Wednesday, April 13, 2011

24 Hours With Mr. Paskador

A couple weeks ago photographer, international fish bum, and cold beer connoisseur  Tim Pask and his wonder angler wife, Sonya, escaped the chill of Idaho for a few days in South Florida looking for the "Silver King" with Captain Carl Ball

Tim kept track of a typical day on the water looking for tarpon for a "24 Hours With..." post for T.F.M.  Enjoy.   

5:30 a.m. - Alarms goes off. My first thought is “Holy Crap”, my second though is, “I set the time incorrectly, as its sure NOT time to get up!”,my third thought, “Oh yea, I’m tarpon fishing, and all of a sudden I am wide awake.”

6:30 a.m. - My great friend Captain Carl Ball finishes loading all my camera gear in his Hell’s Bay. He never looks excited to see the extra crap I drag around, but it’s not his first rodeo with me, so he laughs it off these days.

7:30 a.m. - It’s too dark to sight fish, so we slide up to an area where the tide rips as it fights the wind. The tarpon slide around this corner fairly consistently, so I fight my balance while waiting for them to show up. I glance at my belly and notice a new fat roll. My ability to stay on the casting platform isn’t what it used to be. It’s hell getting old.

7:43 a.m. - Just jumped my first tarpon for the day. She damn near landed in the boat while cutting the corner. Life is GREAT, and I untuck my shirt, to hide my ever expanding belly roll. Life is awesome and getting better by the minute.

8:30 a.m. - Tide plays itself out and the tarpon disappear. I often wonder where the hell they go. It’s not like you see them slide by and head in any one direction. They just vanish, and poof they are gone.

9:30 a.m. - The sun is up high enough now, so we start searching for laid up fish. It’s unbelievable to me that a 150 pound fish can be virtually invisible in six feet of water. These resident fish, are not sitting on white sandy beachfronts, and they are tough to see unless they are within a few feet of the surface.

9:45 a.m. - I blow an easy shot on a “high and happy” fish. She explodes and water flies in all directions. I suck!!!

10:30 a.m. - My wife Sonya is back up ready. I hold my camera in the ready position until I simply can’t. Then while I am looking in the other direction she makes a short forty foot cast and screams “Fish on!!”. My trigger finds the button and I take twenty-five blurry shots, before I even get it pointed towards where the fish was.

12:00 p.m. - I wolf down a turkey sandwich and guzzle an ice cold beer. Should I have another beer? It’s quickly approaching the mid 80’s and the wind has died. I grab another beer and down it goes...

1:00 p.m. - Slack tide. The King seems lazy and has moved much lower in to the water. Most are sitting right on the bottom, and can only been seen once we pole almost on top of them. It’s not going to happen for me. I doubt anyone can get this done in these conditions.

1:22 p.m. - Sonya makes a SHORT cast of less then twenty feet. The tarpon inhales it. The first jump was within a few feet of the boat, but don’t worry, my camera was safely tucked in my case. I realize that I just missed the shot of my life, as Sonya once again screams, “Fish on!”. Carl beams. Sonya screams.

2:45 p.m. - I’m on deck and feeling the pressure. I have yet to land a tarpon today and I’ve missed a ton of great photo opportunities. I need to get this done.

2:55 p.m. - A huge fish is sitting at 80 feet. Right on the surface and seems content. Carl positions the boat perfectly and somehow I actually make the cast. The fly slowly sicks in to the fishes window. I slowly start sliding the fly and the fish crushes it....“Fish on!!!” Life is back to being amazing. I LOVE this game!!!!

4:00 p.m. - We’ve lost the best sun an hour ago, but at least the wind is completely wrong. Captain Carl is poling with the wind, and the sun in his eyes, so when he does see a fish, he can’t stop the boat. We are more or less sailing across the flats. His frustration grows, but then again he has Sonya on deck and anything could happen. I am filled full of doubt and wanting to call it a day, but Sonya is focused and motivated. Captain Carl seems to know it’s virtually impossible, but he also stays focused. I eventually put my camera down, and within seconds hear the dreaded “Fish On!” scream, as I root around the cooler for a beer. Worlds worst photographer comes to mind.

4:25 p.m. - Captain Carl and I hang over the edge of the boat. He is trying to hold the fish and I am trying to run my underwater camera. The fish pushes against my dome cover and slims it. I try and wipe the tarpon slim off, but it’s like super glue. I position the camera for a shot down the fishes “Pie Hole”, and accidentally rub my lens dome on the fishes lower jaw. I quickly hold down the trigger and fire away. A few seconds later the fish is swimming away. Life is GREAT!

4:33 p.m. - I glance at my underwater camera dome and notice some tarpon slime. After closer inspection I realize it is not slim after all. The tarpon's lower jaw actually scratched the hell out of the dome. I hope the shot is cool, but have my doubts. The replacement dome is over $500.00. An expensive lesson. Maybe that extra beer put me over the top...

5:15 p.m. - We at the dock and unloading. Captain Carl roots around and finds a few more beers. We sit down and talk smack about tarpon. He knows a thousand times more then I do, but it doesn’t stop me from yapping away. I feel like I belong here, and want to chase tarpon every single day of my life. Life is GREAT!!!


Mysticfish said...

Great Post. The epic stuff never happens when one is ready for it. I'm heading to Islamorada in a couple weeks, so my tarpon fever is building. Thanks for adding more fuel.

Scott said...

“Fish on!!”. My trigger finds the button and I take twenty-five blurry shots, before I even get it pointed towards where the fish was.

Haha I can totally relate! Great post Cam!