We survived the spring high tide last night. The highest waves dampened the sand under the front tires of our RAV4 at 10 PM. We had a scary hour or so and we were lucky. We were also lucky because we had much less dew and once that tide started dropping we got a great night sleep amongst the ghost crab colony.
Before Granny woke up I walked a mile of beach. Visibility wasn’t on my side with the rising sun but I managed to finally see a permit rolling in the wave. I got one cast to him then never saw him again.
As the sun got higher we had coffee then breakfast. The entire time I had my eyes up and down the beach hoping to see a tail. When visibility got good it became apparent that the water clarity had diminished and its color was pea green. Not only that, some of the local fishermen pulled near in their panga and started dragging a massive net. My confidence level plummeted as I took in the situation.
After breakfast Granny and I walked for permit. It was scorching hot and you had to be on the wet sand in order not to burn your feet. We walked several miles for at least three hours and saw one tiny uncooperative permit.
Granny gave up and returned to camp. I wasn’t loving it much with the pea green water. So instead of continuing to walk up and down the beach looking for permit I ventured into a rocky area to blind cast for something we could eat for dinner (permit won’t be on our menu no matter what).
A particular spot caught my eye. Out from the rocks I could see a drop off with current funneling into it. There had to be a fish there feeding on baitfish and crabs. I waded out to my chest and made a long cast with my permit crab and let it sink. As my fly was sinking I got ripped!
A strong and mysterious battle ensued. At first it was all I could do to stop the fish from bullying me into the rocks. Then he changed his tactic and took me to my backing knot and stayed there. He didn’t take more line but I couldn’t get a single crank on the reel. Little by little the fish gave in and I walked backwards to shore. I landed a new species – the potato grouper (Epinephelus tukula)!
I don’t like killing fish but this fella was a perfect feed for two people. I popped him over the head and hiked back to camp. Granny was reading in a tiny piece of shade from our car. She was delighted to learn we had grouper on the menu for this evening.
Despite being one of the most beautiful campsites on earth, Granny and I packed up and without problems drove off the beach back to civilization. Our cooler was completely out of ice and we noticed the local fishermen had plenty to pack their fish. I offered to buy some and they wouldn’t take our money and filled us to the brim. I tell you these people are incredibly nice.
We drove three hours south and are camped on the outskirts of a town called Sharbithat. None of our trip is planned so we ended up here by accident. We got lost trying to find a road on our map that didn’t exist and here we are. Anyway, it’s a good looking beach and I intend to fish it in the morning. Now it’s time for a potato grouper feast!