Back Up Tails – Islamorada Variety

by Eric Estrada August 07, 2013

Last week, fellow blogger Jeremy Loercher hit me up and said he’d be making his way down to the Keys, and asked if I’d hitch up my skiff and meet him in Islamorada to put a bend on the long rods. I checked my schedule and the conditions and agreed. So Sunday night I drove down to the Kon Tiki Resort and met up with Jeremy in Islamorada.

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First thing in the morning, we jumped in the truck and made a pit stop at the Trading Post to pick up some sandwiches from the Deli. As we got back to the Kon Tiki, the skiff was waiting for us in the water. Made our short 200 yard run to World Wide Sportsman and topped off the skiff, then we set off to look for some fish. I pulled up to a spot that I had seen a bunch of permit during tarpon season and I’m telling Jeremy where to expect them to pop up. And like clock work, tails were skyward. I slowly started to make our way to the tailing permit, as the bottom was quite noisy. But of course, just as we got into casting range, the fish went off into the depths of the adjacent channel.

I hold us in position, expecting them to pop back up on the edge of the flat but nothing. We heard something splashing behind us and what do we see? A couple schools of tailing bonefish happily feeding. I spin the skiff around and Jeremy takes his shot. Great cast, strip strip strip, charge, stop, strip strip, charge, stop, strip.  The fish kept on moving. Wondering why he didn’t hook up, as a couple of bones charged his fly, we quickly see another school approaching. Happy fish happy tailing, Jeremy makes his cast at what we thought was ahead of the school. Except there was one bonefish ahead of the school, not tailing, just hiding like a creep. Surprisingly, the moment the fly landed on it’s back,  he took off spooking every other bonefish on the flat.

I turn around and spot a fish floating in the deep. At a quick glance, my initial thought was permit. But I quickly realized it was a triple digit Tarpon laid up. I started making my way there, knowing that Jeremy had a 9wt in hand, with a permit fly and a 10lb tippet. He made his casts and of course, it was also ignored. We hoped to at least get an eat on video.

After not seeing anything but a few rolling tarpon, we decided to run to another spot where the redfish and bonefish have been frequenting. Sure enough, the moment we get there, I spot some reds pushing wakes and within 5 minutes Jeremy had landed and released the first fish of the day.






Got back at it and poled him over to another group of fish and it was on. There were wadded up big fish tailing in large numbers.

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After a while, we switched up. I just got a new 7wt Xi3 that I was dying to put to work, so I grabbed it out of the rod rack and jumped on the bow, but we weren’t seeing many fish. We would see a few single pushes a ways away. We saw a large wake making it’s way over to us but as it got close, I noticed it was a huge ray. But I noticed the depth we were in, and the size of the ray, and something inside me told me to cast at it. So as it got into range, I put my fly on it’s back. Strip, Strip Strip, Set! The ray went flying off to my right, my line went screaming off to the left. within a minute it was into my backing. I was putting some heat on it, but it wouldn’t budge. Finally, it began to tire out and I got him in.





Spent the next 20 minutes casting at schools of reds that started to show up. The wind and clouds showed up so we made our way back in. Poked around a couple other areas in hope to find some more bonefish, but it wasn’t happening with the conditions quickly deteriorating. We made our way to Morada Bay for some food before making my trek back to Miami.


A couple months ago, both my Costa’s and Maui’s broke in similar fashion. I was shadesless, and was looking for something new. A few months earlier, I came across a company on instagram called Dizm Eyewear. They had caught my attention, but at the time I wasn’t in need of glasses. So when I found myself in need, I had to try them out. I got a couple of pairs and put them to work. They’re more stylish than the average pair of fishing glasses, and they work quite well. I’ve been using them for about two months now and they’ve held up great. They seem to be a good affordable option for someone in the market for some shades.




Until next time,

-Eric Estrada

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