Day 8: The big fish
The trip has been going extremely well. The boys have been getting the job done, and many fish have been caught over the last 2 days. Brian, Lia, Al, and I have been wading the flats around (Al has determined that the exact location should be kept to ourselves, guess you just had to be there) beach, which has been very productive and offers us enough room to all spread out and have good shots at bone fish. As we started out yesterday morning the tide was heading out and the water was extremely low. Al thought that this might be due to the fullness of the moon, but I like to think it was being caused by the Carib warrior gods. The sun was in a great position but just as we began to head out into the fishy part of the flat three of the local conch fisherman headed out our way and soon were tromping through the water right in front of us. Al and I kind of looked at each other, shrugged our shoulders, and kept walking. We did our best to avoid where the fisherman had walked but bone fish are spooky, and they did not hang around. Brian was walking on the outside and had a few good shots at fish but they seemed very uninterested in eating for some strange reason. The crew kept walking south towards Youngstown and I noticed that there was an inside channel forming toward the shore. The four of us were getting a bit bunched up to be effective so I b-lined it straight toward the beach, and what looked like good, shallow, bone fish water. As I got closer, the sun was not at the best angle, but I could still see a disturbance in the water, which was very hard to tell if it was wind, fish, or something else. As I crept closer it became apparent that what I was seeing was dozens and dozens of tails, bone fish tails. When you see your first school of fish tailing it is quite the rush. So many feeding fish I figured it would be hard for me to screw this up, plus they were sort of trapped by rocky outcrops and sand bars. Lia and Al had wandered further south and were out of range, but Brian was in hollering distance, so I started screaming at him that I could see many fish tailing and to get his ass over to me as soon as possible. I was waiting for him to take a shot but the fish were coming right at me. I fired one shot ahead of the lead fish and they spooked back into the main school but stayed within range. I put one more cast on the edge of the school and hooked up right away, straight into the backing and POW, busted me. Brian was just getting into firing range, and this group of fish was still milling around. I stabbed one more with the same result, me getting schooled. Then it was Brian’s turn. The fish were a little spooked and were swimming around a bit more frantically. Brian fired his first cast, an eat and a miss. Now the fish were trying to figure out how to get the hell out of there. They came into range one more time and B Wheel made it happen. The fish was off and running and into the backing in seconds. After a solid 5-6 minute fight, Brian counted coup on his biggest bone of the trip. Check him out
After the ruckus the school found an exit and bolted out to sea. I thought that I saw them stop on the shallows and decided to walk towards them. As I started Brian and I saw a single, giant bone fish still lurking in the shallows. We both got a toss at him but it was clear that he was ignoring us. I moved off in search of the school, and by this time Lia and Al were coming north, back toward where Brian had just caught his fish. Before I took to many steps I heard the reel screaming. I looked back to see Brian latched onto that big single. The fight was epic, the scenery more epic, and we managed to land what quite possibly will end up being the bone of the trip. Hats off to Brian Wheeler for nailing him.
Check out the video here: