Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Of Wind Knots and Tides
Clearwater Pass can be an excellent place to fish, with it's swift current and close proximity to lush grass flats. That's why I took my buddy Frankie and his 18 year old son Vinny there for a few hours fishing. Vinny is in the Navy and is on leave for a week before starting Basic Warrior Training with the Marines. I've known him since he was a kid, so it was really cool for me that I was able to be there for his first time fishing.
The conversation beforehand went something like this;
Frankie - "Man...I haven't been fishing in years"
Me - "That's ok dude, it's like riding a bike....I have all the gear you guys will need"
Frankie - "Oh no...I'm bringing MY pole...and I have a lot of stuff in my tackle box"
Me - "What kind of 'stuff'?
Frankie - "Oh you know...hooks, weights, leaders..."
I'm sure that anyone out there who reads this and has been into fishing for any length of time will understand what the Florida elements will do to fishing gear that has been stowed in the garage. Add in factors of salt water corrosion and you have a potential recipe for disaster on a fishing trip if left unchecked.
This isn't some sort of "I'm better than you" rant or in any way shape or form a way for me to cut down my buddy. Bottom line is I fish a lot and he doesn't. I use my gear and...well....you know.
I brought 3 spinning outfits and my fly rod.
We arrived at Sand Key to a howling 20 knot wind out of the east. Not a good day for fly fishing...at least not for me. I wasn't worried about it though. I was planning on playing the role of captain, guide and instructor and just enjoying the time with my friends. I can fish anytime, but I don't get to hang with my buddies very much.
Frankie started rigging up his rod and I took a section of his mono line and tugged. It snapped right away. A true sign of old and rotten monofiliment. So after I get them set up with sliding sinker rigs with shrimp, I rigged up my fly rod with a white bendback. Vinnie had a fish on right off the bat. A nice 10 inch flounder that got off the hook as he pulled it in. I gave him a quick crash course on setting the hook...a quick learner, he had another fish on in minutes...looked like the same fish.
Now, we can debate the pros and cons of braided super line all day long. One of the cons is the potential to develop wind knots. This potential grows worse in inexperienced hands. All it takes is for you to not be paying attention to a reeled loop, cast and WHAM!...birds nest from hell. Trust me, I've bird nested reels so bad, you're better off with a pair of scissors and a new spool of line. Vinny had a mess there that I was unable to fix at that moment, so I gave him my spinning rig. Kids who just get out of boot camp seem to listen up really well. He kept responding to what I was showing him with "ok" and "yes"....After picking out a few wind knots with the awl on my multi-tool, we had totaled 4 flounder, 3 pinfish and 2 lizardfish.
When we left, we almost got the truck stuck in the sand....but we managed to avoid that by Vinnie and I jumping up and down on the back bumper.....
It was a good day! Beautiful weather and good friends outside.