With the year nearing it’s end and only a few more opportunities to catch some 2018 fish, Marcos and I decided to head down to Miami to link up with Mr Biscayne Bandit himself Mattheu Pourbaix in pursuit of some exotics. The weather was looking good as we had a few solid days of warm weather, which is a huge plus when targeting peacock bass in the shallows during Florida’s brief winter. So we headed south and met up with Matt at one of the boat ramps in South Florida that puts you into some exotic infested waters.
Luckily enough, after picking up Marcos at his house we had no issues with traffic and arrived about thirty minutes earlier than Matt. Marcos rigged up his 7wt and started to make some blind casts out to the middle of the canal when something big exploded on his fly. Marcos unfortunately missed the set and the fish popped off, so we continued to work our way down back towards the boat launch.
Shortly after with no luck so far Matt rolled in with his skiff in tow. It was time to get all of the essentials into the skiff and get out on the water to start the day.
Matt works for Bonefish & Tarpon Trust as a Development & Events coordinator. Before working for BTT he guided all over the world ranging from fly fishing to mountain biking. His family has been in Florida for generations and he’s a true native Miami man himself.
So we headed a few miles down the canal systems in search of some Peacock bass and whatever else we could come across.
I’ve got to say though, cruising down a Florida canal in a skiff is another experience and you can see some pretty wild things, from homeless camps under bridges to old guys doing yoga while jamming out to techno music, you never know what you’ll come across.
We fished several of his holes in hopes of finding some fish lurking the shallows but with little to no luck. With multiple recent cold snaps the fish were more lethargic than usual. We had high hopes that as the day went on and temperatures pushed into the mid 80’s the fish would move onto the shallow grass flats that lined the canals. Matt jumped up on the pole and poled us along some of the grass lines but besides a few short strikes we had nothing to the boat.
I finally jumped up front on the bow of the skiff and decided to see if I could pull anything out with a good ole shrimp fly. I was throwing my Epic 476 Packlight which is a fantastic rod when fishing some of the Florida canals in search of fish close to the banks and under vegetation. After a few minutes I finally was able to get the first fish on the boat for the day. A nice little female largemouth decided to chew on the good ole shrimp fly and soon enough after a brief fight she was at the boat.
Up next both Marcos and Matt would go on to hook up to a few peacocks but unfortunately lose them in some of the thicker vegetation along the canals. Marcos was able to land a little largemouth before it decided to take a leap of faith out of his hand and back into the water.
As the day went on at a far slower pace than what was expected we talked a lot about the year and all of the fishing adventures we had been on. Matt talked about his work with BTT and some of his guiding experiences throughout the years as well as his experience with Cayo Frances Farm and Fly Fish Camp which he is a partial owner of.
Marcos recapped on what is his first year of fly fishing and how many incredible experiences and adventures he has gotten to do in his first year.
We talked about the large amount of big male dinosaur iguanas that were roaming the canal banks, many of which we are certain wanted to fight us if we got any closer.
As we fished a few of the last remaining honey holes that Matt had in the canal system, we realized it just wasn’t going to be the day we were expecting. None the less it was an incredible day, and I’m glad I was able to end the year with that fishing experience. Great stories were told and shared and as always you can’t complain when you get to be out on the water.
I look forward to the exciting adventures of 2019! Tight lines my friends and Happy New Years!