I’ve known Tanner for years. He’s been in love with Mosquito Lagoon since before he was able to drive. Years ago, his parents would drive him over to Oak Hill so that he could explore and fish the area from a Gheenoe.
There is no doubt he’s developed a vast knowledge of Mosquito Lagoon in that time, but what strikes me most about Tanner, is that he is always seeing more.
The last time we spent time on the water together was around Thanksgiving and as always, we had a great time and shared in the joy of giving a few redfish a quick ride in the skiff.
When planning to fish this time, our expectations for good weather was high.
Unfortunately, as is often the case, the weather guessers got it wrong.
The calm winds and clear skies we were expecting were actually a fresh breeze from the NNW coupled with thick clouds.
The first area we chose to fish had decent water clarity and a bit of visibility tight along the shoreline. As we poled along we spent time catching up on the latest happenings. Its times like these that I cherish the most about a day on the water with a good friend. Life’s normal distractions fade to the background and the topics of the moment are of our choosing. They are typically something fun, upbeat and positive.
A redfish appeared along the shoreline, hovering along, over the sand as it silently searched for its morning meal. Tanner was the first to see it and with a calm and deliberate clock position and distance had me focused on the prize. My first cast landed precisely where it should to set up a crossing pattern between fish and fly, but while in mid flight, the redfish’s attention had been peaked by something else and after it had turned to inspect the distraction, it had reversed course,
Before being able to adjust to the change, the distance between the fish and the skiff had shrunk to inside of 30 feet.
Sadly, my accuracy at that range was horrible and the open loopy cast I attempted smacked the redfish right on the head and it was over.
Shortly after that failed attempt, we made a decision to try another area in hopes of changing our luck. One redfish per mile of shoreline wasn’t really cutting it…
Despite the fresh breeze, we elected to fish open water over a well known bar to take advantage of better water clarity.
Tanner had hopped up front to give it a go and off we went.
The overcast skies were beginning to break up a bit and blue sky was peeking through at times. As one of the breaks in cloud cover streamed past, the sunlight illuminated the light sandy bottom as if stadium lights had been turned on. It was all we needed to expose a lone redfish that was swimming parallel to the skiff 45 feet away.
Tanner let fly a back cast as soon as the fish was seen and a couple of twitches of the fly were met with a flaring of gills that signaled success.
As I staked-off the skiff, we saw flyline turn to backing as the fish tried to make the county line in an effort to escape.
We spent the next hour or two meandering to the south exploring a large flat where we saw several tailing fish, but I was unable to coax any of them to eat my crabby offering.
Eventually, I relented and offered Tanner the bow again and resumed the role of pushing.
What was once a cloud covered sky had morphed into a nearly cloudless sky and the brightly lit result had given us hope for even more opportunity.
We transitioned back to shorelines and eventually found another unsuspecting redfish that became our focus.
Tanner worked through a couple of presentations and soon was tight again.
The entire stalk and resulting hook-up was accomplished with a simple low whistle and nod, as I was on the phone with a client when the fish appeared.
I wrapped up the call just in time to hop down and snap a couple of pictures to memorialize the event.
We wrapped up our day on the water a little while later and headed back in.
I’m always thankful to have spent time on the water with Tanner, he’s one of the nicest folks you’ll ever meet.
If you’re ever looking for a capable guided to lead you to a successful day on Mosquito Lagoon, you’ll do yourself a favor booking him for the trip.