Not too long ago, reports of epic bonefishing in the Keys brought my buddy Jeremy and I back down from my home in Miami for a day of fishing in some of my favorite bonefish haunts. Having been off the water for more days then I can care to want to remember, the only thing we were able to go on were some fishing reports, knowledge and experience of how these flats worked, and great expectations. There are times when that alone is enough, but this day was not one of them.
We slid my newly Mercury repowered Maverick 18 Mirage into the water and showed up in the AM, waiting out the light to fish a small flat on my favorite tide. The water was right, rays were present, sharks roamed aggressively, but after a detailed scan of the flat… nothing. We moved on looking for permit and found a change in terrain that may have caused a drastic difference in how some of these flats fished. We didn’t stick to permit fishing for long but waited around to see if there was a rouge tarpon that would swim down that ocean side shoreline in the Upper Keys. We waited for a couple hours… nothing. This prompted us to head in for an early lunch stop at a local restaurant by water. At lunch, we decided to stretch some fly lines out and bend a rod in the reliable backcountry sight fishing tailing sheepshead and redfish in gin clear shallow water. While doing so, we would wait for a different tide to resume our search for bonefish.
A quick run to the backcountry allowed us to sight fish several tailing sheepshead and a couple of decent redfish before we ran back out to the oceanside. Again we searched to find a great tide with empty bodies of water. This was an absolute total evacuation; one that I have witnessed before but none so discouraging. With the light starting to subside, we made a last ditch attempt to run back into the backcountry. I would have hesitated to do make the long haul had it not been for the new Mercury ProXs reassuring me that we would make it there, be able to pole around in skinny enough water to look for tails and wakes while still being able to make it back home with plenty of light to spare… we did just that. We crossed into the Everglades National Park boarder and spent the last hour of our day tossing flies at schools of redfish. With a 40mph cruise and 50+mph top speed, we made it back to the ramp burning very little fuel and avoiding the night time biting bugs.
The Maverick 18 HPX-V with the Mercury 115 Optimax ProXS is proving to be the perfect setup for my style of fishing. This setup is the perfect compromise of speed, stealth, fuel economy, and polability.
My favorite time of year is right around the corner so stay tuned for the chronicles…