Finally was dragged back kicking and screaming from an awesome couple weeks down south in Florida. It took a few days to decompress from decompressing…now comes digging out of the pile of work that built up while I was gone. It was a few weeks spent hanging out, first with the wife and then the second week with friends, and with no agenda or schedule. I posted a few shots on other spots during the stay but figure a brief recap is in order here as I get back in the swing.
After driving through the night to get to New Smyrna Beach, the wife and I pulled in to town and spent the first day down there getting any small errands done, relaxing, and letting people know we made it. The next morning we were up bright and early and off to meet up with Tim Baker from East Coast Paddle to pick up the custom boards that we had ordered. I wanted mine for playing in flatwater and fishing while the wife wanted hers for yoga, so we ordered up the stable flatwater boards from ECP to accommodate those target uses. The wait was well worth it as the boards came out amazing. Mine specifically is the ’Slab’ model which comes in at 11’x35”x4.75” and was ordered up in custom wood airbrushing and black pads. With 16 leash cups I have plenty of tie downs to go on any expedition I would ever care to take…or just use the ones for the cooler and day-tripping.
I did get out with my good friend Mike Mann to chase fish around twice while I was down there. The first day I had more shots than most trips I have taken but was met with the typically snooty attitude of Mosquito Lagoon fish. After I got the morning jitters out by landing the fly on a few backs I settled in and made solid shots but they would simply swim away as if they had not a care in the world and ignored us. Bottom of the ninth I switched up and did get a nice fish to hand.
The second day out with Mike the pickings were slim and we have a nice bed of fluffy white clouds to put some gnarly glare on the water as an extra challenge. No tails up so most fish were practically at the rod tip before we spotted them and going was tough. As we worked our way in to one large basin we started to hear some heavy thunder coming from off in the distance…well south towards Titusville but close enough to keep an eye on. As the front came in the tails went up and we had a few shots at doubles that either line spooked or felt the boat, then we saw the mother-load…a double with a half dozen fish 20’ past them. We worked our way in to position and I could feel myself tightening up as the storm was to the point that I knew this was it before leaving the water early for the day. As it turns out the double was actually two fish with tails up and another between us so my cast was a bit close for that fish and it swam off and put the other two down. Not happy about that but it was not the end of the world since the other pod of half a dozen good tails was still happily working the bottom. With the last put down fresh in my head I was a little shy about the casting so I started well out from the group and worked each cast closer in to avoid another unseen blowout. On the seventh or eighth presentation I gave the fly a little hop twitch and watched the tails get excited, then after a second twitch one moved through the group and I came tight. Then all hell broke loose as the fish took off and in a matter of seconds had taken all the fly line and 150 yards or so of backing. After a good fight that thick fish was in hand with a Borski cornered in it's mouth, and boga’d just over the 8lb mark.
A few pictures later it went back in the water and the celebratory beers came out. I am not a Corona guy, but that beer tasted phenomenal! With a few high fives as the beers went down we continued to scan for tails but the storm was on us and wrapping around the west side as well so it was time to head back early.If you are looking to get out on Mosquito Lagoon I cannot recommen Mike Mann's Fat Fish Guide Service highly enough...give him a call and book it up at 386.295.5991.
Not one to stay out all day in the sun I retreated to Peanuts each afternoon adn got in a little Buzztime quiz game. Some local wins, national rankings, and a perfect game were had. Love to learn a bit while having some tasty brew!
We were worried that nobody had seen our Gopher Tortoises since some construction took out an area that they used to feed in next to the condos, but the day before we left one of the little guys made an appearance so they must still be around!
Paddleboard yoga was fun for the group as well. Some had been out on them before but for some this was the first time on a paddleboard but they still threw down on some poses…my contribution was taking pictures.
Back to reality now though and working through orders that had been on hold. Also hope to take advantage of the warm water fishing that has been on fire here in Ohio while I was gone. Going to be in town now for the next few months so there should be more regular updates around here again...and hopefully some good local fish shots along with the flies!