Went Fishing for a change...
and made a discovery. Not about fishing but about filming fishing.
Wayne and I were going backcountry for spinner sharks a couple days ago. I'd never caught one and they are thick backcountry now - along with blues to 9 lbs and, as we discovered, mackeral to 30". The blues and large macs are in areas we never used to see them in those numbers and large (for here) size.
Anyhow, I loaded up the old 12 wt (more like a 13 wt) with a billfish taper, 9' leader, 30 inch #4 wire and a sailfish popper. I also brought a 10 wt with a 16' leader and a surface shrimp made like a gurgler.
The water was like milk, despite little wind for the previous 2 days so we kept heading west till we got into medium smokey water and then the wind died. Knowing Wayne as I do, I knew that our spinner outing was off. He had half a dozen crabs in his bait well. So, permit hunting it was.
Our plan had been to locate a ladyfish mud and start catching them until the commotion brought in some spinners. Once they were lit up from all the commotion, I would then switch to the 12 wt and pick out a big one. But this, of course was aborted with the drop in wind, because Wayne is a fanatic permit fisherman.
His first cast to permit, however, was a little short and wound up with a small spinner grabbing his crab and putting on an air show, including one spectacular jump during which he executed at least 4 1/2 RPMs. I had my "hat cam" on, but missed the best of the fight because I was aimed too high and he was off the top of the frame.
A slight breeze began so we started elec. motoring along the bank looking for tails. I grabbed the 12 in case a spinner cruised by, since the water in close to the bank was pretty clear. Meanwhile, Wayne was dragging his crab along up in the bow. Finally, I told him if I saw a big shark, I was going to throw at it even if not a spinner. I haven't bent a rod on a good fish in way too long.
I still had my "hat cam" on when I spotted a probably shark up ahead of Wayne. This time it worked pretty well, but I still didn't know until afterwards if I had him in the frame -turned out I did. Been a long time since I fished for sharks - and never lemons - but most of them (except bonnets) are delicate eaters and you have to tickle their noses for quite a ways to get them to eat. This one seemed aggressive, and I screwed up and tried to feed him too soon as he looked ready to open his mouth. But the fly slowing to a stop spooked him and the popper took a little ride just behind his head as he dove down and swam away.
Wayne got two good shots at permit, but both times his small crab caught the wind and sailed off course.
After they settled down and resurfaced, I got a great shot at them with the shrimp on the 10 wt. They knew we were there, but at least I got the big one to track on the fly before deciding not to eat it.
These were deep-water permit floating on top, not feeding. I did have them in the frame as we approached, but was reluctant to try the zoom, since I didn't even know if they were in the frame. The went down once, then came up again further away, and are not visable in the video as I cast to them because they are too far away, though they are before that.
Like an idiot, I cast at the jumbo instead of the smaller one about 5 feet ahead of him - but I just can't control myself and cast at smaller fish which are much more likely to eat. Had they been side by side, either may have rushed the fly so the other didn't get it. Tarpon are like that too when not in strings. So because of my obsession with large fish, the smaller permit in front never even knew the fly was there.
But the big discovery (I already know I am an idiot) is that I need a sight hanging down off my camera like the old WW1 machine gun sights. Since the camera hangs down off a hard hat by some kind of attachment slide , I can use the tripod screw hole in the bottom of the camera to mount a discrete ring sight in front of my right eye. Then, using the zoom button on the hinged screen door, I will be able to use the zoom and keep the fish in the frame.
What I really want to catch is good video of sailfish hitting a popper. The adrenaline rush of that is truly extraordinary, and I've never seen a video that captures it. Not many people fish for them from flats boats or little 17 footers like mine in calm weather. Nor do they use a zoom because it's too hard to hold a camera still with a zoom. But I've discovered that a head mount is way, way more stable - if only you know exactly where it's pointed.
So it was a great day to be barefoot in the sun with a light cotton short sleeve shirt on watching sharks and rays and mackerel and permit - despite the smokey water.