Florida Shad, Bream, & A Bonus Fish On The Fly
Needed to get out fishing, it had been far too long. And by fishing I mean not "spend an hour or two fishing retention ponds" fishing, but real, "go somewhere cool and fish all day" fishing.
Recalling that this was about the same time of year that I headed out to chase the annual Florida shad run with Captain Rich Santos in 2015, I popped him last minute note to see if he was booked solid yet... Lucky for me, he had an opening this on Saturday, which I jumped on, cold & rainy weather forecast be damned.
I'm not going to lie and tell you the catching part of the fishing experience was stellar. Cold temps, lack of sun, and an abundance of wind seemed to put the fish down, but damn it didn't matter. When your nerves are frazzled from working non-stop at 1,000 miles per hour since Thanksgiving, you'll revel in the peacefulness that moving water, abundant nature, no cell service, and the occasional tight line provides.
However, it wasn't like the catching was poor. It was a very successful trip. We caught some shad.
We caught some bream.
And we caught a "Sunshine Bass," a hybrid striper, which was a first for me. A powerful fish, you know immediately when one of these takes your fly that there's no shad on the end of the line.
One word. Awesome.
I can't end the post without giving props to Captain Rich & his First Coast Fly Fishing Unlimited guide service. Not only is he extremely personable - the kind of guy you'll easily call your friend after a few minutes - but he just finds a way to put you on fish, even in tough circumstances. I've been out with Rich three times now, and my opinion of him only gets stronger each time. If you're ever in Jacksonville and want to go fishing, Rich is the man (& a great photographer too)!