My brother and I have been fishing together since I can remember. Some of my earliest memories are of a house on Lake Norman, where we spent weekend afternoons with lines in the water. Ever since then fishing has been a staple in our lives. Family vactions always had a fishing expedition involved in the activities list, our basement was filled with fishing and camping gear; everything about the Buchanan family has always involved the great outdoors. So whenever we get the chance, my brother and I always go fishing.
In mid november we had a chance to get together and do some fishing in good-ole Tampa bay. I live in Tampa and fish its waters many times a week. Its a spectacular fishery with many diverse species and plenty of opportunities to catch them. We decided to not mess around this time and hired Capt. Ethan Kiburz, a local fly fishing guide, for the friday after my brother arrived. I had the pleasure of knowing Ethan for a short time before we decided to book him for the day, he's a very laid back guy with a serious passion for the sport. He works part time at the fly shop I spend all my money at, so we had already gotten past the awkward dance that guides and new clients often do for the first trip together. Ethan called us on our way to meeting him at the boat ramp, he informed us that the weather conditions were less than favorable and that we might want to reconsider going out. Colin had limited time left in Tampa (he lives in South Carolina) and we were already awake at 6:00 am so we pulled the trigger and went for it.
The captain was right, it was cold (59 degrees is cold in FL) and when we left the relative calm of the Williams boat ramp we were met with a feirce north wind accompanied by heavy chop. We battled through to our first spot of the morning, a power plant that ,because of the water discharge from the hydroelectric turbine, had much warmer water temperature than anywhere else in the bay. This attracted many different types of fish and Capt. Ethan said we'd have a good chance at running into a cobia and some big jacks. after about 20 minutes of poling around the out-flow of the power plant we had located the wolf pack of big jacks that ethan was talking about. While not the most glamorous fish, Jack Cravalle is a feirce species that fights hard and gets extremely fired up about big nasty flies. We caught a few jacks and decided to poll along a concrete wall to see if any snook were trying to warm up in the increasing sunlight. after a few minutes of creeping along, Ethan spots what we all think is a log. Once closer we realized it was a gigantic snook. My brother had never caught a snook before and waisted no time throwing a large balck fly at the laid up behemoth. He executed a perfect cast and the beast made its move for the fly, only to turn it down at the last second!
We spent a few more hours of trying to sight fish around the plant but decided to switch gears and head up into a river for some snook. The trip up there was brutal, going directly into the wind and chop. Once at the spot we spent the remainder of the day battling the elements with no fish to lighten our spirits. Around 3:00 pm we decided to call it a day and head back to the ramp. Reflecting back on the day we had each caught a handful of jacks, my brother hooked a manitee (accidently) and almost rangled with his first, and probably would have been largest, snook ever. Looking back however, the best parts were the comradery that the three of us shared that day; countless laughs and outrageous fish stories, and general appreciation for the opportunity to be out on the water doing what we all love most, Fishing.