There is nothing like seeing stuff in the wild for the first time. Most of the time you are expecting to see new sights. That’s why your there. That’s why it’s called an adventure. But in every adventure into the wild there also comes surprises. Bonus stuff you never expected. New lessons to be learned no matter how many time you’re been there and done that.
When we began to travel the coastal waters in Southwest Florida four years ago, we were, as always, in search of fish but also knew there could and would be surprises around any corner. Stuff you just can’t imagine till it happens. And when you’re fondly remembering a great trip it may be the big fish you remember but the one thing you remember most is that out of nowhere event.
The photo above of my good friend and fishing buddy, Ed Michaels, holding this beautiful sea turtle was one of those once in a lifetime experiences we’ll never forget.
We were busily fishing for spotted sea trout along a tidal ripline in Everglades National Park. Fishing was good, they were right where they were supposed to be. Textbook fishing in a spot we had never been to before.
Well one fish doubled Ed’s rod to the handle. We could only speculate what it could possibly be. Certainly not a sea trout. The very last thing we would have guessed was a turtle. What to hell was this creature doing in a ripline, we’ll never know. It was a harmless hook-up in the rear flipper. They have extremely tough hide. We realized the turtle was going to have to come aboard in able to successfully extract the jig hook. Once the turtle was tired enough we were able to bring him on board and have a real close look. It was a beautiful wild creature, obviously old because of the huge barnacles dotted around it’s shell. He soon revived, got his picture taken, them swam back to turtle land unharmed. Stuff you just could never expect. We always say it’s not just about the fishing.
The fish are always the main object of our pursuits but there is a lot of bonus stuff that adds so much to a trip. Things you may not foresee come along and make your day.
To put it all into perspective, I had a customer some time ago reel up his line, put his rod down, and stopped fishing. After a bit I asked him ” Is everything fine. You want to move? You need a new fly? How about a snack.”
His reply was ” Dan, I can’t remember the last time I could look in every direction and not see one man made thing. If it’s OK with you, I think I’m going to watch the wind blow through the leaves for a bit.”