Friday, I found out I was a last minute fill in for a tournament over on the east coast of Florida, Vero Beach to be exact. This is a tournament held there once a year and is ran by Eric of Vero Backcountry and is helped by a few of the Hews/Maverick/Pathfinder boat guys. Problem is I’m in Tampa 3 hours away.
I got up at 3:30am to make the diver across the state. I stopped by a local gas station to get some gas and while filling up I noticed the people in the 24 hour store looked stressed and was on the phone. I started walking to the store to get coffee and they waved me away. Right then I realized I had just missed a robbery by minutes.
I drove off and passed a few police cars to the next logical place to get coffee. The next 7-11, I see a police cruiser and the cashier was talking them. Apparently that store as well, had just been robbed. I had just missed a crime spree by minutes, whew!
At this point, I drove far far way to a well lit gas station to get my coffee thinking how lucky I was to be 15minutes late.
The coffee lasted me the long drive across the state. I met up with my partner name “Camp”, yes that is his birth name. He was back from the keys to visit his parents and wanted to fish the tournament.
Camp runs a 2003 17′ Maverick HPX-V. Even though the design has been out for quite some time it remains one of the most well rounded skiff I’ve ever fished out of. I was please to see he has the right skiff for today. It was cold and surely did not want to be wet today. The middle of state was 36 degrees and at the ramp it was the low 40’s.
We made the run down towards Ft. Pierce to find some clean warmer water. It was tough to find either one actually. Murky water had plenty of life but with cold fronts coming in the fish just was not very active. We did do our damage with the long rod catching 6 of so small snook. However the tournament was for a slam so our hopes were slim when we got back to the ramp.
They were serving hot dogs and hamburgers at the weigh in. There were about 26 guys telling their stories of the day’s events. We did not win the overall but to our surprise we caught the largest snook on fly that day at just a little over 20″. This was good enough for a $125 gift card at Vero Backcountry. Honson’s team did take 2nd place but sadly for him there was no prize for 2nd overall. Willy’s team did get the biggest redfish and also got $125. The Saltyshores gang did quite well actually.
If you are ever over that way you need to check out the Back Country. It’s one of the few stores left that carries high end spinning as well as FLY gear. Walls of tying material and gear on one end and tons of Sebile and high end spinning gear on the other end. Lots of apparel as well.
Afterward we went over to the Eric’s shop and went on an early Christmas spending spree. I used mine on a 5wt Redington reel which will go great with my TFO BVK 5wt.
I had been up since 3:30am so was definitely not looking forward to the drive home at 7pm now. I had offers of staying to fish for some black drum the next day in the goon but decided to head home as the weather wasn’t that great and I was beat. Probably a good choice. I guess that all depends if those guys went out there today and tear them up or not. 🙂