Gary Meyer | Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Well, another week has passed and disappointingly I did not get down to the mangroves once again. There are three major impediments that I have to overcome to fish down there the way I prefer this time of year: heat, bugs, and rain.

Heat is no joke, but it can be tolerated with the right attitude, knowledge, and good planning. The activity required of flycasting, fighting fish and paddling a canoe almost guarantee that excessive uncomfortable sweating, muscle cramps, and aggravation can be expected daily. But it goes a lot further than simple discomfort: heat stroke can kill you! Some think I’m secretive or maybe not a generous person because I seldom offer to take others fishing this time of year, but I have in the past and once put the other angler and myself in a very uncomfortable situation. They could not take the heat and started down the path through heat exhaustion into stroke! Miles from the launch, which was miles from civilization, I had to paddle us both back, and quickly. We both survived, but we felt the effects for days. That ain’t happening again.

Bugs can also be tolerated with the right choice of clothing and modern insect repellant technology. I often return with nary a bite, but that doesn’t mean I enjoyed their company. The incessant whine of mosquitoes and the undeterred assault from deer flies gets on my nerves, not to mention the reduced visibility due to wearing a headnet.

Despite the above I see it all as just part of the price of admission. And it is a price I feel is a bargain for the entertainment value offered.

It is the rain that has been the main factor keeping me away though. I’m not sure if others have noticed it but this summer the rains have come upon us in an uncommon pattern. Years past, a day of summer rain was sometimes quite favorable. A cloudy day with light rain meant a break from the heat, although it seemed to make the bugs meaner. The fish, especially the small tarpon seemed to love those conditions and I had some epic trips. This year the rains are clustered into small singular thunderstorm cells that have a patchwork pattern that covers large swaths of the Florida peninsula. So, this year, when it rains it pours and the big sparks fly. In a canoe that terminates fishing and initiates bailing, but it is the lightning bolts that will make you question your sanity. Besides, any rainy day also means days of recovery trying to dry out every piece of gear because everything gets soaked.

So, so far, I have not seen a window where I thought a trip might be worth it. But that doesn’t mean I have gone fishless. Another trip to the local canals proved quite entertaining. I continued to enjoy my 4wt and I field-tested a number of trout flies. A size 14 elk hair caddis proved quite attractive to the local panfish, both exotic and native. In the end the catch of the day turned out to be one of our intentionally introduced “carp”. The fellow below put up quite a lengthy battle…

grass carp RSFSL