Saturday, June 5, 2010
Advancements In Dolphin Eco-Tourism - St Joseph Sound
I've been thinking recently that maybe instead of fishing, I should turn the blog into a dolphin sight seeing tourism cash grab. 8 out of the last 10 fishing trips, I've seen dolphin up close - so close in fact that I could see the famous toothy grin. I've seen dolphin more than caught fish recently.
Yesterday morning was no different.
I left the house at 5:30 AM to meet Keith at St Joseph Sound and to launch at first light in the hopes of finding early morning redfish on the feed on the lush grass flats. The water was glassy calm as I drove along Edgewater Drive, but as soon as I arrived at the launch site, the wind picked up and I could see flashes of lightning in the distance and hear thunder booms a few miles away to the north and south. The gray dawn revealed rain clouds everywhere.
This large expanse of grass flats between Anclote Key and the Tarpon Springs shoreline are some of the best I've ever seen and have a unique feature; 10 feet deep holes amid 3-4 feet depths with decent moving water. The plan was to cast to the edges of the holes on the up current side and let the fly drift and bounce down the slope...this didn't produce any fish so we drifted across the flat.
The wind pushed us fairly hard. Cold down drafts from the thunderstorm cell to the southeast. The thing I kept thinking about was "We're going to have to paddle back into this wind to get back to the car" but, by some small miracle, the wind slowed...and we were able to paddle back the way we came with ease.
That's when the dolphin showed up. You could see and hear the furious splashing along the shallow mangrove shoreline as the dolphin herded the fish against the bank. Again, only a single dolphin. As we drew closer, I could see that it was around 6 feet in length, and was "fluking"...where it swims on its side and the fluke sticks out of the water. It wasn't shy or afraid of us and I paddled right up to it to snap a few photos.
On the paddle back to the car, the rain started....a free rinse job for the drive home.