What a week!
Basically I've been Tarpon fishing. Greg Rahe, FFF Certified Instructor (I mention this for a reason – and not because his casting's crap), Key West guide and Board regular, took me out for a couple of nights at the start of the week and gave me the key to his apartment! And then FFF Master Instructor Tom White, Greg and I went all out together, Wednesday I think – although it's hard to remember which day of the week it was when you didn't know at the time – and Tom managed to hook me in the palm of the hand. And then over the weekend I spent a wonderful time with FFF Master Instructor Gordy Hill. In fact it's all been a wonderful time, casting, fishing and jumping Tarpon with casting fishing nuts.
And I've been learning. Funny thing is at the start of the week I wasn't so sure. That completely and irrevocably changed yesterday when for the first time I can remember since I was a schoolboy, my legs turned to jelly. Get this, brothers (and sisters), I've been fishing the world over, and I really didn't think I could care less anymore whether I hook up, lose fish, or whatever – just so long as I fish well – but standing there on Gordy's boat, on the bow, waiting to get into place, and then finally being there, beside a school of [imaginary] Tarpon, making that cast, I almost fell overboard.
And so I have to do it again. And I'm about to do it again, for eight days straight with Frank. Frank's another FFF Master and Board member – hell, Frank's become a good friend and has been around Sexyloops for quite a few years now. Greg, Tom, Gordy, Frank… and Michael Gallart – he was down for a long weekend and we cast together (the weather was poor for spotting fish) and he's an FFF CI too. What a bunch of complete nuts I've found here in the US. And make no mistake, they really are all completely mad. I think saltwater fly does that to you. It's possibly the salt air or else the seal's fur, but it's most probably the fact that any minute five hundred 100-pound plus Tarpon could porpoise past you, completely distorting your sense of both gravity and reality.
When I pointed out to Marc Bale of Sage that Tarpon weren't trout and said I thought I may not like it, he wrote back:
I think you'll think you won't like tarpon fishing until you see your first fish. As you begin to cast, you'll notice your throat is just a tad dry and that your knees aren't quite working the way they were when you got onto the boat that morning. As you begin false casting, you'll be wondering if you can make this all happen. When the water explodes on your first set up and 150 yards of line evaporates in the first 15 seconds, I think at that point you'll change what little is left of your mind...
How did he know there was little left of my mind???
They have a fighting technique here they call “down and dirty” which is quite interesting because it has a quite profound effect on the fish – basically it disorientates them. The technique is to stick the rod, tip-first, deep into the water, so that the angle of the pull is delivered from beneath the fish. They don't like this and I can't wait to try it on stillwater trout to see what they make of it. But I have to try it out on some more Tarpon first, just to make sure I fully understand the technique – it's a bit complicated.
So there you are: another completely imaginary Vortex. I bet you can't wait for the next one.
I would write more but I'm way way behind on my emails and Frank arrives the day after tomorrow and so I'm trying to clear the decks. Incidentally I always seem to be playing catch-up at the moment… anglers, huh? We're the most unreliable people on the planet – but hey, what do you expect? Fish reign our lives. Better than a woman, right? (Only kidding; it's much better to be ruled by a woman – just so long as you're not ruled by both).
“Are you single, Pall?”
“Nope, I'm a fishdude. Fancy a bit of infidelity? The tide won't be turning for another hour at least”
(That always works)
Have a fantastic week, whatever you're doing. And enjoy Lars' company. There will be PoDs, I hope, and Frank may even write a few. Now that should be interesting…
Related links: Jump me!