for.
I believe that Cabo is going to be fishing a lot more in the future. Maybe my solo trips are over for a while…
In fly fishing, I believe that failure is not an institution we believe in. At least not like most of the “normal” populace.
Who in the world would chase permit, for example, if they believed in failure? Really, its a low percentage game of tides, winds, fly design, fly placement and fly movement; and thats before we even consider the fish as part of the equation. I know plenty of people that have tried, yet have never hoisted a permit above the water for a quick photo before loosing it to have it swim away to fight another day. I’m in that category. Still yet, I have friends who have caught one, a year or two ago and they still pour money, time and frustration at the next one. Surely this behavior supports the theory, failure is not an option.
For sure, there are plenty of species other than permit swimming in water, all across this globe, that are targeted by fly anglers that often serve up these micro defeats on a daily basis.
Turns out, its what we love. How many times have you heard; “If catching them was easy, everyone would do it.”.
To a fly fisher the experience is paramount. The preparation, from the rigging of gear, selection of a “spot” and other environmental considerations are a big part of it. We study the angles.
Each experience we have on the water is a step forward to achieve a goal. Once it is attained, we reset the board and begin again. The reset can be triggered by capturing a fish or simply the lack of it.
Even when you’ve been wearing a skunk for weeks, it happens; you’ll still get up and get gear together and go tackle the day, in search of a little taste of victory.
I’m seeing that happen now with my son. He’s a skateboarder. He and his friends are cut from the same cloth that we are. To them failure doesn’t exist either. No matter the amount of pain, agony or otherwise, when they choose to skate an obstacle or learn a new trick, they are committed. They will try over and over again, until they achieve the success they’re aiming for.
As I’ve been spending more and more time with them, going to a skatepark or pulling into a random alley so they can flagrantly skate a ledge behind some business in the shadow of a “No Skateboarding” sign, I’m inspired by their dedication to the principle – Failure Is Not An Option.
A couple of his friends have recently picked up a fly rod and started using it more and more to chase backyard bass and even redfish when they can hitch a ride on a skiff. I know they’re well suited for it and hearing their outlandish stories confirms it.
Skaters are much like fly fishermen when it comes to documenting their adventures, if not even better. Perhaps its generational, but their affinity for video is second to none and they’re good at it.
My son worked for a couple of months to amass enough “footie” to put together this short video.
I can’t wait for him to get bitten by the fly fishing bug so I’ll have my very own “filmer” to chronicle our time on the water.
For now, I’ll wrap myself in the comfort of knowing that he has no fear of failure, actually he laughs in its face, and wait for him to join me on the skiff.
We’ve had the benefit of pure joy gracing our lives for over a year and a half now in the form of an English Labrador Retriever we affectionately call, Cabo.
His namesake is none other than the infamous coastal town in Baja California Sur.
He’s a swag hound and as such, he took a shot at winning an awesome collar & leash combo from Wingo Belts on Instagram. He just found out he’ll be cashing in and getting his very own redfish pattern leash and collar by being selected from their monthly give-away that just wrapped up in July.
If your best friend is half as cute as mine, get over to Instagram and check out Wingo Belts to get squared away on how to enter their monthly give away.
I searched for months for the skiff I have now owned for the past 9 years. After missing a couple of similar models, I finally got the jump on everyone and got the first look at my 1998 Hells Bay Whipray – “Mosquito Lagoon” Edition, (the 33rd hull built) when my son was less than a day old. I left the hospital a day later to see it for the first time. I wrote a check that afternoon, knowing I had found my saltwater soulmate.
The near decade we’ve spent together has been epic. She’s taken me on lots of adventures across the Sunshine State.
There is something special about that old skiff. Today, I watched Flip Pallot opine, in the way only he can, the History of Hells Bay Boatworks. It was fantastic.
In addition to hearing his thoughts on the journey that lead to the revolutionary skiffs we love, I’ve talked a lot with Chris Morejohn, the architect behind the design. Having him remember my skiff and sharing details of its history was fulfilling and deepened my bond with it further.
A lot of people say there is no “perfect” skiff. They’ve never been on mine.