Sunday, November 29, 2015

Photos Survive Drowned iPhone

I had the pleasure of guiding Ted Thomas and Dennis Matt from Virginia this past September, and I was taking tons of photos and video on my iPhone while they stalked and landed 10 reds along a remote shoreline--one of them 9.5 lbs. and another 8.5 lbs. I was very happy for them, but in the midst of landing fish and photographing fish, I dropped my brand-new iPhone 6 into the water. While it had a water resistant case, it wasn't enough to protect it from 30 minutes underwater. I wasn't able to find it until, miraculously, my foot felt it in the sand. I was fortunate that the iPhone repair place was able to rescue a very few of the photos and videos. My day with Ted and Dennis was a lesson of sorts.  Just the previous day, we had fished the same shoreline from the boat, and had caught no fish. And yet, we had shots at probably 20 different redfish along a 300-yard shoreline. Why the difference? When casting from the boat, we would have a brief glimpse of a redfish tailing or "backing" along the shoreline, and then we'd see nothing. Ted would have to cast on speculation, not knowing where the fish's head was. And in such shallow water, a miss is as good as a mile: the fish simply don't see the fly if it's more than a foot away. So time and time again, Ted would cast, and the fish would blow up and leave the area. The point is: The action was fast and furious, and the opportunities were addictive, but there wasn't a single hookup.  

Fast forward to the next morning when we poled the shoreline again. I'd decided beforehand that we would not stay on the boat if the fish started showing up. So when we saw the first "backing" redfish in five inches of water, I asked Ted to step off the boat and stalk him. I staked the skiff, and spent the next two hours wading the shoreline with the two anglers. The action was phenomenal. One angler would walk five feet from the shoreline, spot a fish coming up the shoreline, and then cast to the fish once it clearly showed itself. After the first angler would hook up, the second man would walk behind him and take up the wade along the shoreline. We leapfrogged like that until 10 reds had been landed. In every case, the fish were so subtle that the guys had to stand still and wait for them to show a fin or a back or a wiggle. But because they were wading, and largely invisible to the approaching fish, the anglers could hold off until the fish showed himself. 

This was an excellent example of why you have know when to abandon the boat, rather than to persist in casting to fish that will see you before you can get off a good shot.  Fishing from the boat becomes addictive, in that you cover a lot of water, and tend to see a lot more fish than when you're wading. But the quality of the opportunity is a better predictor of success than the quantity of opportunities. There are days when my clients and I never step off the boat because the conditions are right for that approach. A great angler is a flexible angler, ready to adjust to conditions whenever they change. Sometimes casting from the bow of the boat is the best way to fish, but sometimes it's only a "tease" that becomes a habit that ruins the day.

Here's a compilation of the surviving photos and video clips.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I am glad it was an enjoyable experience for you top 10 writers . I think that you should definitely do it again sometime and hopefully I will be able to make it to that one..