slice of heaven…………..

Over the last few years the landscape of my life has changed dramatically, primarily due to fatherhood. Watching the sun rise and disappear into the horizon at day’s end used to be the norm of a average fishing day. Now abbreviated mornings or days cut short due to napping schedules have replaced much of these lengthy days. However on a few occasions a year I leave the nest to relive what was once the norm……………….…and visit old places that still bring a tingle to my spine.

Places that spawn such emotions could only do so based on prior experiences, such emotions cannot be fabricated through fine literature or the viewing of a movie. These kind of emotions are only crafted through prior experiences, experiences that will forever remain fresh in your head as long a mind is functional. Such emotions have smells, tastes, sights, joys, and disappointments. When you’ve been to a spot like this it will never leave you.

Like an elder remembering long lost locations that our aggressively money driven hunger swallowed up decades ago this place somehow has seemingly remained virgin…………sure fisheries change but some locales still provide some evidence of times since past. Some signs of the great creator upstairs are more evident than others……………….

As in every fine trip, the joy of preparation starts here at the vice. Hell this is the what separates this fly-fishing stuff from the rest of the daily grind. At the vice I am often reminiscent of failed shots of fish that never came to hand. Could a different fly have proved more beneficial? After all, like everything else in life, failed attempts breeds perfection.

Those that have spent their life chasing permit with fly rod understand there are many paths to success but unfortunately nearly all lead to a SCREW YOU. You see not all fish are created equal…………………………..some are plagued with mind numbing disappointment, some are the weariest of opponents, some have selective palates beyond contemplation. Yet oddly enough after dozens of failed attempts we are still imprisoned in the thought of catching one of these bastard fish.

some have exhausted their minds in pursuit………………
(any local would recognize this fellow and his mostly irrational rants on how guides screwed the fishery and how giving up drugs for chasing permit with a fly rod changed his life even though both provide irreversible psychosis. An interesting fellow that might have a better perspective in life than most. He essentially lives off food stamps and permit fishes year round, and as I am told stands at 198 permit on fly mostly unassisted out of his kayak. Frankly I find his effort incredible and there is no doubt his mind contains a wealth of knowledge beyond his time. Sometimes the double edged sword of jealousy is often not easily seen

Often enough after a few failed permit shots distractions are hard to overcome………………


Even deep into the sunset………………..floating tarpon are simply too hard to ignore

As the number of failed permit opportunities with a fly rod grow so does ones diminishing attention span and mental stability. The abrupt sight of a sickled tail that previously brought the shortness of breath and sweaty palms now instigates less emotion. This is where most fail to recognize every fish is different and your chances of success remain the same as the last failed shot. That is why a great permit fly fisherman takes every single shot with complete concentration…………….unfortunately for me I am not a great permit fly fisherman and thoughts of sickled tails make my knees buckle through the bottom of the god damn skiff.

sometimes it is hard not to get overly excited…………………………..

Rethinking and strategizing are a constant battle to ones psyche. Too close when the fish is not tailing, too far and they never saw it, missed him in between strips, fly sinks too slow, fly sinks too fast, too much drag, too little drag, too much angle on the shot, dragged the fly into him, dragged the fly away from him, too windy, too calm, should have gone with 15lb tippet, nope should have stayed with 12lb tippet………………the laundry list of excuses is numerous. It is yet this constant abusive puzzle that plays in your mind within a split second that provides some of the most difficult yet rewarding angling I have ever seen.

late afternoon fly choice contemplations………………

we confirmed they were indeed hungry……

Continued denial from a fish with the brain size of your pinky nail eventually beats a brother down. I mean all this arduous effort and there remains a possibility that you most likely won’t catch one……….how in the hell could this be fun? God forbid you finally hook one, they continually pull like hell, run toward every sharp object on a channel edge, and worst of all they don’t have a clue that fending off sharks in order to land them is a common prerequisite. I for one nearly break into epileptic cardiac arrest when after many attempts I finally come tight on a fish. Seriously how can one expect to catch these god damn fish in this emotionally shattered, physically paralyzing state of consciousness!!! Yet we and many others with this deranged inflicted fly-fishing addiction call it good fun.

And on the last day after losing a handful of fish to numerous clusterf**ks over the course of the trip. We agreed on where we would spend the last half hour of fishing before making the trek back home. While fishing was sensational we had come up empty handed, of course as such we felt trampled and quite lethargic. Then out of the corner of our eye a big fish popped and proceeded to tail like it was digging a hole to China. As we spun the skiff the fished eased off a bit calmly and then spun back around tailing with ferocity. Like others we had seen it was pretty evident that this fish was hungry. We tried to line up a decent shot but the fish continued to face away from us. Finally the fish gave me alittle angle, out with the fly I went, gave it a 20 inch lead. The fish again just eased off. As it has probably done 100,000 times in its life, it spun around and tailed hard again, I picked the fly up and this time dropped it right on its stubborn head. Instantly like it had seen a fleeing crab he exploded on the fly with the typical dorsal twitch that tells you, “oh ya your getting a bite boss”……………

I signed deeply in relief as the fly line cleared off the deck. Like most permit expect anything and everything to go wrong, it immediately torpedoed off the flat into the current, up and down channels edges, then back up on the flat, around mangrove sprouts, even put the reel in free spool a few times. It bobbed I cringed, it weaved I cried…………..until finally that wily SOB of a fish came to hand. Naturally we were overjoyed…………………

Fly-fishing for permit put simply is physically and emotionally draining………….and on nearly all occasions the fish has the upper hand. So much effort for a few lonely bites. Is it all worth it?

Until next time ‘ol friend stay pure…………………………………

Good luck to all the guys and gal fishing this Merkin this coming week!

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