Day 1: I arrived to an incredible scene…pink sky, light warm wind, any shiny silver tails waving about…this is what summer fishing is all about. I was in perfect position as I took quality shots at tailing bonefish crossing the flat. I continued on later in the morning to the next flat. I waited for any signs of life and then I spotted a big single bone belly crawling across the flat. I staked out the boat headed after him on foot. After about five casts I finally got him to see the fly…his dorsal raised and he pounced on it…I came tight and after about a five second run my leader broke. I was kind of bummed, but at this point I’m pretty used to the abuse. The tide continued to rise as I went from spot to spot. I headed to a nice flat that I see permit on from time to time. At this point the wind is starting to crank and the current is crazy. The second I get on the flat I see a school of 10 permit…I’m totally not ready but manage to get the fly out there. I had one peel off the school and follow it for a good while but eventually he turned off. At this point I have already drifted out of range so I idle off the flat and come back around. I know this is going to be near impossible solo with the wind and current but I give it another go. As I come on the flat I see the school in the same spot…I run to the back of the boat and stake it out to hold me in place. When I come back to the front to take a shot they are coming toward me. I fire out the crab fly and the lead fish rushes it…its a nice one about 25lbs….it gives the fly a close inspection but turns off as usual. Out of the corner of my eye I see one of the smaller ones (10-15lbs) coming up to investigate….I give it a strip and he kicks his tail hard….I let it fall….THUMP…holy shit!!!! The permit just ate my damn fly!!! I raised my rod in disbelief and I was on! After about 150-200 shots over the last year I can’t believe it finally happened. I carefully battled the permit for near 20 minutes on my 9wt. I survived everything he threw at me, including some incredible bursts of energy right next to the boat. He is starting to roll over and I am beginning to believe I am about to land my first permit on fly…solo! We go back and forth as I try to get my hand on the leader….it felt like an eternity. I know this is the most important part of the fight…the less line you have out the less room for error. This is a lesson I have learned the hard way several times over. I high stick the permit back in range and lean out for the leader…a net and it would have been a done deal. Finally I grip the leader….I begin to lift, and out of nowhere the tippet breaks!!! WTF! The permit is sitting right there…without hesitation I jumped in head first after him and tried to grab his tail! I’m not sure what the hell I was thinking….It felt like I just dropped a diamond ring in the water and was watching it sink. I climbed back in the boat and immediately threw an intense temper tantrum. So much energy, time, and money invested in the capture of this evil fish…I had it done and I blew it. Who knows when I will hook my next one…it could be 5 years or maybe never. At this point I’m trying to collect myself when I realize I had my iPhone in my pocket. Great…to add insult to injury, that mistake cost me $250. After about 30 minutes of sulking and asking the fish gods “why?” I head back home with my tail tucked. Not a single minute went by all afternoon and evening I didn’t think about going back in the morning. I rerigged all my rods and made sure everything was in order.
Day 2: When I woke up, I jumped out of bed. I was on a mission. I knew before I even got on the water that a trophy fish would be captured on this day. I arrived at the launch 15 minutes early. Within 10 minutes of getting to the flat I was hooked up with a nice bone. He ran me deeper into my backing then I have ever been. Everything was perfect! Trophy in hand with a beautiful sunrise backdrop…Sweet victory! For the next 3 hours I didn’t even fish. I sat on my boat, staked out on the flat and took in all the things I love about life. What an incredible addiction…so difficult…so much abuse…but there is nothing more rewarding.
I will leave you with a sneak peek…you will have to wait until I put together the summer video to watch it!