Tagged Bonefish Capture!
The day started out like any other…convincing myself to get out of bed at 4:45am. It was tougher than usual after no fish with Sam Root the day prior…not to mention a series of unfortunate events. As I laid there the thoughts went through my head. This is what separates men who catch fish and men who sleep in. Somehow I managed to come to my senses and do what I always do…Go Fishing! I set out on the flats with some hopes of bonefish and the usual dreams of permit. It was a little windier than I hoped but I decided it might be a blessing in disguise as yesterday was slick calm. Around 6:45 I spotted a small school of bones. I put a sweet shot on them and had a instant hook up…as soon as it started it was over. The hook pulled and the whole school was gone in an instant. I figured I had a bit of time so I took a quick shot of the stunning view I have become so accustomed to.
I only needed to wait a few minutes and the next school appeared within casting distance already pushing a hard wake. The bones were moving fast and I tossed a hail mary. The shot landed perfectly and wouldn’t you know the little guy darted out and nailed it! As happy as I was to land the little bone I was still bummed because I forgot my tagging kit in the truck. He would have been a great candidate for a tag because of the quick fight. He was so frisky I could barley get the picture. Released him and he was on his way.
At this point my day was made and I really expected nothing more with the sun and the wind picking up by the minute. I poked around a little more covering some ground. To my surprise I spotted another school of bones tipping there tails and milling around. There is nothing more beautiful than a happy bonefish with his tail gleaming in the sun! I had to put a few shots on these guys to get a bite but in the end I got the thump I was looking for and it was off to the races! This bone took me all over…dodging crab pots and running the mangrove edges. As the wicked runs finally subdued to short little bursts I worked him toward my kayak. As he approached I was shocked to see a tag on his back! I have never caught a tagged fish before so I was super stoked! I realized the importance of a quick capture at this point so things got frantic. I scooped him up and cradled him in the kayak. I had to scrape all the dirt and slim off the tag to get the number. #23869! I wrote it on a piece of paper with lightning speed and snapped this quick photo. Sorry for the quality but things were frantic! As I reached in my kayak to grab my tape he slipped my grip and swam away about 10ft. We looked each other in the eye with a feeling of mutual respect. I took one step towards him and he said so long sucker and swam off as though he had never been caught! I estimated the fish at 25.5″ to the fork as I have caught some of similar size. So I didn’t get a measurement but the tag remains in the fish and most importantly he swam off strong to be caught again!