Get To Pine Island

I’ve wanted to catch a tarpon since I started fly fishing, back before I even picked up a fly rod, in fact, all the way to the first year I started kayak fishing. I wasn’t really obsessed with fishing until I started fly fishing and what really got me obsessed with fly fishing was watching the World Angling guys do it down in the Florida Keys. Seeing those guys catch giant fish in skinny water made my knees weak and I vowed to one day get down there. When I got the invite from Hobie Fishing to head down and fish from their Pro Angler 14 for Florida’s classic inshore trio, I couldn’t resist–my bags were packed before I could even say yes.

Now I’m sitting at the Tarpon Lodge, on Pine Island, FL, getting some work done so I can focus my efforts on finding, fooling, hooking and (fingers crossed) landing a big tarpon from a kayak.

There are also sea trout and redfish around, even snook, but the snook are out of season. As much as I want to catch those fish, and I’m secretly going for a Florida inshore slam, but I don’t want to say it out loud for fear or jinxing anything (it’s ok to type it though, right?), I really want to battle with the Silver King. Because I’m totally twisted and there’s some screw loose inside my noggin’, I also want to catch that tarpon on the fly. Yes, a fly rod, from a kayak. I can see it now.

At least the first day rewarded me with a little sea trout, despite the crazy strong winds.

Photo: At least the first day rewarded me with a little sea trout, despite the crazy strong winds.

After landing from my flight, layover and then another flight to get down here, I was blasted with Florida’s warm and moist air, like walking around a hot tub. Once I got over that I grabbed the keys to my rental car and headed off to the coast. After a one-hour drive from the Fort Meyers, FL airport, I was changing into boardshorts and jumping into a Pro Angler 14 in search of fish. We figured the fishing was going to be non-existant, if not really tough, at the very least. The winds are crazy here this afternoon, with whitecaps threatening to toss us every few minutes, but we launched anyways.

After giving up on topwater and getting too frustrated throwing a shrimp pattern (and getting hung up on grass every three seconds) I managed a small sea trout to get the skunk off the trip. Apparently there are sea trout everywhere in the bay, with redfish nearby a local river that pours into the bigger water and tarpon in the opposite direction. I know which direction I’ll be headed tomorrow morning though. Where would you go?

Now I’m off to enjoy some grub, and a few beers while staring and trying not to drool while looking at the mount of a tarpon inside the bar at the Tarpon Lodge.

Tomorrow we’re up early to paddle across the bay just outside my hotel room window and the plan is to find tarpon running from hole to hole along the ridge between two islands. There’s a tip for you in case you can get out for tarpon where you fish. (If you have tarpon waters near you, I’m seriously jealous).

Stay tuned for more updates, photos and videos to come from my Florida trip chasing tarpon, redfish and sea trout with Hobie Fishing this week. Cross your fingers that we get a lot of fish.


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