Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Once-in-a-lifetime day

I've been sight-fishing the surf with fly rod for 25 years. I've done OK during that span, catching and releasing an average of 250 snook per season. Most of them are small, 20-22 inches. Every once in a while, I'll encounter a really big snook, but they rarely even look at the fly.
On Aug. 17, I had a day that I'll never forget. I caught six snook of better than 28 inches, including one that taped out at 38 inches. The big snook was fat, so I estimated it to weigh at least 20 pounds. That's a mighty fine fish on 6-weight.
In addition, I landed three redfish (not a usual surf catch here) to 32 inches, several small jack crevalle, a ladyfish, mangrove snapper and blue runner.
The highlight of the day came when I jumped three tarpon, another first for me. They were big fish, all going better than 100 pounds. I had one on for five jumps and a long run. When I looked at my spool, I had about two turns of backing left, so I grabbed the spool and broke the fish off. I figured it was better than losing an entire fly line.
I have no idea why the action was so good. The barometer was low and it was three days prior to the new moon. In addition, the tide was incoming.
The next day, Ken Taylor of North Port and I hit the same beach.
We caught one snook.
Conditions were virtually the same. I did notice that the baitfish were not thick like they had been the day prior.

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