Another day in the books here in the 10,000 Islands. The wind did not help our cause, but we still managed to catch some fish on fly and spin, and see some of the wildlife this area is known for.
With 15 knot winds out of the southwest, the passes into the gulf were lumpy, and the water “chalky” as our guide put it. We quickly netted a live-well’s worth of menhaden (pogies in Florida) and went in search of Tarpon. We found them, but with the strong breeze, the fish were content not to roll on the surface. While we had a few shots at fish, we were unable to connect.
After that, we spent the rest of the day casting popping corks and live menhaden to the edges of mangroves, catching snapper, snook, red drum, ladyfish, jack, and even a small barracuda. We also say a few blacktip reef sharks, including a young pup that cruised in the wash right behind the boat, and who would chase any of the lures I put into the water.
I did manage a couple snook and a nice drum on some home-made flies once the tide got low enough. At high tide, the mangroves provide shelter to bait deep within their root systems, and game-fish follow them in. This puts most of the snook, red drum, and juvenile tarpon dozens of feet beyond the edges of the forest, and keeps them from ever seeing flies or bait. As the tide receded, the fish are forced back out to the edges of the mangroves, where they can be fished effectively.
All in all it was a tough, but satisfying day. Tomorrow will be windy again, but after two days of practice we’ll make the best of it.