Monday, February 9, 2009

Taking the good with the bad

South Florida the last 4 or 5 days has felt more like northern Michigan, not that I would know since I have never been there but, I always hear how stinkin cold it is up there. The sun is finally starting to make an appearance today and the temperatures are suppose to get all the way to 74 today. However, this latest cold snap has really put a hurting on the inshore fishing here, this morning we cut our trip short becuase the water temps are still in the 50's and in case your from northern Michigan and you don't know that is freakin cold for this area. The silver lining in all this is that until it warms I always have the snook on the dock lights to fall back on. When I left you last I was on my way out the door for a night snook trip, my anglers that night were Justin Rufo and his dad Rick. Justin is from Virgina and when he booked the trip I thought his name sounded familiar, well as it turns out he grew up in Stuart and we lived in the same neighborhood as kids. We knew loads of the same people but for some reason really knew each other even though we are only one year apart, small world. Oh well, lets get to the good stuff. Justin started flyfishing this past summer and has really caught the bug, I know many of you remember that feeling, I know I do. When I put the boat in the water Friday night my water temperature gauge read 56 degrees and as many of you know snook are not big fans of anything below 60. On my way to pick up Justin and Rick I stopped at a light and caught a snook on my first cast, this was a good sign of things to come. As we were planning our night I learned that Justin was pretty much a rookie at flyfishing and that his dad Rick had never flyfished before. At that point I really didn't know what I was getting myself into but, they both had an incredible attitude about it and, if you know me I have tons of patience. This turned out to be the perfect recipe for a perfect night. Justin took the bow at the first light and got bit right off the bat but he missed the hook up, no big deal, off to the next light. The next light was full of snook and I could sense Justin's excitement grow, maybe it had to do with him repeatedly saying "look at all those snook!". Needless to say we were both happy to see so many fish in the light. I explained to Justin where he needed to cast in order to get bit and the first few attempts were off the mark. Then, after laying out the perfect cast I said, "that's it be ready.". Bang, Justin was hooked to his first saltwater fish on a fly rod and his life changed that moment, he is now addicted! He had such a great attitude about it from the beginning I think he was addicted before we even started. Justin landed the nice 26 inch snook, his first snook on a fly rod, and no one had a camera! That's right, I did not bring my camera!? We tried the camera phone thing but that doesn't work at night. Justin with his cool attitude said, "No big deal, let's get some more." By the end of the night Justin had landed about 9 snook on the fly rod. Here is where the story gets better, Justin's dad Rick was really enjoying what he was seeing and finally said I want to give this a try. Rick had never even picked up a fly rod before! After a few attempts, I made a cast and asked Rick to strip it in. It was now Rick's turn to see what all the stink is about. After Rick landed his snook, he immediately called a buddy. "Your not going to believe this but, I just caught a 26 inch snook on a fly rod and it was awesome!" Another one addicted? Maybe it is too soon to tell but I see the potential. After Rick caught another one on one of my casts, he decided to try again on his own. I must admit they were not the sexiest loops I had ever seen (sorry Rick) but, he managed to get a cast in the right area and hooked and landed his very own snook on the fly. All in all, we managed a dozen snook on so and they were all between 24 and 26 inches, very respectable fish especially for 56 degree water temps. Watching those guys fish the dock lights really brought back a lot of memories for me, like so many fly anglers from this area, this is a great way to cut your teeth. I sometimes overlook the dock lights because of the timing, either waking up in the middle of the night to hit them in the morning or up past midnight fishing them in the evening, either way the timing is tough. However, nights like that with such good people who were so appreciative makes me want to do it more. Plus it is a great way to beat the weather. Since we had no pictures Justin and I did it again early Sunday morning, this time he caught five in about an hour and a half before sunrise and we have pictures to prove it. The fish were a little small on Sunday, and since we don't have any pictures from Friday night I guess you will just have to believe it is not a fish tale? After the sun came up on Sunday the fishing was tough, I believe we only managed a couple small jacks and some vultures to photograph. I am waiting for Justin to email me some pictures of his snook so in the mean time I will post the pictures of the turkey vultures and some of an ospray having lunch. Spring is not far away so stayed tuned it only gets better from here.

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