Report from the Flats Off Key Largo

Steve's Key Largo  Bone

Steve Hemkens hoists the lone fish of our trip, while Cap. Nick Verberg looks on.

photo by Phil Monahan

After the rough start to our journey, Steve Hemkens and I did finally make it to the Ocean Reef Club on Key Largo for the Orvis Lodge Retreat, and we managed to squeeze in a single day of fishing. We were in search of tarpon with Capt. Nick Varnberg, but the angling gods were not with us: the fish were not moving across any of the flats we searched. So, we switched to chasing bonefish and permit. Shots were few and far between, but Steve managed to hook and land an 8-pound bone that actually ate his shrimp fly twice. Despite the tough fishing, it was gorgeous on the water, and Nick is great company who poled all over the place trying to find fish. Plus, the break from a raw Vermont spring was certainly nice.

Key Largo Sunrise

We were out on the water soon after sunrise, looking for rolling tarpon.

photo by Phil Monahan

Key Largo Tarpon Search

Steve was first on the bow, fly in hand to make a quick cast if necessary.

photo by Phil Monahan

Key Largo Bonefish Search

By late morning, we’d made the switch to bonefish and begun taking vital sun-protection measures.

photo by Phil Monahan

Key Largo Fake Point

Captain Nick shows off his version of the classic “guide point.”

photo by Phil Monahan

Key Largo  Fish On

All that staring at the water finally paid off, as Steve made the right cast and presentation to a big bonefish.

photo by Phil Monahan

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