Sunday Classic / What the Hell is That?

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What The Hell Is That? Photo by Louis Cahill

Every once in a while you see something you just can’t explain. I was shooting in the Florida Keys the other day with with my friend Capt. Joel Dickey. It was late in the day. The sun was hanging right on the horizon and I was making the best of the evening light. I was out of the boat, standing in wast deep water shooting Sandy Horn casting from the bow and Joel on the platform when Joel called out “we got a school of perms coming, big school”. I stayed still and quiet, excited about the chance to shoot a hookup from out of the boat. I could see the push about a hundred and fifty yards out. Joel wasn’t kidding about it being a big school. The push looked like the wake of a flats boat.

Our setup couldn’t have been better. The push was headed straight for us and fast. I could see Joel squinting into the glare. At a hundred yards he said, “no, it’s not permit”. A minute later, in a very different tone of voice he said,”oh my God that’s a f¥€king huge shark”. Now, I have heard these words before and I have seen sharks in the Keys bigger than a flats boat. You don’t have to say f¥€king huge shark to me twice. I made a little wake of my own getting back to the boat.

By this time the push was fifty yards away and closing fast. You could see the water parting off the dorsal fin. I thought about saying, “we’re gonna need a bigger boat”. Before I could it dawned on all of us that we should be able to see a fish that big by now, but we couldn’t. We could just see the push. “It must be bait”, Joel said. “Yeah” Sandy chimed in, “it’s bait”. It wasn’t bait. There were no bait fish breaking the surface. It was way too big anyway. Almost in unison we all said “what the hell is that”?

We were all three looking pretty dumbfounded. When the big push got fifty feet from the boat the air suddenly got cold. It had been a stifling ninety five degrees that day with no wind. When the temperature suddenly drops twenty degrees or so on a day like that the hair on the back of your neck stands up. “Now, that’s just creepy” Sandy whispered. It was Joel who figured out what we were witnessing. It was a water spout. Just forming. Just starting to lift it’s finger to the sky.

It passed twenty feet from the boat. The sound was amazing. The air was cold and still. I was awestruck. It had already passed the boat when Joel said, “you are going to get a picture of this, right?”. ” It was the damnedest thing I’ve ever seen. It passed twenty feet from me and I have no idea how it happened. That is, I couldn’t for the life of me explain to you how on a perfectly calm day water just gets restless and decides to go see what the clouds are doing. It was just some crazy, hand of God, shit. One of the hundreds of unique and mystifying experiences I would not have had if I had never picked up a fly rod.

Come fish with us in the Bahamas!

Louis Cahill
Gink & Gasoline
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8 thoughts on “Sunday Classic / What the Hell is That?

  1. A great read for sure, that had to be quite a sight! I’ve only ever seen them from a distance, but witnessing them develop from nearby, that it amazing.

  2. That’s one of the privileges of being a “Fly Fisherman” we see things that others will never see! I suppose we can be grateful for that.

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