The past 2 years or so have meant that we haven't seen a lot of our international repeat guests on Little Cayman. Now that testing measures and quarantine is not required for international guests, we are seeing some of our repeat guests again. So it was great to see my good mate, and self professed Tarpon Lake expert Steve back on island.
We were also blessed with a week of perfect weather in the middle of weeks of very bad weather either side of his planned trip. I was booked every morning and we were going to make the most of it.
As per my previous post, Tarpon lake was still covered in weed, something Steve had never seen before either, so we needed to select our spots carefully to avoid the worst of the weed. Nothing worse than having to take off weed after every cast. But that was going to be far from our concern with what we were about to encounter.
You will know from having a look on the website that we have a healthy population of Snowy Egrets (among other birds - but the Egrets far outnumber any other species). They roost in the mangroves and look stunning flying across a mirror calm lake in the evening.
We got to the lake just after sunrise and were greeted with a huge flock of Egrets on the far side of the lake making a huge din. We watched this for a while, I just thought they were cleaning themselves at the lakes edge - I was wrong. I got the binoculars out and in front of the Egrets were hundreds of Tarpon all feeding like crazy. Turns out the Egrets weren't cleaning themselves, they were eating as well. Effectively creating a bait-ball of fish
that both they and the Tarpon were taking full advantage of.
I couldn't get the Millennium Tarpon across the lake fast enough. Our learning was only just starting though. Typically the lures we use are black and purple, toad pattern, or similar. I have had success with different patterns, but that is normally the go to pattern. We were amongst hundreds of fish and we couldn't get one hit on the lure. Very odd. I reverted to trout tactics and decided that we should try somethi
ng small(ish) and white - as that was what they were in a frenzy chasing. We had some bone fish patterns and very basic white lures that we tied on quickly - bang!! We had fish on the line jumping all around the boat. Amazing fun, and so unexpected!
Certainly not the traditional mornings of casting endless casts to get a fish jumping, we were spoilt for choice. The bust up probably last
ed about an hour or so before the Egrets were full, the Tarpon were full and the lake went back to the normal quiet conditions. Our white lures stopped working as soon as the frenzy ended (we fished one lure so hard that at one point we only had the hook left!), and we reverted back to the standard lures. Here are a couple of videos of the action on the lake. All of us on the boat knew that we had been witness to a pretty special event that week.
I will do another blog about the various different lures shortly to give you an idea as to what we are fishing these days.