IRONMAN TARPON ADVENTURE/EGRET 2011 BOAT TEST
Anyone who knows me will tell you that I only fish one way, EXTREME! I started the insanity on Friday night after picking up a couple of clients for a trip. They watched the sun set and moon rise over the Miami skyline waiting for their chance to battle the mighty silver king.
Every year in the winter months as the night falls, Tarpon begin to feed in on shrimp that are flushed in and out of the bays and inlets with the tidal flow. After releasing 4 nice tarpon, 1 mutton snapper, and 1 cubera snapper in 4hrs I went home and loaded up my Egret 18’9. My friend Kohler who had been fishing all night himself came by and we began the long 2 ½ hour drive to the lower keys.
Half way down I decided to pull over at a bridge where small tarpon were feeding. A few casts with the fly rod is all it took to hook 2 teenagers. After releasing one fish and losing the other, we pressed on. The boat splashed as the sun rose and we motored off into the beautiful turquoise waters of the lower keys. The morning was action packed releasing several more tarpon on bait and one with Kohler’s new G Loomis Pro 1 12wt/Nautilus NV combo. This 60lb fish was no match for the strength and power of the Pro 1.
At noon we loaded the boat and went to Duck key to meet Jimmy, owner of an Egret 2011 Hull #1 who was kind enough to take us for a test ride. The big Egret immediately impressed me with its soft dry ride, tons of storage, surprisingly shallow draft, and unsurpassed build quality. The boat was paired with Yamaha’s new 250hp SHO motor and blasted to 65mph in no time. With some propeller adjusting you are looking at 70+mph! This boat will be an excellent choice for those who want to fish the backcountry, bridges and even offshore.
With 4 hours of daylight remaining we picked up my friend Justin’s two kids Twinkie and Brandon then headed out in search of hogfish. Two hours yielded 11 nice hogs which we cleaned and brought to Hobo’s for dinner. If you haven’t been there, check it out (MM 101.6 Oceanside).
With full stomach’s and our bodies running on fumes after 40hrs straight, it was finally time to get some sleep, which of course turned into a 4 hour nap. At 3am Sunday morning we decided to try our luck at night in Islamorada. First drift and bam we are hooked up to a big fish. This one was smarter than we were and headed directly for the bridge span melting line until he broke us off in the pilings. The next fish didn’t stand a chance against the 50lb braid and G Loomis 905. After the sea monster was under control next to the boat, I took a DNA swab which was sent away to further tarpon research.
On our way back to Miami Sunday, Ramiro calls and says he has the Maverick HPX-T loaded up and wanted to do an afternoon bone fishing session. We looked at each other and said “what the hell, let’s do it.” Unfortunately, the wind picked up to a solid 20mph and the ghosts of flats just teased us, waving their tails back and forth as we struggled to make accurate casts. After fishing from Miami to Big Pine Key and back we covered almost 300 miles and slept only 4 hours. We got in what felt like a week of fishing in another crazy two day adventure. It was a great time with great friends!