Select Page

Florida Video

I received a phone call from my wife at work one day. This day or phone call wasn’t unusual, she calls most days. Wowever, this was no usual conversation that took place. She was explaining about a business conference in Orlando, Florida that she was interested in attending and wanted to know if I would tag along for the ride. I knew she was inviting me because she would not get on the plane if I was not there. She is not a confident flyer. I told her that I would get back to her in a couple hours and set out to see what type of fly fishing I could be doing while she was attending the conference. A few hours later, which is a relatively short time in the research game for fly fishing trips, I had found the guide I wanted to take out. I called my wife back and told her to book the conference. I knew the guide was right for me because the recommendation from a guide who was booked had told me “He was a bit nuts, but knew his stuff when it came to the fly rod.” I talked to Capt. Eric Davis, Owner and head guide of The Back Country in Vero Beach, FL and we decided that it would be best if we fly fished at night. Many thoughts flashed through my mind. ”She’s not going to like this,” was high on the list. So there I was, driving down I-95 from Cocoa Beach in search of a Boat launch on the Sebastian River where Capt Davis would be waiting. I found it no problem and he was indeed ready to shove off. We headed out on the river by 9pm. As an afterthought, he turned to me and asked, “Do you want to catch a Ladyfish?” “Well,” I said, “I’ve never caught a Ladyfish, so sure.” He handed me the six weight fly rod with a white shrimp pattern and I cast towards the dark shoreline. 1 strip, 2 strips…bang! Fish-on, multiple runs and jumps! So, I quickly learned what Ladyfish were all about. What a blast! With 2 Ladyfish under our belt we continued on to find some Snook, and I was already satisfied. We hit the dock-lights for a while and only had some follows to show for our efforts. So, we decided to change locations. The next dock light we came to had one shape under it. A long dark creature roamed the outer rims of the darkness and came closer to inspect what I had dropped in his territory. The line tightened and time stopped. When you hook fish under the dock lights, you must get the fish away from the dock or the game will be over quickly. We used 30lb leaders and clamped down on the hook-set while Eric used a trolling motor to pull us away. After the initial battle, if the fish is still on, you can fight the fish with the drag. I fought this fish away from the pillars and when he came near the skiff, the guide started freaking out. That’s a huge Sea Trout! His excitement started making me nervous. This was my first encounter with a Sea Trout and I thought it was large. However, when the guide who fly fishes the river every day gets excited, well, things get interesting. Somehow, we won the tug of war and got some nice pictures. We moved to another light, which yielded my second trout of the night and my first 3 Snook ever. 3 firsts and it was only 11pm. After hitting more docks and losing count of the number of follows, break-offs and landed Snook he turned to me and suggested that we hit “the mother load.” Umm, if what we were doing wasn’t the mother load then it was about to get really interesting. However, when we got there, we couldn’t hook-up on the countless Snook we could see. Then I threw the shrimp pattern in among the dark shapes and let it sink. As the fly drifted into the depths the line jolted tight and the fight was on. The fish took off fast enough to cut my finger and Eric gunned the engine in reverse. I knew I had a King Salmon on my line, just knew it. We backed away from the dock and he told me I could let the fish run now and I gave him some line, then more line, then backing. I said, “Eric, he’s at the dock again.” Eric yelled, “Pull him out!” and we backed out again. Finally the big Snook came to the boat and we had another picture fest. We took some more Snook on the docks and about 1am we headed to the bridges. The Boats that had staked claim on the bridges when we started were gone and we would cast our flies into the lighted areas and let the tide drift them into the darkness under the bridge. On the fifth cast, everything exploded. A dark torpedo skied out of the air 3 times in 1 second and broke my 30 lb leader. I looked back at Eric. He only had one word to say,”Tarpon.” Back into the game after a brief re-tie and the line was tight again. This time I got the upper hand on the smaller tarpon and brought my first Tarpon to hand. One more Tarpon was lost this night and we Hooked, Landed, Broke off or missed Snook every fifth or sixth cast. At 5:30am, we called it quits. I had to get the car back to my wife so she could attend the conference at 8:30am. Otherwise, we would have continued our fly fishing adventure. I want to thank Capt. Eric for the great time and introduction to the fishery. It left this Salmon/Steelhead addict bruised, sore, cut and in awe.