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phil030

Hell Yeah Let's Go!

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Last Wednesday night was fly tying night at Barfly in Safety Harbor and a bunch of regulars showed up for a little lesson from Alex concerning micro poon flies!  Alex, Ron, Adam, Cody, Chris and I and others enjoyed a killer night for sure! 

Amongst the people there was Vince from Skinny Water Culture.  We aways sit around outside drinking killer brews and talking about fishing til the bar closes.  Well, a comment/question popped up from Vince saying "dude lets go fishing", Alex and I said ok!  I ask where? He said "the everglades!".. I said when? He responds immediately "this weekend!!" Alex and I look at each other and said HELL YEAH!  LOL so the rest of the night was nonstop talking about it! 

 

I woke up the next morning and text Vince to make sure it wasn't "drunk talk" and he said "hell no, its on!"

We all know how talking about fishing and drinking can be... hahaha!

 

After a long, brutally hot day of work on Friday I get home and start packing up the fly gear and a couple shirts and pants. Met Vince to hook up his Gheeenoe LT25 to my truck, went to wally world to get glow sticks (trailer running lights were not working) for a quick lighting fix with a little duck tape and its good to go LOL.  Picked up alex and we were on the road at 11pm.

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Six hours of night driving after a long day of heat stroke type weather sucks, but good thing for great company, music, laughter, and energy drinks!   We arrive at the boat ramp in Flamingo before sunrise, hopped out of the truck to undo the straps and winch strap on the skiff and we were instantly greeted with 500 trillion bazillion mosquitos!!! I'm not talkin about having to swipe away a few and a quick spray of OFF will help, I'm talkin about the shit was out of human control!  All we could do was cuss and laugh!  There were about 15 other skiffs there doing the same thing, and the morning race was on!  

 

On the water and headed to the first area, still barely even light out, we were running over and by hundreds of tarpon rolling and boiling all around us and it was awesome to see for sure. 

 

We get to the first flat and I was up first (they insisted cuz I drove the entire way, or maybe cuz I was the oldest... who knows and who cares LOL) and Vince poled us up towards some big pushes that we initially thought they were reds due to the water only being no more than a foot deep.  Well, we soon realized what it was... Poon!!! not one or two here and there, this flat was LOADED! and they were all heading our way!  Not 15 minutes from launching the skiff, I made a cast to lead the fish and it was game on!! Poon flying!  After a bunch of jumps and runs this fun little poon came up for a quick pic and release.  

 

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Alex was up next.  Not 5 minutes of being on the platform, he sticks a poon heading right at us and it goes airborne!

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After a good fight and a pic he was released to grow to tank status. 

 

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Vince's turn now and after a few solid casts the wind picked up and made them disappear.. Damnit!!!!  The sun hadn't even topped the horizon at this point!  So we make a small move back around the corner where we entered the flat and saw quite a few, just could not get Vince one to eat. 

 

We then decided to scout around as the tide was almost slack high.  Then we met up with Dan Decibel (SWC royalty and fantastic DJ/videographer/photographer) and Jeremy Chavez (SWC royalty and capt/guide/photographer out of Texas) and at that point the trip got real.  They were our guides and photographers for the rest of the trip!  Dan lives down there, and Jeremy does too during certain portions of the year so to say they have some experience and vast knowledge there is an understatement! 

 

We follow them to a spot that on an outgoing tide is on fire usually and it didn't disappoint!  But on the way, Dan captures this killer shot of Vince, Alex and I!

  

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Action everywhere and more and more poons and black tip sharks!  I ask Dan if he ever targets the black tips and he replied "no not really"... Not 10 minutes later Dan says "hey Phil, check this out!"  all of the sudden his fly gets absolutey crushed by a big blacktip!!! Massive, drag screaming run, and a break off about 150 yards away!  He turned around and said "like that?" hahahaha Yeah Dan like that!  It was sick!

Vince captured this shot of my shirt... As we were being mauled on the water!  LOL

 

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Nobody caught a fish there, but everyone had a short strike or two I think (which happens a lot with juvi poons). 

We decided to head in and go get some food and find a cheap hotel... It was past sunset by now and I had to walk up and get my truck... Enter that same 500 trillion bazillion mosquitos here.... It was insanity! It seemed like it was worse, but the fun began when we all had to get in the truck and drive all the way out of the park (50 minutes or so)... The truck was FULL of mosquitoes!  Windows down, A/C on full blast, at 55mph does little to remove them from inside but we managed to make it to the dinner spot for a much needed food and sit down and relax time.  We found a cheap hotel and got MUCH needed showers and sleep!  It was midnight when I got in bed. (that's 37 hours of being awake and I LOVE to sleep!) LOL

 

Alarms go off at 430 am and we all hop in the truck and head out.  Stopped for a fuel top off and some Dions breakfast bowls (YUMM!!!) at the Mobil gas station which was LOADED with guides and such, even saw Capt Rick Murphy.  

   

On the road....

 

Got to the ramp at the same time as before and were already doused with DEET and game faces on!  We go to the same flat that we started at Saturday and saw the poons, but were in a different area looking like they were on the move... I get a text from Dan saying "GET HERE NOW!!!!!!" "Head north"...  Well, we get there and low and behold we found Dan and Jeremy in the middle of poon mania!  They had already jumped 6-8 poons, so we set the anchor pin and started watching.  They were coming from all directions and even within 2' of the skiff!  Dan was ON FIRE as he jumped at least 13 poons total in a 2 hour period!  We all had big hits but none stuck!  The action died off there so we talk about checking a very close by flat that they transfer over from time to time.... Well, as we get on it Dan asks us if one of us would like to hop on Jeremys Hells Bay waterman!  So Alex must have had his rocket launcher flip flops on, cuz he was on that skiff in a blink LOL! 

So Vince and I on the Gheeenoe head one way and they head another on this flat.  Imediatley start seeing poons roll all over!  Vince was up front and I got the skiff in position for him to put the hammer down on this roller and after a good cast, poon in the air!!  A couple good jumps and shook off. He was so stoked after all the short strikes!

My turn, he poles me on to a huge push heading across and it was about 15 poons in the pod (all of this in in less than 2' of water), I make a cast and the fly BARELY had hit the water and poon in the air!!  After a couple jumps he shook off as well.  All good, we were so pumped up!  We search more, cast at a few more, then decide to work across to the other flat. 

 

Alex was being poled by Jeremy and was getting coaching by Dan on the bow.... Well, coaching paid off as soon as we got on the next flat!  Alex sticks a killer little poon and landed it!  After a great fight and jumps, he gets this dude in and Dan is there to capture this moment like a pro!  Jeremy took video of the cast, eat, fight, etc. too, but we don't have that footage yet...  Killer shot man!

 

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Alex on cloud nine, Dan asks me to switch with Alex... We search around, see a few, but no good shot.  Dan hops off the skiff and onto Vince's Gheenoe to pole Vince and Alex the rest of the day as I stayed on Jeremy's skiff with him on the pole!  Stoked!!! 

 

We move on to the flat and started seeing something off in the distance.... tails.  The water gin clear, not a ripple on the water, and about 1-2' deep max.  Check out this glassed out picture Vince took of this magical place!  Truly the most epic horizon ever! 

 

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Alex and Vince had multiple shots at more poons, reds but could not get one to stay hooked.  Jeremy and I steadily keep the tails in our sights and move to them.  The fly I had was so wrong for this depth and amount of grass, but its all I had on the skiff.  I made a couple casts at some tails very nearby (within 30') all to get refused.  Then Jeremy spotted a good tail over his shoulder and spun the skiff so I could get a good cast.  The red was facing me and knowing I had one shot, I put the fly on his nose and not half a strip and fish on!!!  We hooted and hollered, but we thought it was a smaller red (maybe 23").... well after a good strong fight we figure that that 23" fish grew a bit!!  Waiting on other pics to come, but this was a sweet 29-30"er release shot!  I was stoked for sure!  My biggest red on my 6wt rod by far!

 

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We decided to wait up for the other boys and see what was on the agenda.  Dan wants to go check out another area on this flat that is about 1 hour away on a push pole LOL!  So off we go!  Got there and off in the distance (same flat) using binoculars, we spot a skiff way far away along the shoreline.. look a little harder and the guys are jumping poons right and left!  Man this place is so awesome!  We see action, but nothing was caught for a bit and then Alex sticks a good little snooklet.  At this point it was about 3pm and we needed to decide to leave like planned (to be home for labor day)or keep fishing.  So we decide to go ahead and do the right thing for families and girlfriends and head home.. A 30 minute ride back to the ramp and we dock the skiffs.  Got loaded up and said our goodbyes, thank yous, and handshakes... They kept fishing, we hit the road.  Bummed to leave, but stoked about the time we had, we had plenty of laughter and conversation to keep an army awake haha.  We got home around 11pm and a much needed sleep for me! 

 

Alex, thanks again for coming with and Vince and the boys for making it that much better!  Last minute trips are always the most fun in my opinion.  If someone says "hey dude, you want to go fish here?" just do it!  If you say "yeah man that sounds cool, lets try to make that happen"  It always seems to not work out. Even if you forget your tooth brush, an extra shirt, more bugspray, etc.  JUST GO DO IT!!!! 

 

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Awesome trip and a killer report Phil. Congrats to you and Alex for taking on the adventure on such short notice.  

The pics are great.  

 

Sucks about all the mosquito bites.  Were they getting you through your shirt too?  

 

Looks like you had to start over with the post to get it fixed.

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Awesome trip and a killer report Phil. Congrats to you and Alex for taking on the adventure on such short notice.  

The pics are great.  

 

Sucks about all the mosquito bites.  Were they getting you through your shirt too?  

 

Looks like you had to start over with the post to get it fixed.

Yeah had to redo the report no biggie...

 

Yes they bite through armor dude! We were doused in deet all over every inch of clothing etc... They laugh at deet! LOL

Thanks man!

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Epic trip dude.  I'd seen some of the pics.

 

And to do it all on fly...makes it mind bogglingly epic...

 

Its not even something you can explain to someone who doesn't KNOW what its like to be out there on the nose of a tiny boat throwing bits of feather and fur at fish you have to see, before they can be caught.

 

Your report also captures the brotherhood generated by poling each other around in that environment...when the guy on the nose of the boat catches a fish, you BOTH catch that fish.

 

Nicely done.

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Epic trip dude.  I'd seen some of the pics.

 

And to do it all on fly...makes it mind bogglingly epic...

 

Its not even something you can explain to someone who doesn't KNOW what its like to be out there on the nose of a tiny boat throwing bits of feather and fur at fish you have to see, before they can be caught.

 

Your report also captures the brotherhood generated by poling each other around in that environment...when the guy on the nose of the boat catches a fish, you BOTH catch that fish.

 

Nicely done.

Thanks Chris!

 

Yeah it's a totally different game for sure, but super rewarding.

As long as people have fun and have a tick of passion for the sport of fishing, all is good in my book.

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Dude!!!!! What an epic adventure and killer report this is. This is one of the best reports I have read on here in quite some time. Absolutely killer!!! My jaw is still on the ground.

Thanks bro! We had a killer time for sure.

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Love the pics and report! I remember the days when I'd be able to drive a couple hours for a spontaneous fishing trip with friends. We'd stay up all night, sleep on rocks, grill up some food, and head to another spot. Gone are those days for me, but man it was fun.

 

Sounds like you had an awesome day sight fishing poons, dude! Those mosquitos, on the other hand lol. And here I was complaining about the few bites I got last night lol

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