I don't want to make you all jealous but as I sit here writing this it is 28 degrees, 10.37pm and my view is of the hotel pool and the calm sea waters of Duck Key beyond. I have a cold Bud to hand, there is a lady plucking acoustic tunes in the distance and the smell of fire torches is alighting my nasal senses. The kids are playing well together(for a change!) And the wife is quiet mainly due to her Rum cocktail. There is a downside to it all though but again I feel your sympathy may be in short supply. I have discovered new muscles and they are sending sharp twinges of pain to my brain even if I don't move. This morning I endured the longest hardest battle of strength and wits I have ever had with any fish and I think both of us will agree it was honours even.
Last week I spent five days straight in Disneyland, Orlando. The kids loved it, as did both Claire and I but by day five I was beat. We then drove down to Key West and it was 'adult time'. We checked in to our hotel late Wednesday afternoon and first thing Thursday morning I was in the concierge's ear quizzing him about getting a day afloat. Within an hour he had a Captain (not skipper as in Blighty) lined up for me, I was booked for the following day.
There is plenty of species down here to cross off the bucket list but I fancied getting out on the flats, Tarpon being the target. The following morning I was awoken by the phone ringing by the bed, unbelievable, while England bathed in glorious sunshine the Florida Keys was hit with tropical storms, 6 o'clock and a thunderstorm raged outside, my fishing session is postponed for 24 hours. Saturday morning came, along with a break in the weather (we have had three days of rain whilst we have been over here!) and Brendon the Captain for the day picked me up at 6.15am with his boat on the trailer and down to the harbour we went.
|Dawn, Key West Harbour|
|Baitfish plus unwanted Moray Eel|
|Taken on Brendon's phone|
Despite my aching muscles I wanted to continue and try to get this fish on the boat. By now we were well off the flats where we hooked it and about 3 miles out to sea, yachts and speedboats passed us and it was getting choppy. Remnants from the recent storm. The skipper's father's Tarpon had also ended up out to sea but they decided it was too choppy and had cut the line. We soldiered on. The two hour mark passed, the fish was tiring, and so was I to the point of exhaustion. My shirt was welded to my back with sweat and I needed water. I gave it as much pressure as I could probably too much because as I got it to the boat the mono parted. Respect was due on both sides. I do not think I will ever have another battle like it. I salute you big girl. The question is does it count? The skipper said 'yes'. IGFA's rules say 'yes'. Some people may think 'no'. I am going with the adage 'when in Rome etc etc...'. My latest pb is a Tarpon of 130lb. That wasn't the end of the session though. I drank a bottle of water in one, half of another bottle and sat down for a breather. The skipper asked if wanted to go for another Tarpon, no way, let's do something a bit easier. Off we sped to the mangrove flats.
|Stunning Flats and Mangroves|
|Second pb of the day|