It's a little less than forty-eight hours
before I pack the flies and rods in my truck
and head out on the highway in the direction
of Bill and Jill Sorbie's home in Dunedin,
Florida for the 2005, Florida Fish-in. I have
a lot to do.
I've fished the west coast before, just never
Honeymoon Island. Sure, I know what flies will
work there; I know what species of fish live in
these waters. But, I've never fished these
particular waters. To the north, I have chased
tarpon in the triple-digit weights. To the south,
the snook that line the summer shores of Anna Maria
Island, but never Honeymoon's sandy shores or grassy
flats. I'm filled with anticipation.
I won't sleep much tomorrow night; I never sleep
well before any long trip. Again, anticipation
will flood my thoughts and dreams and deprive me
of rest. The inheritance of such mental conditions
I got from my dad, I suppose. He never slept before
any fishing trip.
There is also the anticipation of meeting many
folks from across the United States and also
from across the Atlantic Ocean. Folks I have
electronically spoken with for months, but
never face to face. I'm looking forward to this.
Four of the folks I've met; our gracious host
Bill, Harold Hattaway and his wife Sue, and Stev.
I'm a little anxious about this meeting, but it's
a good anxiousness from within.
The anticipation of getting to know new people,
the anticipation of fishing new waters, the
anticipation of, well, everything.
I thought about the trip last night as Linda
and I sat on the back porch, grilling steaks
for our St. Valentine's Day celebration. There
was the anticipation of leaving my bride for
several nights. Funny, I always hate to leave
her at home knowing she loves to fish almost
as much as I do. She starts a new job tomorrow,
and didn't think the new employer would appreciate
the idea of her missing the first few days of work.
Yep, she means that much to me. She's okay with it,
really, and encourages me to go on these trips.
She frets around the house helping to gather all
the things I will need.
My thoughts turn to fishing the waters around
Honeymoon. I've read some articles about the
area and it looks like a beautiful place. I
called Bill and asked him if there was enough
room for twenty five, or six, fly-lines to be
airborne at the same time. He assured me there
was. Heck, last time the five of us gathered
just south of there, we spent more time on the
shore tellin' stories than we fished. I can
imagine what it will be like with five times
that many. More anticipation.
The west coast of Florida is more my home than
the east coast. Sunsets after a day of casting
the long rod, a pina colada in hand, promises
of smoked fish and new friends gathering to do
what fly-fishers do best, tell stories. Doesn't
get much better than that. Yep, anticipation.
I wonder what the others will be like. There
will be a mix of saltwater and freshwater fishers.
Hey, I just thought of something. If one mixes
freshwater with saltwater, the fresh will become
a diluted saltwater solution. Hmmm, we may just
ruin these folks. Dad always said, "Once you get
Florida sand in your shoes, you never really
I promise next week's column will be better.
The anticipation will have diminished and I
will surely have a lot to write about. But
for now, I sit here and wait to begin the
trip to the other side of Florida. Anticipating.
To be continued. . .
See y'all next week. ~ Capt. Gary
Gary grew up in central Florida and spent much
of his youth fishing the lakes that dot the area.
After moving a little closer to the coast, his
interests changed from fresh to salt. Gary still
visits his "roots" in the "lake behind the house."
He obtained his captain's license in the early '90's
and fished the blue waters of the Atlantic for a little
over twelve years. His interests in the beautiful shallow
water flats in and around the famous Mosquito Lagoon came
around twenty-five years ago. Even though Captain Gary
doesn't professionally guide anymore, his respect of the
waters will ever be present.
Gary began fly fishing and tying mostly saltwater
patterns in the early '90's and has participated as
a demo fly tier for the Federation of Fly Fishers
on numerous occasions. He is a private fly casting
and tying instructor and stained glass artist,
creating mostly saltwater game fish in glass.