My friend Al White who is a captain/fishing guide in Florida near where I live invited me to go fishing the other day and how could I dare say no? I've been anxious to get out for ages and now that my hand is mostly healed (well, almost), I wanted to go so that's just what we did.
We launched the boat out of Charlotte Harbor near Boca Grande and set out in search of big balls of bait being crashed by hungry fish. The first pod was full of mackerel crashing bait near the surface. Every time a fish would come thrashing through, the bait would jump clear out of the water trying to get away from the jaws about to encompass them. It was a sight to behold...I've seen this in Baja when we were fishing the Sea of Cortez and it's always an exciting sight to see.
We were soon into fish and both of us hooked and released several mack's until I had a fish on that was for certain, no mackerel! It peeled off line like a marlin and I knew instantly I was hooked into a false albacore, affectionately referred to as little tunny. They are a member of the tuna family and are solid muscle and built like torpedo's hence they are super strong and will give you a real run for your money. Super fun on a fly rod! My first little tunny of the day, I had Capt. Al hold it so I could get a proper photo using my good 35mm SLR which I didn't want his fishy, salty hands on...so, he is holding my fish. I guess that's just the way it is when you are the photographer and either can't trust anyone to take a decent photo or don't want anyone touching your expensive camera so C'est la vie.
I shot a short video of the albies crashing bait and this was what we were surrounded by all morning! What a hoot!
The flies we were using were immitating what are called Cuban anchovies and they are only an inch and a half long. It's amazing out of that huge ball of bait that a fish could spot our fly and eat it but that's just what they did. One of the fish we caught regurgitated a bunch of bait fish so I was able to get a photo of the bait next to our fly showing the similarities.
I was using an 8 weight rod with an intermediate sinking tip fly line but I should have been using a 9 or 10 weight for these fish as I was very under equipped for the strength of the false albacore. I use an 11 weight when fishing them in Loreto. Next time I'll bring a heavier rod!
All in all a very fun day and we both landed lots of fish. We were back off the water by around 1:30 or 2:00 pm and back at the house having a cold beer. Great day on the water. I'm already ready for another trip. Maybe this Friday?