Tag Archives: redfish

Tailer Park Turtle Patrol

I recently had the pleasure of getting on the water with Michael Marco to chase redfish in Mosquito Lagoon. It had been quite some time since we had last fished together, so we were overdue to spend some time on the skiff.

 

Like me, Michael spends a good bit of time on the road logging what we like to call “windshield time”. I was cruising northbound on Interstate 95 and had decided to call and check in to see how his new Skimmer Skiff was coming along and found out he was actually in the area for a day or two, so we quickly hatched a plan to capitalize on the opportunity to get on the water.

 

When he arrived in the early evening a good number of thunderstorms were just beginning to fire off and drift through the area. After watching the radar for a while, we accepted the reality of having to cancel our evening patrol plans, but quickly pivoted to dinner plans at the local, Goodrich Seafood.

 

There is no doubt when you roll through Goodrich that the food will be fresh and the beers cold, so we made the short drive there and had a feast.

 

After returning home, we put out a call to fellow Fly Fishing After Dark Podcast members Avery and Cameron to join us for some beers. Once they arrived we spent a few hours catching up and telling lies.

 

Michael was freshly back in town from a trip to the former Soviet Union where he and his father had spent a week fly fishing for taimen. Other than a very scant few details to peak our interest, he kept stories of the adventure to himself so that we can bring him on a future episode of the podcast to reveal them for the first time. Based on the couple of nuggets he did share, I can’t wait!

 

The next morning we made the two-minute trip to the landing to launch the skiff as the sun was breaking the horizon over the eastern horizon. Surprisingly, we ended up finding redfish sparse, despite the cooling rains the evening prior. The handful we saw while Michael was up, were of the prissy variety for which our home waters are known.

 

As we prepared to pole off of a flat to fire up the engine and scoot across the channel, we spotted what we at first thought was a hawksbill terrapin. As we poled over to take a closer look, we were both shocked to see it was actually a Florida Box Turtle that was swimming, albeit slowly, across the skinny flat separating two islands. We scooped the obviously tired dude up and gave him a skiff ride with the plan to release him later.

Michael insisted on poling the next flat, so I got the chance to fish for a bit, which was great.

 

We eventually found some more agreeable fish and I was rewarded with a nice redfish that ate a well placed fly before it could even be stripped. The redfish literally made a hard U-turn and inhaled the fly that had dropped six inches away along its right side. It was the kind of eat you don’t forget.

fly fishing saltwater

We exchanged ends of the skiff and worked for a while to get Michael a fish, but despite some epic casts and even a follow that we both expected to end in a hook-up, we had to end the day before we tallied a second fish.

 

Work was calling for us both and more importantly, Michael had an appointment he needed to keep, the delivery of his shiny new Skimmer Skiff.

 

As we idled towards deeper water preparing to run back to put the skiff on the trailer, I saw what I thought was a crab trap buoy. Moments after looking at it, I saw a head pop up and realized it was a turtle of some kind.   Turns out, it was another Florida Box Turtle! We scooped him up too and gave him a lift back to the Tailer Park along with his smaller cousin who had already been chilling with us.

male box turtles

Both of the box turtles were set free to roam the neighborhood shortly after getting back to the house.

It was great spending time with Michael, and without a doubt it will be a trip I wont forget, not just because of the great redfish moment, but also for the unique opportunity to encounter two box turtles swimming in a saltwater estuary.

 

Fly-fishing never fails to deliver great friendships and amazing experiences. I’m looking forward to hearing the full taimen story, getting out on Michael’s new skiff or some other adventure that leads us to amazing places.

 

Failure Is Not An Option

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.

Casting Call: Skiff Dogs – Dock Dogs – Fishing Dogs

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.

Instagram: daily_dose_of_cabo
Instagram: daily_dose_of_cabo

 

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.

Check out their pawesome leashes here: Wingo Artisan Fish Skin Leashes

 

IFTD 2015 – Playing Hookie on Day 3

After spending two days at the Flood Tide Company booth, I ducked out to film a little with Catch 1 Films on the home water; Mosquito Lagoon.

ONE: mosquito lagoon

Its always great to spend time on the water with friends.  Being able to relive the moments in film is priceless.

 

 

 

 

 

Old # 33 – A Term of Endearment

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.

Life Gets In The Way

The past weeks have been busy ones.  Aside from the usual things that make up a normal day, I’ve found myself working hard advocating for a skatepark to be built in the town where I live.  My son skates & loves it.  The lessons it teaches him, I love.

You would think that by 2015, elected officials would be more receptive to providing a fair shake to all sports.  Despite being globally popular and skateboarding being the second fastest growing sport in the US, the idea of a skatepark still scares a lot of politicians.

At any rate, I’ve still found a few minutes here and there to fish and by and large its been great.  The bass and redfish along the Space Coast of Florida have been obliged to tussle, and for that, I’m thankful.

Though the writing here on Salt Bum had slowed, I was still putting thoughts on paper.  Check out my latest ramblings in the Spring editions of The Drake Magazine and Southern Culture On The Fly.

Drake Spring 2015

SCOF Spring 2015

 

PSA & Killer Tiller Video Hatch

I recently completed a wonderful multi-day trip in Florida Bay, staying a few nights under the clouds and stars atop a Chickee in Everglades National Park.

The weather was a bit chilly and the wind was blowing near a gale for a good portion of the trip, but the fish didn’t seem to mind too much.

Everglades Redfish on Clouser

I’m no trailblazer in this regard.  Lots of folks have been there & done that, as will many more to follow.

If you haven’t, drop it in the proverbial bucket and make sure you reach in and fish it out before you die.

Sitting in the dark over the clear briny water watching the bioluminescent algae flash in pulses reminiscent of lightning bugs on a cool August evening in Appalachia will enlighten you and draw you closer to nature in a way that is hard to explain.  Its no wonder ancient tribes had such respect and viewed their environment in such reverent awe.

Below is a great example of an Over Night from Livit Films.

 

As you can see the opportunities in the Everglades are vast and friendships simply grow stronger there.

Now for the Public Service Announcement portion of this entry:

I run a tiller skiff.  Its my preference when it comes to how to operate a vessel.  I feel in touch with the water in a way that is hard to reduce to words.  I respect it too.

Years ago, I was running a tiller skiff across a deep basin in an estuary in Central Florida when the lower unit collided with a marine mammal of greater mass.  In the blink of an eye, I was sent headlong into the water as the skiff turned a sharp 45-90 degrees and was suddenly no longer beneath me.

When I emerged from below the surface, I was met with silence, but for the rhythmic splashing of my wake lapping the waterline of the skiff where she sat a few dozen yards away.

A great friend had always demanded the kill switch be worn when we duck hunted and the habit had stuck.

If it had not been for that switch and lanyard, I may have been in for a long swim or worse.

In a nut shell; if you’re operating a vessel, especially a tiller steering equipped skiff. ALWAYS WEAR YOUR KILL SWITCH LANYARD.

That concludes this PSA, brought to you by the wet guy dragging himself across the gunnel to fish another day.

Christmas Cheer, A Redfish & Beer

As jolly St. Nick prepares his sleigh and team of tiny reindeer, my thoughts move to the weather.  Just like Santa, I too plan to be active on Christmas Eve.  Now going on nine years, my tradition of spending the day outdoors on the water looks to be a tough one.

The forecast is filled with a stiff breeze and showers, but my hopes are not dashed.  I’ll be out there despite the weather.  Its going to be my last salty outing of the year, and I’m not about to pass just because its a little less than ideal in the weather department.

My Christmas Eve tradition is a day of reflection on the year past, its successes and failures (plenty of those), as well as a time to look forward to the coming year and what it might bring.

The cleansing I receive at the hands of the great outdoors and its beauty is why I fly fish, it is who I’ve become.  Just like the gifts brought by three wise men, the water delivers me a bounty that is hard to measure.

Less than a week ago, I spent the afternoon with my young son, chasing redfish in small creeks and ponds hoping to sow the same seed in him that my father nurtured in me.

On Christmas Eve I’ll be thankful for all that I’ve been able to do in the year past and look forward to more good times that will surely come.

 

Zane Porter Art

Zane Porter is an angler, artist, guide and generally all around good guy.  I’ve followed him on Instagram for a long while and always find his feed to be chock full of great images and examples of his unique style of art.

Recently he contacted me to ask if I would mind if he used a few of the images in my Instagram feed to create a piece of art.

I was flattered and of course said yes.

To my surprise, I found out this afternoon that he had also created a piece especially for me.

 

Tailer Park by Zane Porter

I have a serious art habit, so the addition of another original from a new up and coming artist to my collection is simply amazing.

If you are interested in acquiring a piece for yourself, I suggest you move quickly.  You can find his contact information by clicking here.

His subjects vary as well as the medium used to create the work.