Off season

Off season

Gary Meyer | Tuesday, 23 July 2019

I really want to go fishing! It does not seem right that I have not been out on the water for a “real” trip in over a month. I make tentative plans, semi-organize my equipment, and begin to contemplate my options, but then as the weekend draws near the weather reality sinks in and, defeated, I recognize that I will be staying home once again.

In the past, I have half-jokingly suggested that the reason there are so few true fly casting addicts in Florida is that we can fish almost 365 days a year. Who wants to practice casting when fishing is always available?


I now believe I need to amend that statement – not the part about the lack of comp level casters, but the suggestion that we do not have an “off” season.


I keep rather extensive notes on all my trips. I always have. Some date back to the days before personal computers and are scrawled into lab notebooks with pen and ink. They are fun to peruse, but almost as tedious to review as they were to document. Since going digital, my notes are much more accessible. In fact, I began to chain yearly notes into single documents so I could more easily look for trends. It was a quick review of the last 8 years that really opened my eyes.


While contemplating my options, I was having a hard time deciding where I might want to go. I know where I can likely find some fish to stretch my string, but the cost versus value analysis was perplexing. So, I decided to review my notes to see which locations have, in recent history, been best in July. What I found surprised me.


Since 2010 I found only 7 reports from trips that took place in the month of July. And the majority of those were trips aboard other angler’s boats that had no true agendas other than boat and motor maintenance. The worst thing you can do to a boat is let it sit. Gas ages, bearing get stiff, and almost as importantly, the boat’s owners and anglers get out of practice. Many of those trips were simply invitations to take a boat ride to, metaphorically speaking, “just keep all the joints flexible”. There were other July entries over the years but almost all of them were essentially bitching about the weather.


Considering that I commonly fish every weekend during most months of the year, the fact that I averaged less than one trip per July during the last eight years is rather significant. Apparently, there are reasons other than the water being frozen solid that keep serious anglers from wetting their fly lines.


So much for us not having an off season in Florida!


Thankfully, fly fishing encompasses much more than the simple act of angling. There are flies to tie, lines to clean, rod/reel/line/fly combinations to try, books and magazines to read, satellite photos to scrutinize, new equipment and techy gadgets to purchase or covet… and the list goes on. And, of course, there is always casting practice.


So… do me a favor, if the weather gods allow, go fishing!


It’s a tough job but somebody has to do it.