Early on Monday morning I am flying out to the US to go and photograph one of the world's ultimate game fish on shallow sand flats. I have caught a fair few tarpon and I've been around them plenty, but up until now I have never witnessed sight fishing to them on the flats with fly gear, and to say that I'm a little overexcited would be about right !! I love going to America, and this could be something a little bit special - if all goes to plan then this is the kind of stuff I could be seeing...............
Two lads are flying from Ireland and three of us Brits are flying out of Heathrow on Monday morning. If all goes well and a certain member of our group doesn't get "taken aside" in US customs (don't ask), then sometime in the afternoon American time we will meet up in Atlanta airport, pick up a hire car and start making our way south down through Georgia to NW Florida. We might or might not be partaking of a little stop at a Bass Pro on the way down, indeed if we don't then I am going to be somewhat lacking in clothes as a lot of what I wear comes from that particular "fishing supermarket" - ok, so get the giggling out of the way. Yes, me and sartorial elegance are not remotely related, although I think I might have been born for compression wear ?
I so love being around saltwater fly fishing, and the chance to see potentially 100lb plus fish in crystal clear water chowing flies I think could bring about serious heart issues in all of us. I fully expect to see a bit of panic stations amongst the lads, and no doubt there might be the odd trout-strike or three thrown in for good measure, but I have no doubt they will do the business and nail a few of these awesome fish (no pressure guys). And of course it's up to me to get as much material as possible. Bring on the heat, the sunshine and one of the most impressive sporting fish that any angler could ever hope to hook. I will do my utmost to keep this blog updated with how we get on.
A few years ago I went to Belize to try and nail shots of tarpon on the fly, but we got done with the weather big time and the flats were just too cold for the fish. There's nothing you can do about it and various other species of fish did oblige pretty well, but wherever we as anglers go in the world we are of course subject to Mother Nature and whatever she decides to throw at us. The bass fishing around me has essentially been non-existent so far this year, but with reports coming in more often of some half-decent fishing around and about I can only hope that things might switch on a bit while I am away. Surely it can't help that we are getting so many days of north and north west winds that in my opinion are about as useful as a vegetarian, but it can only be a matter of time and conditions. I console myself with the fact that I will be off to Ireland soon.
Anyway, next time you hear from me I will be in the US, having hopefully negotiated any zombies from The Walking Dead that might be wandering around Georgia plus whatever harm Bass Pro does to my wallet. I am a grown man and a father of two girls yet I know that I will hyperventilate when I walk into Bass Pro because it's so big and so full of nice stuff. I will resolutely not take the piss if one of the lads tries trout-striking a tarpon and I'll catch up with you soon with what I hope might be a few in-focus, correctly exposed and perhaps even mildly artistically framed photographs of some rather awesome fishing - wish me luck !!