Friday, July 23, 2010
I was recently kicking around the local fly shop down here and was talking to my buddy Chris. A long time customer of his, a seasoned veteran fly guy from South Eastern Florida also stopped by. While we were shooting the bull, we got to talking about wade fishing opportunities to flats fish in the area. Chris and I have a few spots we like to frequent on the regular, but, are always looking for new spots. Unfortunately, down this way, there are very few flats you can access on foot to fish for Bones and Permit that actually will produce fish. Jay was unbelievably kind and dug into his mental GPS and threw us a bone. He told us in his opinion the "BEST" wade fishing spot in all of Southern Florida that he had found in all of his years stalking the big 3 from shore ( the big three being Permit, Bonefish and Tarpon). Not only did he tell me where to go, but he told me the tide he liked there, where to park, and what flies to bring! So, we swore to Jay that our lips were locked and we would throw out the key as to where "Destination X" was.....because lets face it, loose lips sink ships and we did not want to spoil his secret spot that he was kind enough to share with us. So, we went back on our way telling fish tales of past fishing ventures, discussing new fly patterns, and listened to some more of Jay's colorful stories with his precise attention to detail and amazing ability to paint a mental picture of exactly where he was at a particular time and place.
After I left the shop, I went home and checked the tides for the following day at Jay's secret zone. Strangely enough, the exact tide he described as to be ideal in his spot was predicted for the next day. I checked the weather and everything looked good, south west wind was in the forecast which is ideal for sight casting from shore on the east coast, and there were no off shore storms brewing so swell was minimal. So I decided I would try my luck out there and give it a whirl and hopefully would run into a few Bonefish, and maybe even get a few to eat. I spun up some small Crabby patterns, and some shrimp imitations and went to bed early to get ready for a long morning in the hot Florida.
As I was driving the next morning, I went over everything Jay had told me in my head. I followed his perfect directions and found his parking spot that he had described to me. I strung up the 8 wt, grabbed my stripping basket, loaded up my face with some SPF 1,000, and hit the beach just as the sun was rising over the Atlantic. As soon as I got to the water, I spotted 3 Bones tailing right on the shore! To be honest, I didn't even have any line stripped off of my reel yet and spooked them almost as soon as I saw them. DAMN IT! I swore that the next fish I saw I was going to be ready and make a presentation to it. I peeled off about 80 feet of line, neatly placed it in my home made stripping basket, and got ready to make a cast. I walked about 30 more feet and spotted 5 Bones heading my way about 60 feet away from me. They were nosed down and were recklessly chomping everything in their path. I made a false cast and plopped the fly down just in front on the school. As soon as they saw it, they rushed the fly like a fat kid to a buffet table leaving a wake behind them. These fish pushed up water like a Tsunami as they were B lining right to my fly in their competition for survival of the fittest! Fish on! Almost instantly the Beach Boner had me into my backing and was ripping line off of the reel. It fought hard for about 5 minutes, then threw up the white flag and let me ease it into my net. It was not a huge Bone, but definitely a solid fish that probably went about 3 lbs of pure piss and vinegar. I grabbed a quick photo, and then released it back onto the sand flat where it had fought so hard from. The Bone darted off hopefully to be caught again another day by another angler when he has fattened up a bit. This was the start of nothing less than an epic day of Florida Bonefishing. I luckily ended up hooking 9 Bonefish that morning and landed 6 of them ranging from 1-5 lbs. This is a stellar day by Florida Bonefishing standards out of a boat, never mind walk wade fishing on the beach and not having to get my feet wet. I owe it all to Jay! Without his gift to Chris and myself, I would be stuck combat wading the same old flat with everyone else in this part of the state. Thanks Jay! I owe you my man.