In the past, I had an alternative for just this type of situation: a remote river (actually a creek) that not only offered protection from the wind but also was reliable for decent backcountry fishing. The thing was, I had not bothered to try that particular waterway since the hurricane, which was over a year ago. There was no need… I knew the storm would make it impassable. It was quite a chore even before the storm.
What else was I going to do? It seemed like the perfect excuse to investigate the situation. Wood rots quickly in our steamy semitropical warmth. Maybe enough time had passed? There was only one way to find out. If I could not get through at least I had not wasted a good fishing day!
To make a long story short, and I do mean long, I did manage to get through the creek but it took almost half of the day. And, this is not a one-way trip! I had to return the same way I arrived. By the end of the day, I was really tired of getting out and dragging my canoe over fallen tree trunks. On the way in I kept saying to myself, “If there is another one like this I’m turning around”. Of course, I never did turn around.
So you can imagine my frustration when I arrived at my destination, a small pond, only to find I was on the down-wind side in a natural funnel and the wind was over 20 mph and gusting. So, this is where fly fishing, actually casting, and fly rods, enter the story.
I have been evaluating a 10wt model for a while, and to be honest I did not really like it much. It is very light for a 10, but also very stiff: all butt and very little bend until the snappy little tip. This is not what I usually find comfortable, but I had brought it along because of the wind. OK…maybe the fact that if it got broken during the endeavor I would not be out any money might have entered the equation too? Who can say?
For some time now I have been practicing my distance casting and incorporating the tactic of bracing the rod butt against my forearm during the back cast. You know what? By using that grip, with that fast, stiff, and light 10wt I was able to actually cast! And yes… the juice was worth the squeeze: the fishing was excellent! I can almost guarantee those fish had not been bothered by another angler for over a year.
My other trip, with a buddy, was so much easier it was almost effortless. We traveled a completely open route on a day with light wind. Again, the fishing was quite good. On both trips, and on most that I have taken since the summer, there have been high concentrations of juvenile snook. That makes for a day of flyfishing fun. It also makes the future look bright, and it is a big relief. This is how it used to be a long time ago, but a few years back small snook were hard to find, which was very disturbing. To put some icing on the cake, we also got into some truly mature snook and I brought one beauty to the canoe that was my best for the entire year. I had hoped to include the photo, but it is on my buddy’s phone and I don’t have it yet.
So… happy new year to you all!
It has been a pleasure to be allowed to occasionally share my thoughts with Y'all. Keep practicing your casting! And keep going fishing! In both cases, your efforts will be rewarded in 2019!