After my last trip to St. George Sound, I was pretty discouraged. Work crews were placing booms all over as a precaution to potential oil and the tarpon were few and far between. What a difference a new month makes! Yesterday Rocky Gavins was my guest aboard Fin-esse and we had an outstanding day on the water. After leaving Lanark Village and running to one spot only to find the water silty and stained, we changed directions and set up where the water was clear and fish were active. Within five minutes of setting the anchor and getting the tackle ready, we had a big 100-pound-plus silver king swim across the clear, oil-free sand. For the next four hours on the last of the incoming and first part of the outgoing tides, we had steady numbers of fish swim into casting range. After Rocky made an excellent cast and had a nice tarpon follow the fly only to refuse it at the last moment, we changed from the tan Toad pattern to a purple/black streamer. Apparently PB&J was the daily special. I proceeded to jump a 100-pounder, while Rocky one-upped me with another pushing 120 pounds on his next turn. Both fish were high in the water column and happy.
With one of us on the custom bow platform and the other manning the rear deck with a spinning rod, we also fed a couple more fish by casting to outside rollers using a medium heavy spinning rod. The bait of choice was one of the new Sebile soft swimmers in rainbow pattern. The enticing movement of the jointed tail was too much for the big shiners to resist.
We spotted and cast to 60+ fish, with several more lunging at the fly but missing the hook point. There were probably double that amount of fish rolling in deeper water over the grass. A large sea turtle and huge lemon shark stretching to 8 feet cruised right by my skiff to provide an interesting diversion to the steady stream of tarpon.
The oil booms were not a factor and now that everything is pretty much in place and the work boats are no longer zipping all over, the fish seem to have acclimated well. By the way, there are no reports of oil anywhere close to the Forgotten Coast or the beautiful white sand beaches of nearby St. George and Dog Islands. So I'm happy to say, once again, that our water is clean and oil-free and the fishing is just fine!