I went to Church this morning. Perhaps it was the nun from high school English who compelled me to go. In this case, however, my church is the one that Tom Brokaw talks about. “If fishing is a religion, Fly Fishing is high church”. And so it was today. I got up and headed to mass at a near by church. This one happened to be within kayaking distance from my home.
When I arrived, services had already started and silver kings were rolling though out. It is always a moving sight to see tarpon roll, but for me, it’s even more inspiring when I am at water level in a small boat with a fly rod. In typical fashion, I get a case of tarpon fever and make several mistakes. As the wind begins to pick up, I get blown closer to the school. It’s almost as if I had planned this approach. As I get in to casting range, I make a couple of false casts and then send my midnight blue toad fly to the spot where I last saw the fish surface. I strip the fly as my flats mentor Dexter Simmons taught me and after a few seconds, a silver flash a tug and then gone. The end of the first part of the service.
Not one to leave mass early, I continued to cruise up the flat where I found another school. Again, the approach was as if I planned it. This time it takes me a couple of minutes to get the boat into the right position.
Random Cast: One thing that I’ll add, holding a position in a kayak with even a slight breeze is a challenge. Then add that the fish are moving in whatever direction they want and frequently change direction.
When I get into position, I now make a cast into the school. Strip, strip…Flash, hard tug…strike-strike-strike…and then out of the water leaps the king, gill plates rattling. The fish plunges back into the water, unfortunately the fly remains in the air. And so ends the service.
All in all, not too bad for my first time jumping a tarpon. It certainly is a powerful way to keep the faithful coming to mass. I know that I’m going to be a regular…. and they say church attendance is declining…. they just aren’t going to the right service.