I try to avoid back-to-backers, whenever possible. Pack, depart, return, unpack, wash clothes, repack, depart, return. This time, however, it was unavoidable. The first trip involved the extremely busy schedules of nine people, and the second trip involved tarpon fishing dates that have been carved in stone since 1991. I shall now apologize to my wife, my kids, and my dog. By my calculation: some of you missed me terribly, some of you were pissed, and some of you barely noticed I was gone.
On the first leg, I had the pleasure of following and photographing a great group of anglers on a corporate getaway trip to Puerto Vallarta. The plan was to drag lures and baits for billfish, but the conditions for that gig were less than ideal. We had light winds and flat seas, but the water was a little cool and off-color. Despite the lack of large pelagics, there were plenty of dorado around, and the food, drink, staff, and accommodations were all top drawer. Thanks to Sprague Mullikin for pulling the trip together, and to Janice and Bob Carter for sharing their wonderful airplane, villa, boat, and crew.
After three loads of laundry, I packed up again and flew to Key West for my annual tarpon sabbatical. My family is normally in tow on this one, but the school calendar tossed this year’s trip into disarray. The weather was phenomenal for four days running, and the tarpon swam by in droves. The big palolo worm hatches went off while I was there, and the tarpon were doing surface gainers to eat any fly that was orange and squiggly. Thanks to Albert Ponzoa for once again lining me up on a bunch of fish, and for taking the rod and getting sweaty so I could fire a few jumping frames.