Friday, May 05, 2006

Running out of Time

Count downs ticking away but at this juncture I scrambling to get ready and finsh up details at work. Our group gathered in dawns early light today for our last casting session before departing. George and JD head down tomorrow. They'll be waiting when we arrive with a live rreport.

Its windy, cool and drizzling as we string our rods up. Take out the later two elements and conditions are perfect for our final casting tune up for the Silver Kings of Key West. You never know. At least I hope we can eliminate the cool and drizzly part from our days once we arrive at our tropical destination. After doing this for a while, I don't take anything for granted. As I often say, probably even said it in one of my previous posts: "you get what you get when you get there". My mantra helps keep it simple, with few surprises.

The line winder was busy this morning upon arriving back at the shop. We cut our casting a little short so we could work on last minute gearing. First, we removed the old park lines that had grayed from use over the past month of preparation. At the same time we check backing connections and cleaned the new lines as we spooled them on. I lost a fly line to one of the largest Tarpon I have yet to hook, because I didn't check my backing. For these bad boys, you need to check all 300 yards to be safe.

I enjoy this part of getting ready for any trip. The clean up part upon our return is equally as enjoyable. I prefer to do this on the first day back, since I ususaly don't get much work done. It insures that my gear will be in ready for next years trip and puts some finality to the past days Walkabout. Now that I have most of my customers ready, I can begin to see where I'm at.

I haven't really had time to get ready myself. In between bites of lunch today, I'm making my first attempt at finding some of my lines that have been loaned, stored and loaded onto various reels for various purposes. I also need to build a few more leaders. Kind of trashed the ones I built during our warm-up. By days end, between Kenny and my lack of organization I finally find the lines that I will need and a few extras for backup. Never needed a back up before. The one I lost to that giant, we found the next day.

These days, lines are so particular that matching lines to rods can be critical to an outfit’s performance. Another reason to get out and practice before you depart, and a primary motivation for me, especially since Zach sent me some new linest to try out. It's taken some time, but for the two 11 weights I'll be fishing I now gear assembled to suit my casting style, or lack there of.

My son is the same size as I am, so last week having some notion that he may have borrowed some of my shirts, I found he had virtually cleaned me out before he went back to school after the spring break. Fortunately it was in enough time to order some new stuff from Patagonia, especially a silkweight top. After fishing in this piece while on a bonefishing trip, I don’t ever go saltwater fishing without one. For that matter, I take this piece on most of my travels.

Flies, my drug of choice. Outside of casting, I’m a junkie when it comes to flies, always have been. One of my first purchases for Tarpon fishing was a box of Tarpon flies. I called my friend Capt. Cardenas and ordered a couple of dozen for my upcoming trip. This was 6 or 7 years ago. and early in my initiation. Since I don’t fish Fluorocarbon leader material, the guys had to tie monofilament. I also had to have a box to put these flies in, so I had them all loaded into a Tarpon Stretcher. Four hundred dollars later, I had my first Tarpon flies. And you thought Trout flies were expensive. Funny thing is, just like my early adventures into Trout fishing, those initial flies, for the most part are intact and collecting dust along with the box in my basement. Maybe one day they’ll be a museum piece. At the price I paid they should be. And you don’t think I’ve taken a ribbing from my crew on this one. Walking to meed my Captain that morning with my new fancy Tarpon Stretcher, I thought I was pretty cool. I can only imagine what my Captain thought.

Some of lifes lessons you have to learn the hard way. Now I hand tie all my leaders and tie most of my flies. Now that I have 4 or 5 dozen in my box, even if I don’t tie any for this trip, I should have enough to get by. Actually my Capt. Ohearn would probably like it if I quit fooling around and fish flies that he has had success with. After all he is the guide and as good a Tarpon fly tier as I've seen.

I need to move on if I'm going to get ready. My next post should be from Key West if Kenny's wireless connection comes through.

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