Bear with me as we dwell into a little bit of my childhood. Growing up in Homestead,I was blessed with many areas to fish and many different ecosystems to explore. As a young child I have vivid memories of the smell of chum and the old two stroke Mercury 150 that was on the back of my family’s 22 foot Robalo. Many days were spent waiting for big snapper to take the bait, and I couldn’t wait to bring my mom fresh snapper (one of her favorites) and have a fish fry. Unfortunately my parents split up when I was four and the boat was lost in the process of divorce. So a whole new form of fishing filled my mind: Bass fishing from land.
January and february in Indiana is cold as a witches titty. The weather is very unpredictable. Some years we get no snow, and some years we get puked on. Lake effect snow and ice has been piling up this year shutting down roads and rivers but also giving me a chance to tie and regroup for the next day when the conditions are right. I look for weather systems that get the fish eager to eat. When we get a good south blow of warm air the creeks melt just enough to get the water moving, and murk it up just enough to unspook the fish. By warm air I mean anything above 20 degrees. We had a great sunday funday a few weeks ago and since then have had a couple warm days to get out and get at some Pheeeeeesh!
This past December 2014, Skinny Water Culture hosted their annual Christmas Party. Tons of people gave donations such as toys, money, and canned goods for those in need of help. There was a raffle held with some great prices, such as fishing charters, fishing gear and even a small boat/paddleboard. Our raffle was a little different, we decided to make a video about “A Day in the Life” with Jason Fernandez and myself. One lucky winner, Mark Vedder, from Tampa Bay area, came out and hung out for 2 days and we recorded the whole thing. We had tons of fun filming this as always, I hope you guys like it, ENJOY!!
It was a normal Saturday in the summer, which means boating day! The alarms went off at 6:00 am. Between struggling to get my mom up and going, I packed the truck with the cooler and all my rods I pre-rigged at 1:00 am the night before. We arrived in Tarpon Springs around 8 am, dropped the boat in, and headed to a couple of the flats I know hold fish year round. Once we got enough trout to have a fish fry we decided to hit the beach, relax and have some lunch.
If haven’t read the “0400 Hours” by Jason Fernandez, it is probably a good thing because this is the prequel. It was December 27th and we had decided to camp in Flamingo that weekend. The whole point was to take Jason’s 13 year old brother to catch his first redfish on fly. It had been a while since he had gone out with us. We had the Gheenoe that Vince had lent us for about a month or two. So having three people onboard was a breeze. Jason and Lared had stayed at my house the night before to get everything ready, from tent, grill, and Fly Rods. 0400 Hours and we were on our way to Flamingo.
Pics by Jason and Myself.
Over a week ago we had an unexpected guest show up at our house. Somehow a dog just started hanging out in the backyard with my Grandfather, who thinks he is a farmer as of recently. My little nephew thought it be cool to keep him around until someone around the neighborhood claimed him. Luckily enough my Mother did not argue with that, simply because she’s not a big fan of pets. We went around the neighborhood asking if anyone owned the dog. Here we are 2 weeks later and he is currently living with us. I took the responsibility of taking care of this 4 legged fury creature, who we now call “LOBO.”
It’s Been several weeks since our trip and memories seem to flow through my dreams like the tides we found ourselves in the hours before we set off on our second leg. The truck was loaded and the wind was calming my unsteady stomach. Minutes later we found ourselves parked outside of the Hells Bay canoe trail. I’ve never seen a trail like this and I doubt I will until I’m 360 miles south of the place I call home. There was a nice canopy of mangroves and other mixed scrubs. The sign had made this venture sound too easy to be true until I read “old timers describe this place as; hell to get into and hell to get out of”. I like challenges and I seemed to find comfort in the unknown of this place. We quickly unloaded everything and set off into the relentless twist, turns, and series of switch backs that made the road to Mordor seem like a joke.
It all began growing up in Upstate New York, Schoharie, NY to be specific, a very special place. My grandparents owned a camp on a small lake in the foothills of the Catskill Mountains where we would spend summers fishing and doing all of the other things people do where they’re not fishing.
Fishing at that point began to be the passion in my life.
My grandfather handed me a fly rod, after I asked him what was in the metal tube in the corner of the camp, which he gave to me. It was a 1950s Orvis 2 piece 5wt bamboo fly rod he had probably purchased at LL Bean. After he showed me the “10-2″ cast (for the record I actually never recall seeing my grandfather catch a fish on fly) I began to cast the buggy whip, hoping for a smallmouth to bite the black wooly bugger. He told me on the end of the dock, that there is “catching fish” and then there is “catching fish on fly!” (in his stern Marine tone). I am forever grateful for my grandfather, and for introducing me to fishing and the passion, fly fishing. Whether it is offshore or inshore, freshwater or saltwater, through the ice, with your hands, with a spear, with light spinning tackle, with heavy tackle, it all interests me, but at the end of the day…I’m always saying to myself… “Imagine this fish on fly! Imagine watching this fish eat your fly!”
Most of my fishing revolves around the clock. That being said, I work a “Monday to Friday” job and I don’t have to go in until noon-ish. I always hear people saying that they don’t have time to fish due to work, kids, or simply just a financial thing. Trust me, I completely understand were everyone is coming from and my situation my be totally different from yours. Some how, I always believe everyone can fit a little bit of fishing in their everyday schedule. Even if its casting at a pond on your way home from work can make your “Everyday Mundane” things to a very satisfying day knowing that you got to cast a rod.
This past weekend was the Annual Camping trip hosted by Rainer and Noel Schaels. This was the 7th straight year they have hosted this awesome event. I was an attendee last year for the very first time and I had a blast, this year was no different. The anticipation has been building up to this trip for the last month or so. I had called one of our really good friends, Alex “The Grizz” who recently moved back to Tampa, to see if he was gonna join us. Couldn’t have been more happy to have him being part of the trip. Finally, it was time to pack up our gear and head to the beautiful Everglades.
Pics by myself and Warren Chin. Read More…