January turned out to be a busy month. On the first, I broke from my usual fishing to swimming with the fish at the Florida Aquarium in Tampa. My sister, nephew who works at the aquarium and my grandson joined me in this experience. They all seemed to do better than I did. I had a difficult time getting used to the mouthpiece and breathing through my mouth. After just a few minutes, I swam back to the platform to adjust this and noticed the very large shark swimming toward the same area...yes their was a barricade between us, but I still took notice. The rays kept swimming toward us and I kept trying to avoid them. The fish were beautiful, especially the flying gurnard. We followed this up with a visit to Universal Studio and Hogwarts. Harry Potter and Dr. Seuss were great. Unfortunately we got caught in the near blizzard on the way home and had to spend an extra night on the road.
The weekend after I got home Tri-Lakes Fly Fishers had a program with John Berry scheduled. Wayne drove down for the program and we both enjoyed the Saturday with John. On Sunday Wayne and I fished Bennett Spring and on Monday we fished Roaring River before attending the Tri-Lakes meeting Monday night. Both days fishing were slow, the water a little high and dingy. Wayne outfished me both days, but we had a good time. We saw two eagles on the Roaring River trip and a king fisher at Bennett.
This last Saturday, MTFA had a flying event at the Nature Center. We had about a dozen tiers and lots of visitors stopped by to talk. Some of these visitors tied their first flies and, hopefully, we've shown others some of the joys of our sport. Sunday several members of SMFF met at Roaring River for lunch. Most of fished either before or after lunch or both. I had a much better day than the last visit. Most of my fishing buddies know I love soft hackles, but this time I only caught one fish on a soft hackle. I was fishing a tandem...a caddis green soft hackle followed by a tab G-bug. A good new-bad news item, I ended with the same two flies I started with. The goods news is my knots were properly tied and I lost no flies to bad knots; the bad news is I didn't catch enough fish to ruin any flies. Had one small fish of about 10 inches, a few in the 12-13 inch range and 2 about 16-18 inches. One of the larger fish was beautifully colored.
It looks like February will also have lots of fishing related events. What I'm really looking forward to is the end February trip to Port Aransas, Texas with about 6 fishing buddies to try the salt water of the Texas coast.