Gal who brung ya

Gal who brung ya

Gary Meyer | Tuesday, 9 April 2019

I finally got back on the water last week! Between a slow recovery from a simple head-cold, and a less than reliable fishing partner, it took me weeks to return to where some picky fish left me unfulfilled and dreaming about revenge.

In a way I envy those who have easy access to their fishing waters. The trips I take are a bit taxing. The drive begins many hours before sunrise, is quite a bit over an hour, the voyage by canoe is again at least that long, and then the physical labor of paddling for the rest of the day is at hand. When I fish solo, as I did this last trip, I usually like to camp the night before. Not only does that spread transportation over two days, but additionally, I can get on the water very early. Also, that way, I can drive later in the evening and avoid the urban traffic of South Florida. This last trip I was seriously considering camping after fishing, but as it turned out I was off the water earlier than I expected. So, instead, I just drove home carefully. Doubling the transportation makes for a long day. Apparently, many folks are concerned about my solo trips into the wilderness, but personally, I feel the most vulnerable on the roads! That is where I really appreciate a second pair of eyes.

The short story is I caught a handful of nice “slot-sized” snook, which means they were between 28 and 32 inches long and legal to harvest, although I do not keep snook. I just throw that in as many folks do love to eat them, and not surprisingly, slot fish are rare. Few are caught then released. Above-slot fish are actually pretty common, but not for the fly angler. Snook have large mouths and prefer a good-sized meal, which is tough to mimic with a fly. Slot fish are around the top of scale for fly-caught snook in the back.


It might be a tough sell to explain, but my trip was quite a disappointment! Numbers-wise, it was the best snook trip for me since the beginning of winter. That is the point though: it is no longer winter! The basking, visually enticing, sight-fishing snook targets of the backcountry have gone. In the interim between my last two trips, everything changed.


I went out with what I thought were some radical new ideas that were finally going to break the code on how to entice these picky winter fish. And then there were no fish to be seen. I played with my new flies and leaders. There were some glitches, but I was more than willing to adapt, but without fish to present to it was all academic.


What to do?


I punted.


There were areas where the waters are open, and deep, and dark: in other words, good summertime snook water. So I dug out my tried and true flies with which I have much confidence from years of experience… and I began to catch fish. Ho-hum.


I guess I will now have to wait until next winter to see if my crazy ideas will work. And so it goes.


In the southern culture of the US, there is an old saying that “You dance with the gal that brought ya”. On this last trip, my old gal and I danced up a storm, but I just could not stop thinking about the pretty ones.