Work and play… Islamorada, FL

Well, another year is passing and the Owner’s Tournament clock is again reset. Per tradition, Charlie Johnson joined Jeremy and I out on the water on Friday to do some PR and R&D. The field was set in the early AM for shots at the famed giant bonefish that Islamorada is well known for. It didn’t take but less then an hour after we left the dock at the Breezy Palms and 2 shots later for Charlie to catch a world class double digit Islamorada bonefish on fly.

Here’s a cool sequence of how things transpired…

To take advantage of everything that my Maverick 18 HPX-V skiff offers, we then left the clear waters of the Keys and made the run far into the backcountry towards Flamingo and dirty water. We rounded the SW tip of Florida and proceeded north in a timely fashion to take advantage of the tides that would set the stage just right in a little lake that held big tarpon this time of year. We had 3 shots at big laid up fish and managed to feed a black and purple demon fly to a pink backed sleeping tarpon, got the bite, but never came tight.

The tide flushed the fish out so we headed into the Gulf waters and found a tripletail that was willing to eat a well placed bonefish fly, delivery via Charlie Johnson’s excellent fly casting.

We made a quick stop on the way back to Islamorada and made quick work of some weary redfish on fly to prepare for the next day.

Saturday, as Owner’s tournament anglers headed out in their Maverick, Hewes, and Pathfinder boats, I had the honor of having Scott Deal and his son Clay as my anglers for the day. Jeremy and Charlie would join us in Jeremy’s 18 Mirage and we would set out for a morning of photography and shoot some cool video footage.

By noon, the work was over and it was time to play. We split ways and I headed towards Flamingo to find some redfish. This year’s redfishing has been absolutely epic and this day was no less epic. After a little bit of delegating with water depth, wind, and tide, I settled onto a very familiar flat teaming with wads of redfish that were tailing as happy as can be. These fish were unspoiled, relaxed, and ready to chow down. I poled my 18 Mirage into the shallows creeping up on these redfish and was able to watch the father and son of team Deal seal the deal with several doubles on redfish using both spin and fly tackle.

The icing on the cake came to an already great day of fishing for a father, son, and their fishing guide when after a short fly casting lesson, Deal Jr. was able to catch his first redfish on fly.

The winds would shift just in time to assist me as I poled off the flat into the basin. We planed off in the basin and the mid 40mph speeds got us back to the Breezy Palms in a timely manner.

Great times… looking forward to the next year.