Friday, April 5, 2019

"And eat that fucking sandwich quickly, would ya?"

Florida Keys.  May.  Sun.  Light wind.  Tarpon season.  And they’re there.

We’re getting shots all day.  We’re on the ocean side and you can see ‘em coming from two football fields away.  Find their course, make sure your line isn’t snagged on anything, start your cast, and let it fly.  Cross the string by five or six feet, wait until they’re almost there and then slide it into the zone.  If the string is long enough, wait until two or three go by, then bring it into the middle of the string.  You can see them look at it, and when they peel out of the string, you stop breathing, the boat goes quiet, you can’t hear anything anyway, and you wait for bucket mouth to open and the fly to disappear.  Hit her, steer the bus, clear line and hold the hell on.

It’s after noon and everyone – me, my fishing partner, and the guide – are hungry, but no one dares stop fishing, for fear the fish stop showing.  I’ve just whiffed on three shots; three strikes and I’m out.  I’m starving, so I go for the Cuban Mix sandwich from Sandy’s and a beer from the cooler.
I’m sitting on top of the cooler, middle of the boat, behind the casting deck, in front of the console.  I’ve got the sandwich wrapper spread across my thighs, beer can held between my knees, chowing down, when we see a string coming.

My partner starts his cast.  Mid-bite, I stop chewing, frozen in position, waiting for the mayhem.  They’re coming in quick, 70 feet and closing.  Two false casts and he’s at 50 feet, ready.

“Now,” our guide says from the poling platform.

The delivery cast.  He lays it down.  At the exact same moment, I crane from my seat just slightly to see it go down, and just enough for my legs’ grip of the beer can to loosen.  Fly and fly line lands on the water, five feet in front of the lead fish as the beer can hits the deck.  The string scatters.

My partner turns from the casting platform and glares right through me.

The guide chuckles.

“Why don’t you stay up there for an extra shot, Paul,” he says.  “And eat that fucking sandwich quickly, would ya?”

2 comments:

Morrell said...

Saltiest guides on Earth

Keith said...

You honestly mean to represent that you didn't knock that beer over on purpose?