Thursday, May 3, 2012
On the Board
I beached the boat, unloaded my rod, box of flies, the couple of empty water bottles that had been rolling around under my seat during the paddle home, and headed for the cabin. Tired.
"How’d it go?"
Brandon and Austin had been sending updates for the several days leading up to our arrival - warnings that the fishing conditions were deteriorating due to wicked T-storms, churned water, and the hint of a brown tide (which, by the way, became a running punch line throughout the trip, every bit as disgusting as it sounds) - so, as we stood shin-deep in the waters of the upper Laguna Madre, we were not surprised that we were unable to see our feet. Disappointed, but not surprised. Sight casting to cruising fish was out of the question. We had to find tails.
There were none to be seen during our morning foray.
But, refreshed after a quick bite of lunch and a brief mid-day nap, we tried again and, to our delight, began to see raised tails, mudding fish, coming into casting range. But the tails didn’t belong to redfish. Black drum. In the absence of reds, they became the target.
And a tough target they were. The fish could see no better than we could so our presentations had to be right on their noses and the fly had to be dark to be visible in the murky waters. I ended up trimming the tan bucktail out of a Borski slider – butchering it down to nothing but dark hackle and rusty craft fur tail – and finally picked up my first fish, a bulldog black drum that refused to come in the last fifteen feet without a few frenetic tests of my reel's drag settings. A second fish followed shortly, every bit as stubborn, fooled by a black clouser.
That was it. Five hours on the water. Two fish.
"How’d it go?"
"Tough afternoon. Picked up a couple of blacks late. Had to work hard for them, though."
"Yeah. You’re not alone. Be sure to put them on the board."
Just two. But I was on the board.
Alleluia, I was on the board.
Photo Credit: The final shot of me and my cute little friend was taken by fisherman extraordinaire Austin Orr. Well done, lad!