"Subject: Tarpon Tails (Double XX rated:)" by Charlee Barnes

Sent: Wednesday, November 14, 2018 8:28 AM
To: Steve Densley

Today was a beautiful, frosty November morning. At 5:45 my next door neighbor and I headed out in the fog and frost to see if we could find a few fish without having to drill holes in the ice. 

After the fog lifted, I remembered that this is Florida, and while there was fog, there is no frost or snow or ice. Not like Strawberry in November. By 11:00 I had 10 fish to hand: 7 Sea Trout, 2 Lady fish, and one nice little Snook.

The Snook took some maneuvering to get into a position where I could get a cast off. When I did find a spot where I could cast, I spotted him rising from under a log on the near bank to my left. This meant making a back-hand cast. The Snook was tight to the bank. On the third try, I landed my black Clouser right on the log where he was hiding. The strike came just as I eased the fly off the log. Sixteen inches of Snook is a lot of fun, and I had total control thanks to my Maxxon Double XX. I kept him out of the long, and tuned him away from the other obstructions just off his hideout.

Got him to the "beach" for a quick picture, and sent him back home. I climbed back up onto the dyke, and noticed a lot of fish working out in the Lagoon. They were too far off shore, and my kayak was home.

What would any good old fly flinger do? Wade out there a get some action. About 150 feet out, I was in up to my knees. and there were fish rising and moving around me on all sides. Rather than blind cast hoping to catch something, I waited until a pod of feeding fish moved to within 70 feet, and cast to the head of the pod. It took more than a few tries, but I did hook up, and it was a second Snook, just a little bigger than the first one.

Once I got that one photographed and released, I noticed a large log floating about 400 feet off shore. I had seen that log at least I thought it was a log, a long way west when I started wading, now is was right in front of me. That “log” it lifted its head up and turned in my direction. Logs (even in Florida,) don't move on their own, but Gators DO.

We were back on shore on the double, and looking for more adventure. From my Google maps, I knew there was a small "creek" just west of us, which looked like a good spot. The maps showed a trail across the marsh right too it. DON'T believe everything you see on a Google Map.

We busted trail through a tangle of intertwining vines and brush for about 800 feet to the creek. My first cast was up the bank to my right, and I got a good take on it. Hooked up with a nice Red Fish which gave me quite a good fight. Two long runs not quite to my backing, and buy by then it was wearing down. Still took some short surges before I could lift it onto the bank for a photo op.

By then Dave (remember the neighbor?) caught up to me, and asked if I had found any kind of trail. He was worried about losing a shoe in the tangle of vegetation. We both fished for a few more minutes and it was time to go. The day had turned out hot and humid. So we headed back though the knee high jungle to the car.

Another great Double XX day. Final score: 8 Trout, 2 Snook and 1 Red Fish. Best Trout was 15" Snook about 16, and the Red was 19".





About the Contributor  Charlee is an angler with more than 50 years of fly fishing experience. He’s fished with dozens of different rods reels and lines. During much of his early life, he worked in some good tackle shops and had the opportunity to learn from many others. It was those skills in casting and presentation he was able to develop, which proved to be more important than the tackle he had. 

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