Day 4 A Day of Firsts
Written by Stacy Chiasson-River Monkey
After a much needed down day yesterday, we woke up super early to meet up with our friend Dino to do a little fishing. Some might think we’re crazy to get up and go fish under some dock lights at 3am but I promise you, it was well worth it. In fact, it would prove to be a day of many firsts for both Kevin and me.
So with some coffee in our bellies and snacks in our bag we hopped aboard Dino’s flats boat and started out across the dark water. I have to admit, I was a little intimidated by it all at first. It was dark, there were fish, big fish with teeth all around us, it was dark! I’m not a huge fan of the ocean and certainly not at night when you can’t see what’s out there but I pushed all that aside and tried to be open to what I was about to experience. We steadied up to our first dock and after a few brief instructions from Dino, I threw out my first cast. It wasn’t quite were it needed to be but by the third cast I was hooked on something. A snook! What a great fight, much different than the average fresh water fish. This was awesome yet all I could hear is this little voice in my head repeating these two phrases, “It doesn’t count unless you net it” and “whatever you do, don’t hold the line. Let the fish take it”. Over and over again. So, I did just that and it worked. Before I knew it, with Dino’s guidance, the fish was in the boat. I landed my first snook. Yahoo!! I was sooo excited. The fish was incredible. Bright silver scales that reflected the camera’s flash with the darkest black line running right down the side, like a racing stripe and it’s huge mouth reminded me of a bass. After a few flashes from the paparazzi the fish was back in the water. Dino clipped the fly from the line and handed it to me like a badge of honor that I had earned. Boy was I proud of that. Kevin hooked it on my hat and I think I was beaming.
At this point one should only be gracious and share in the excitement so I let Kevin have his shot at it. It didn’t take long before there was another snook in the boat. As you can see from the photos above and below one snook is bigger than the other. We’ll let you be the judge of who’s is BIGGER!!
Ever wonder how one, and by one I mean a woman, pees on a flats boat out in the open in front of people’s homes and two men onboard? With a fair amount of coordination, balance and courage it can be done! Although the thought of hanging my butt off the back of a boat in the dark inches from the water where sharks are known to frequent scared me, it was necessary people! Like I said, this was a day of firsts!
Next, we shifted our attention to Jacks. Let me tell you, they may have been little but wowza did they put up a fight. I thought I had a huge fish on the end of my line. What they lacked in size they make up for in fight. This was another first for me. Two new species of fish all in a matter of an hour, on a fly, in the DARK!
We fished by dock lights until the stars faded and the sun began to cast it’s warm glow on the horizon. You could feel things come alive. The birds were singing and the fish were jumping all around us as if to say good morning sun! With the morning light came a new location and we quickly realize it was a wise and fruitful move. We could see and hear fish jumping out of the water chasing bait fish. And for quite some time all you could hear was Dino shouting, “over there, cast over there!” Feeling quite like a busy bee buzzing in circles but very much enjoying every minute of it.
Just when I think things are starting to slow down we watch a huge snook explode along a retaining wall. After a split second display of shock, disbelief and excitement all in one, Kevin spins and shoots his fly over to that very spot. The snook skoffs the fly and Kevin sets the hook and the fish is gone. Not gone as in “fish on” and taking line, gone as in not hooked, missed. The misery of setting the hook before the fish actually ate it covered Kevin’s face like a mask. “You can’t trout set,” may have been thrown out there a couple times by Dino. Oh so close yet no fish.
This day can’t get any better, right? Wrong! Remember, a day of firsts for both of us . As we make our way through this waterfront neighborhood Kevin continues casting to rising fish. By chance Dino spots a large wake over his right shoulder cutting across the front of the boat. He tells Kevin to cast to it. Immediately Kevin turns and throws the fly out aiming for a spot just ahead of the wake. The popper hits the water and Kevin pops it a couple times and instantly the wake changes direction and is headed straight for the popper. The water explodes and the popper is gone. FISH ON! It was s a strategic game of tug of war. One that would prove futile for this beast. There was no way Kevin was going to let this fish get away. Dino stretches out and nets the fish and we finally get our first look at what put up such a fight. A huge blue fish. The blue fish have typically made their way through this area by now so this was unexpected. It was also much bigger than they usually are here. Wow! Gorgeous fish. As you would expect, the fish had a visible blue color along the top and the belly being silver. Even after getting it into the boat the fish didn’t want to stop fighting. Kevin had a difficult time trying to juggle the fish into a photo ready position. We’d getting ready to snap a photo and the fish would flop out of his hand. It was quite funny to watch really. Finally after a few perfectly posed photos the fish was back in the water to swim another day. That’s right people, catch and release always!!
At this point we were all in agreeance that this was a good time to stop fishing. End the morning on a positive note, a fish landed. Reliving the entire adventure over breakfast while exchanging photos was the icing on the cake. This time with our friend Dino was incredible. A memorable day of firsts for Kevin and me. My first snook and jack and Kevin’s first blue fish in Florida. Great day, great friends and great fishing. What more could you ask for?!