Paying Dues

Is it me or did hurricane season start early this year? With the goal of spending 4 lovely days in Destin, Fl swimming and fishing shot to hell by Tropical Storm Lee, I could only ponder that perhaps we HUMANS are really f*cking it up for ourselves. Faster climate change equals earlier hurricanes, more storms, more ferocity, equals less fishing!

Still, good times were had with the Yun clan–my father-in-law owes me a shot at winning my money back at poker. Oh and he beat all his son-in-laws in bowling too. But then again, maybe we let him win… A wiry, fit, little Korean man who sleeps on a stone bed. Yes, a stone bed. Of course he was going to win!

Despite double red flags on the beach, I did manage to get out on the water twice on day one and once again on the last day in a break between the showers. On Friday, just before Lee hit, I got up at the crack of ass…I mean “dawn” to fish a pier and was rewarded with a beautiful sunrise.

Later that day, with some careful guidance from Jan at the SanDestin Orvis, I had my first flats wading experience  near the 9th hole behind the Bayside Inn on the Choctawatchee. I scared up a few trigger fish, had a good swirl with I think was a trout, and generally watched alot of jumping mullet. Big mullet, anywhere from 5 to 10lbers who are unfortunately, vegetarians. On a pier after dozens of casts at low tide, I managed a largeish ladyfish who tail walked three times and popped-off. I forgot to “bow” as she jumped. Finally, Lee hit and I was driven off the water by torrents of rain that fell in sheets obscuring everything.

So dejected by the weather, I drowned myself in junkfood and of course, oysters.

On my last evening, inbetween rain bands and in 30 mph winds, I couldn’t take it any longer. With approximately an hour to fish before the farewell dinner, I boogied over to the pier and tied on a red klouser. I figured, the color of blood would give me a valuable jumpstart with limited time on the water. I watched a school of pilchers getting crashed right up against a reedline and could see silver fish swimming broadside taking their fill. I cast in, and immediately hookedup with a little zippy…something. It took only a minute to pull him in with the 8wt rod, and to my delight, I had a small gorgeous Jack. Like all fishing, you’ve got to pay your dues. I think I’ve put down a pretty good deposit for a redfish! I’ve got a sore arm from slinging the 8wt, but I gained invaluable experience venturing onto the salt on my own.

More pics over at my tumblr blog, a deadbait


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