Tuesday, July 19, 2016

"Fix Florida" by Costa

Published on Jul 18, 2016

At one time, Florida was a waterman’s paradise, pristine estuaries and healthy fish populations. Recent events have put three of Florida’s estuaries in an environmental turmoil, but these events are not new, they are sparked from over a half century of development, agriculture and water mismanagement.

At Costa, we think it’s important to tell this story and work with interest groups to propose solutions and work on change. We can work to reverse the damage, restore the Everglades and recharge Florida’s waters. Water is our greatest asset. It’s our playground, the place that touches our soul, and it’s our job to protect it.

Get involved and please sign the Now or Neverglades Declaration!


Please get involved! Florida needs your help!- Flip

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

RIDE.....Where does it come from and how can I get it?

There's no smoke, no mirrors and no mystery. It's really just high school physics and good old common sense. As simple as it is, many manufacturers and even more boat owners have trouble putting GOOD RIDE together with a good fishing package.

Good (comfortable) ride can be generated by either of two hull design characteristics...... 


Achieving good ride from entry involves designing some vee or sharpness into the front portion of the bottom of a hull. Having this sharpness forward in a hull bottom allows the forward portion of the hull to cleave rough water thus providing good (smooth) ride. Sharp or deep entry as it is sometimes called, allows  the designer to build a flatter running surface toward the rear of the hull. Flatter running surfaces are more "correct" and require less horsepower to achieve the same speed as steeper running surfaces. Flatter rear running surfaces also provide more displacement so such designs float is less water than steeper designs. The design challenge is to build enough entry into the front of the hull so that the entry cleaves rough water before it reaches the flatter running surface yet rides high enough to remain out of the water in calm conditions allowing the hull to run on the flatter rear surface without drag from the entry.
Sounds impossible. A great concept which would never work in real life. Basically true except for hydraulic or electric trim tabs. Sharp hull designers in this day and age build enough rocker into the bottom of hulls so that with trim tabs in the neutral position the hull will ride bow up (entry out of the water). Some designers even allow their hulls to porpoise with tabs in  neutral but all designers realize the benefits offered by adjustable trim tabs. 

My belief is that virtually ALL BOATS can benefit from adjustable tabs properly used.

The term DEADRISE refers to the angle of a hulls bottom as measured from the bottom of the hull at the transom to an imaginary line drawn from chine to chine:

Here a drawing of the deadrise measurement:

Hulls having deadrise greater than approximately 12 degrees (generally found in many skiffs) up to approximately 25 degrees (found in many offshore fishing and racing boats) tend to use hull angle further aft to achieve smooth ride. This also allows less of the hull bottom to be in contact with the water causing less drag and often dryer ride.

At this point, even if you're not reading between the lines, you're beginning to see that there are areas of trade off and compromise in the arena of hull design. Each angler must determine what it is that he or she will be asking their boat to do during most fishing situations and select a hull design that will accommodate the broadest range of fishing situations. 
Forgetting about the interior layout of a fishing boat (which we will discuss at great length in future columns) here are some things to consider when deciding what features in a particular hull design will fit in with your fishing plans.

Hull Width:

There is a term which I love to use and hear used...... It is "Wretched Excess". This term applies very nicely to the width dimension designed into many shallow water fishing boats these days. To qualify as a great fishing boat a hull doesn't have to be as wide as an aircraft carrier. You do not need to be able to walk around the gunwale of a skiff without it tipping to one side or another. Tipping is a perfectly normal attitude for a skiff. In fact, there are certain situations where tipping can be a big help.

Some years ago when we used to fish for very large jewfish (giant sea bass) we would often catch fish as large as several hundred pounds. To put such fish in the skiff we would actually tilt the skiff until a rear corner of the gunwale or covering board was at or just under the surface of the water and slide the large jewfish, shark or tarpon into the boat.

Being able to tilt a skiff can often allow you to get into or out of shallower water than the boat could float in at normal attitude.  Tilting can also help to get a boat on plane in very shallow water. Narrower hull designs normally produce better rides and certainly pole better than wider designs. The fact is that if most hulls were narrower , had less deadrise, some entry in front and some more displacement in the rear, they would draw less (float higher in the water), answer better at idle speeds and pole better. The trade off might be that the boat would be slightly more "tippy"  (not much because of the increased displacement aft)......... who cares, that's what boats are!


In the 1960's the concept of deadrise or deep vee hull design found it's way into the off-shore ocean racing scene. It was very successful in that world and allowed highly powered race boats to go very fast through very rough seas, actually leave the water and land on the heavier (because of engine weight) rear end of the boat yet land softly because of the vee or deadrise in the hull. Deep vee hulls dominated offshore ocean racing in those years.

It didn't take very long for this technology to find it's way into the offshore fishing boat market and before long companies such as Sea Craft, Bertram, Sea Bird, Wellcraft, Speedcraft, Formula  and others were introducing fishing machines which incorporated the deep vee concept. It made perfect sense....... Folks were traveling further over rougher seas to get to remote fishing locations. Greater speed and better ride were needed and so the concept was embraced by the offshore market. Unfortunately, deadrise found it's way into the inshore market as well. Small boat manufacturers discovered that they could make their boats ride better if they incorporated some deadrise into their hull designs. To float the additional deadrise they had to build in more hull width to gain some displacement.......so boats got wider. As they got wider they got heavier and required more horsepower to make them go......bigger motors made them heavier still and harder to pole and fish.  The size/weight/power  pyramid developed a life of it's own and instead of people learning how to properly drive and use smaller, better fishing boats many just settled into bigger, smoother, faster less efficient fishing skiffs.

The average shallow water production fishing skiff on the market today draws in excess of nine inches, weighs well over one thousand pounds and is wider than it needs to be.  

Many excellent anglers that I know begin fishing for bonefish, redfish and snook in five or six inches of water. Areas unreachable by 99% of so called flats skiffs. All this so that folks can speed in complete comfort across choppy water to great fishing spots in boats that  cannot get there until the tide is halfway in and the fish are spread from here to Key Largo. Forget about the fuel that their 150 H.P.  Engine burned getting them there or the total outfit weight that they will have to pole around the flat all day.

So What's my point?  It's merely this......... If you're fishing offshore and speed and really rough water are considerations, a hull with serious deadrise may be what you need for most of your fishing situations. But, if most of your fishing will be done in very shallow water you may want to rethink the party line regarding skiff dimensions and bottom configuration bearing in mind that a fishing boat should above all FISH WELL!  Getting there in a true fishing boat may require you to tune up your seamanship and boat handling skills, but once you're in the fishes house you'll be needing a boat that will get you in and out of the neighborhood.

Stay tuned for more......Flip

Thursday, June 2, 2016

You've read what I've had to say about these rods both here on this Blog and on my website. Now read some from Rick Pope himself-

TFO Impact Fly Rods
Casting, Fishing, Fighting

by Rick Pope- Chairman- Temple Fork Outfitters

Finally … it is time to get out on the water!  Those of you who have seen, heard of or even cast our new Impact Series of rods can likely appreciate that they are unique among all the different series of TFO rods.  The combination of engineering and materials resulted in a long action with a very small diameter blank and lightning fast recovery.  While these are great marketing attributes, we want you to know exactly what they will do for you to enhance your success and enjoyment in fishing them.

Why a long action rod? - Unlike most TFO fast or medium fast actions which load and bend primarily towards the tip, Impact rods will bend much deeper for a given amount of resistance.  This shortens the effective length of the lever which can greatly reduce the fatigue of repetitively casting a fast action rod.  Think about it this way … if you put an ounce of weight on the end of a ruler, your lever is simply 12” and it is easy to hold horizontal.  Put that same ounce on a yard stick – making the lever 36” and it becomes a challenge to hold for any period of time. 

Recovery speed - In our rod action terms, a fast action rod is a longer lever and our Impact action is a shorter lever.  Faster action rods mitigate some of the stabilization issues when a blank is engineered with lower modulus materials as there is simply less blank load to stabilize.  Traditional lower modulus materials, when engineered as a longer action rod, typically suffer in recovery (think glass).  The higher weight to stiffness of lower modulus blanks wastes stored energy, or load, as some energy must be retained in order to stabilize the blank.  Higher modulus, or lower weight to stiffness, discharges a much greater amount of stored energy and stabilizes much faster which is exactly what the Impact Series does.  

Casting – “Let the rod do the work” Your job is to bend the rod and the rod’s job is to straighten (thanks Ed Jaworowski).  Store more energy by bending the rod more.  Bend the rod more by extending your stroke length for longer casts (a hint for George Anderson).  If your stroke is short, as in the old school 10 o’clock – 2 o’clock length, you’ll see tailing loops start to form as you attempt more distance.  Just lengthen your stroke and again “let the rod do the work”.  You’ll be amazed at the ease with which distance casts can be made.

Further, one of the most important practical fishing casts is a roll cast.  Even outside trout environments with limited back cast room, a roll cast pick-up is an asset.  Impact rods are superb roll casting tools. Just form your d-loop with an appropriate anchor point (end of the fly line about a rod length away).   You will find that the Impact long action design bends deeper through your delivery stroke and better discharges this stored energy when you stop.

Fishing & Fighting – or better stated, now that your Impact rod has delivered the fly, hooking fish with a long action rod will be easy. Big hooks and hard mouthed fish need a butt angle nearer zero.  A “strip strike” works best – just set the hook with your hauling hand.  Small hooks and light tippet are easily set with higher angles, and a very long shock absorber helps prevent light tippet break – offs … a great benefit.

Fighting bigger fish with heavy tippet will be easy as well.  While the shorter leverage is an advantage, you’ll still need to further manage lever length with fighting angle (rod butt to fish).  As an example, if your rod butt/reel seat is pointed straight up, you’re at 90 degrees.  Appropriate fighting angles for Impact rods decline as tippet strengths go up, so apply more pressure to a fish with heavier tippet by using fighting angles less than 45 degrees.  A 15 degree fighting angle with 20# tippet is about right.  Protect lighter tippets with fighting angles greater than 45 degrees.

In summary – we are particularly proud of this family of rods as they are easy to load, very efficient at discharging stored energy, and overall, a delight to fish.  We believe you’ll agree that the versatility of an Impact rod as a fishing and as a fish fighting tool are the great benefits of this type of action.  If you need help making a rod decision, just call us or email us.  For more on casting stroke length and fish fighting angles, check out Ed and Lefty’s “Complete Cast” DVD and whatever tool you select, we hope you enjoy what should be a great fishing season.   

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Giving birth (the 14th time)

In February of this year I sold my airboat and ordered a new one…’something I long ago swore never to do (be without an airboat). That, against my resolve done, I began the process to giving birth to my 14th airboat. One would imagine that after thirteen airboats…I might get it right!

For starters, #14 was being built by Al David, Performance Airboats, just moments down the street from my home at Mims…very convenient for me…perhaps not so much for Al David, as I pretty much lived there during the pregnancy! I, at one point, threatened to park my camper there so as not to miss a single rivet going into the hull.

Al delivered the completed project in April…and as in the past, built all I had expected and then some and with rigging and outfitting help from friends, and the motor from my previous boat, I got it wet.

I thought I’d share some fotos of airboats down through the years. These images never cease to conjure up memories of shining times sliding through some of the most intriguing wet spots in the world……

Come with me…Flip

Monday, April 4, 2016

Yeti Rambler Bottles are Here!

In stock NOW!

Like the rest of their Rambler series, the Yeti Rambler Bottles features a No Sweat™ design to keep condensation from collecting. Its 18/8 stainless steel construction stands up to even the toughest of conditions and you’ll find the leakproof, insulated TripleHaul™ cap protects your truck cab or day pack from any unnecessary spills. Unlike narrow-mouthed drink bottles that are a hassle to fill or rinse, the Rambler Bottle features Over-the-Nose™ technology for easy loading, drinking, and cleaning. And it’s BPA-free.

In other words, the Rambler Bottle is the only insulated container for cold (or hot) beverages that’s built for the wild.

*  18/8 Stainless Steel- made with durable kitchen grade 18/8 stainless steel
*  Double Wall Vacuum Insulation- keeps your drink as cold as science allows 
*  No Sweat Design- keeps your fingers dry and un-frostbit and....you won't need a coaster
*  "Over-the-Nose" technology for easy loading, drinking and cleaning
*  BPA Free

Yeti Rambler Bottle 18 ounce

The 18 oz Rambler™ Bottle from Yeti is a next-level insulated bottle. The perfect addition to your rough commutes, day hikes, or kayak sessions, this Rambler Bottle has the power to keep your water chilled or coffee hot until the last sip. Perfect size for vests or sling packs!

Yeti Rambler Bottle 36 ounce

Yeti has brought the legendary insulating power of their Rambler™ Tumblers into bottle form. The 36 oz Rambler Bottle is the perfect addition to your blind, ranch, or boat, with enough power to keep your water cold until the very last drop.

Yeti Rambler Bottle 64 ounce

The whopping 64 oz Rambler™ Bottle from Yeti takes insulation to the next level, complete with a double-wall vacuum to keep drinks hot or cold for hours. Perfect for remote campsites and rough worksites alike. 

Flip Pallot
Your source for Yeti Products

"I bought my Yeti from Flip Pallot himself!"- how cool is that?

Sunday, April 3, 2016

New "Ask Flip" added to the Sandbox

"Ask Flip"

We have added a new page over in the "Sandbox".

There you can "Ask Flip"! Just about any question about him, fishing, hunting etc.

Flip does his very best to answer most reasonable questions and we will now be posting the best ones over on the website with his answers. Be sure to include your name, address and phone number and if we use your question there on the site, you'll be entered to win some cool "schwag". We'll do the drawings about once a month and will post the winner on the Blog.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Spring 2016 Howler Brothers on the Website

Spring 2016 Howler Brothers

From the Bros

We are Howler Brothers. We are not really related by blood. But we are bonded by many shared callings: Surfing, fishing, paddling and the good things that come with these pursuits. Things like fire pits, really good tequila, limes, and pre-dawn coffee.

Above all we’re united by a belief in doing things the honest and pure way (which is not usually the easy way). We design and craft all our garments, and everything we make, with these passions and values in mind. Put our products to the test. Heed the call.

Their Story

Howler founders Chase Heard and Andy Stepanian spent their adolescent summers haunting the waters and fish of Florida and Virginia and riding the ripples those states call waves. Both Heard and Stepanian now live in Texas where they raise families, work hard, make music together, chase fish with fly rods and make runs to the nearest coast or river when the opportunity arises.

Their vision for Howler – and the name Howler Brothers – was inspired by a sound they each heard on surf trips to Costa Rica: the call of the loudest animal in North America, the Howler Monkey. If you’ve heard it, you know how loud and startling the sound can be. But, after hearing it a few times, the sound becomes a part of the collective feeling of being in Central America and serves as a constant reminder that you’re in a good place, doing something you love.

With this emotional connection as a base line, Heard and Stepanian formed Howler Brothers to craft limited run, high quality clothing and goods that draw inspiration from the style and tradition of surfing and coastal sports. They set out to make gear that works in the water, on the boat, and around the fire pit when the stories are told. Clothes you might wear when you’re hearing Howler Monkeys from your hut after a day well spent. Or clothes to wear when you’re wishing you were.

Their Products

Howler Brothers clothing designs honor the soul, passion and timeless style of sports such as surfing and fly fishing but update historic garment ideas with modern influence from waves, water, geography, fashion and art. Every garment and accessory is crafted with functionality and attention to detail at the forefront. We avoid trendy or overly traditional ideas and use small batch production and collaborations with artists and craftsmen to create original, alternative offerings. Our base of operations, Austin, Texas, is miles from the nearest ocean but provides daily inspiration with its vibrant and diverse creative culture.

Howler Brothers Spring 2016 Highlights:

* Gaucho Snapshirts in Hibiscus and Crabs- the now iconic shirts are available in two new fresh embroideries for Spring 2016

* Loggerhead Shirts- A technical shirt with plenty of sun protection and "fishy features" that doesn't make you look like a cloned zombie.

* Horizon Hybrid Shorts- the iconic shorts that made Howler Brothers famous. Enough structure to pull off parties and runs to the grocery store but are always ready for an unplanned swim, boat ride or even a fumbled beverage.

* H Bar B Snapshirt- Down there in Austin, Texas, where the Howler Brothers reign from, the western snapshirt is standard fare. But, you certainly don’t have to roam the ATX to rock our H Bar B Snapshirt. Has become one of our best selling short sleeve shirts of all-time.

* Ranchero Polo- Voted as "Shop Favorite" shirt for Spring 2016 up at Mad River Outfitters!!!! Cool up front.....fiesta in the back. This is one polo that is going to turn heads.

* Pescador Shirt- season after season.....the un-disputed KING of fishing shirts. Howler Brothers set out to make the perfect all around fishing shirt; one that works on the boat and in your waders but doesn’t make you look like a giant tropical fruit that got into a knife fight when you go get a beer on dry land......and they did it in spades! Be sure to check out the video link on the website!!!

* Howler Hats- have become the best selling hats that we carry in the shop. These sell out season to season so if you see one you like......wail on it like a Howler Monkey.

Mad River Outfitters and Flip Pallot
Proud Dealers for the Howler Brothers

813 Bethel Rd.
Columbus, Ohio 43214


Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Spring Turkey 2016- Part 1

The sun comes up quickly on new hunting country when you don't know your way around or where turkeys want to be in the spring breeding season...It's the sound of a gobbler, before he flies down in the morn, that tells you where to go. How to get there is a mystery when you don't really know where THERE is!
So it was Sunday morn...The bird gobbled frequently but I was to far away to answer and didn't want to until I knew what the situation was. Was he in the open? Was he with hens? Were there more than a single gobbler?...'all answers I needed before calling to the bird.

I took a compass course through a wet swamp in the direction of the gobbler...he gobbled still. I came out on the other side of the swamp on a mowed gas line where the gobbler was breeding a hen as I carefully peered north along the line. Three other hens watched the breeding with what I supposed was, nesting, on their minds.
I Kee kee'd and clucked to the the hens and they answered at a hundred yards...the north breeze bringing me their soft, rhythmic responses.

The gobbler began to answer and these conversations went on for 30 minutes as the gobbler strutted amongst the two remaining hens.
All at once I couldn't see the gobbler any longer...it dawned on me that he was coming!!!
I got my ancient single shot, Iver Johnson Bicycle Company .12ga up and pointed in the direction he had to follow to get to me...and before I knew it, he had covered the 100yds and was under ten steps away coming around a palmetto clump. I quiet cocked the hammer and touched off a load of #6 Bismuth and the morning went from a hunt to a celebration of being in the natural world, alone, lost and successful as a hunter...'as my forebearers had been.

Now I had a large gobbler to carry along as I pondered where to go and how to return to the hunt camp...'all the subject of another blog entry...'stay tuned...

*****New content headed to the Sandbox also.......Click Here

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Flip Pallot shares his Sandbox

Have you played around in Flip's Sandbox?

The page of the website that we have been waiting for!

"Flip's Sandbox" will feature never-before-seen Videos, Cool Prodcuct Features and the new "Sign-of-the-Week".

Will be updating regularly. Hope to see you there......Flip

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Thanks to the fine folks at Yeti for putting this together! 

Be sure to hop on over to their Blog  to read the great article that goes along with this video and be sure follow along with them as well. Yeti Blog.

Then stop back and check out the selection of Yeti products for sale HERE at www.flippallot.com

We DO have a shipment coming mid-month and it WILL contain Ramblers. Stay tuned.

Friday, January 1, 2016

The Longest Day (and night)

by Flip Pallot

My last year as a professional skiff guide was 1992......the year Hurricane Andrew slammed into Homestead, Florida. Andrew changed my life in many ways for the better.

In July of that year, about four weeks before Andrew hit, I was poling a Sport along the Key Largo shoreline. We were seeing a good number of bonefish and all at once he whipped out his cellular telephone and placed a call to his Zurich office to check on the days price of Euro-Yen on the international market.

I wondered then, and still do, exactly what synapses might have to fire in the brain, and in what order, to cause a fellow on the shoreline of Key Largo, looking at bonefish, to think of placing a call to Switzerland. That was my introduction to cellular phones. I hated them, vowed never to personally own one and thought to put a clause in my literature banning them from my skiff.
As the 20th century wound down, I wound up getting a cel phone and reluctantly became as dependent upon them as the rest of the modern world. I still hate them!  Those silly little rings and annoying beeps that remind me of  the sound track of a Benny Hill T.V. show.

I hated cel-phones until yesterday morning........I was headed for the post office to mail some fly samples to Lefty Kreh. On the truck seat next to me was the Devil Cel-Phone. It rang that silly, Toys-R-Us ring...... "Hey Flip, it's Bill Bishop, I'm out on the Indian River hooked up to a sure enough world record tarpon on six pound tippet. I'm by myself and could sure use some help if you can get away."

Bill was on his cel-phone calling me on my cel-phone. What a country!

It was 9:30 in the morning. "How long have you been hooked up?" I asked. "For about half an hour" he breathlessly responded. I've been following this fish with my trolling motor since I hooked up but the battery is running down." 

I was fifteen minutes away from a marina near where Bill was hooked up on the River. He flagged down two anglers that he knew and they agreed to run to the marina, pick me up and take me to where Bill and high adventure waited. All these arrangements were made by cel-phone.

It was a perfect day to set a world record. Clear sky, no breeze at all, no more than six feet of water anywhere within 30/06 range, a great angler on the bow and a totally committed boatman at the stern (that would be me). I figured this should take an hour or so; another hour to get the fished officially weighed and measured and then of course, the obligatory celebration.......which might take longer than the catch and would surely involve adult beverages.

No thought was given to rain gear, sun screen, water, food, flashlights or extra fuel. We would wind up needing them all. Things were gonna get ugly.

As Bill's friends left in the other boat, I tilted the electric trolling motor inboard and fired up Bill's 40 H.P. Merc. I began to take stock of the challenge at hand. "Hey Bill, I'll be needing a pair of gloves.......and where's the kill gaff for when we get the fish up alongside the skiff?" No answer from Bill. Perhaps he hadn't heard me. I glanced toward the bow and got a glimpse of Bill with his head bowed and his lip pooched out. "There is no kill gaff" he softly uttered to the ether. "I do have a pair of gloves under that rear hatch."  Not having a kill gaff would at some time mean that I would be handling a six pound test class tippet. I really didn't look forward to that but didn't want to put additional stress on Bill. The gloves would let me get a good grip on the tarpon's lower jaw, but without that kill gaff the fish would have to be completely played out before we took a chance at boating it. I figured I could just snatch the fishes jaw, drag it over the gunwale of the skiff and we'd be in the record book. 

That was before I got my first good look at the fish. 

Just moments after getting started, the tarpon it made its first jump in my presence. This was a very big fish. Especially on six pound tippet with no kill gaff. My best guess put the fish over 100 pounds. Bill, who'ss a good hand at judging tarpon, agreed.

A plan developed. "We're going to herd this tarpon, using the skiff,  onto the shallows over by those bombing targets. Once he's in that shallow water we'll get this fish pretty quickly even if I have to jump on top of it" I predicted.

Herding tarpon is exactly like herding cattle, sheep, or emus.......except that it doesn't work! Wild tarpon are just exactly that......WILD! Nothing I tried with that skiff remotely resembled herding. The tarpon merely did whatever it wished, to our complete frustration. My vaquero days were over!

I decided that we would resort to my favorite technique. Based on high school physics, the tactic of using angles  and direction of pressure works well in all fish fighting situations. Surely it would bail us out here. Bill knows the technique. He's great at it and has a knack for sensing the maximum amount of drag that a situation will permit. Like a well oiled machine we teamed up on the fish; me using the boat to set up directions of pressure and Bill applying the pressure. This would be over before long.

After nearly an hour, Bill asked me to pass him the bottle of water that was against the rear bulkhead of the cockpit. "Is this all the water we have?" I asked. "I never planned on being here for very long" he responded. I was getting thirsty myself. I'd leave the water for Bill......He was working harder in that heat than I was.

By 1:00 P.M. it was really hot! Those having fished Central Florida in August will remember the temperatures hovering around triple figures. The humidity right there as well. They'll remember those towering, cumulus clouds making up each afternoon, their pink undersides rolling outward while their tops anvil over. Distant peals of thunder announced the afternoon inevitable. This day was classic. How could I not have thought to bring rain-gear?

The tarpon moved steadily south in the direction of the building weather. When it came to a point west of the Haulover Canal, it turned east in the Canal's deeper, cooler water and seemingly gained strength. I was getting thirsty.

At 2:45 P.M. we had followed the fish through Haulover Canal and were entering Mosquito Lagoon. The fish made straight east for the south end of Tiger Shoal and shallow water. We were getting a break! I took a small drink from the water bottle. Not much left. As the tarpon neared the shallow water I began to smell the roses. Finally this fish had made a mistake. Bill and I both sensed that we could soon end this now six hour battle. It was beginning to rain.

Rain may not be the right word. Suddenly I couldn't see Bill's fly line through the downpour. Hell, I couldn't see the front of the skiff. The lightning strikes and thunder claps were simultaneous. From under the bills of our fishing caps we looked at one another and smiled........
Nothing but a little Summer freshet which would cool things off and invigorate us. Wrong again. 

Soon we were freezing and the only one who seemed invigorated was the tarpon.
The squall broke apart after about 45 minutes and miraculously lightning failed to strike the skiff. The battle moved North. 

The cel-phone rang. It was Bill's wife Jane calling to see who had won the battle. "It's Flip, Janie, Bill is still fighting the fish. We'll call you when it's over." She wished us good luck.

It was getting to be late afternoon and the struggle had taken us three quarters of the way North along the Mosquito Lagoon. Bill seemed to be making some progress. He was backing the fish up now and then. I put on the gloves. 

An hour later my hands were really getting hot and sweaty. I took off the gloves. The phone rang......."Hey Flip, it's Keith Holcomb, I heard you guys were battling a really great fish and I just wanted to wish you well. How's Bill keeping?" The call was short but encouraged us. We were eight and one half hours into this fish.

At 6 p.m. a whopper of a storm came at us from the South. Lightning was spider webbing across the rooftops in the small town of Oak Hill as we followed the tarpon northward, now in the deeper Intercoastal Waterway. The tarpon made a sudden run and series of greyhounding jumps to the east across the Waterway. Another skiff with two anglers aboard saw the fracas and pulled up alongside. "Need any help?" one asked. "Man, we could sure use some cool water if you have any" I answered. They did. We drank. It was heaven sent! 

"You've been on that fish since nine this morning?" he said, disbelieving.  "That's right. With no food or water" Bill replied.  That's all these guys needed to hear. Their skiff was on plane in seconds, headed north. Soon they were back with sandwiches and cold drinks. They fed us and stayed around for a couple of hours directing traffic in the Waterway so that passing boats would not cut Bill's fish off. They left after dark, wishing us well.

8 p.m., another phone call. "Flip, it's Billy (Bill's Son). I heard about the battle. All of Orlando knows about it. Do you guys need anything? Never mind, I'm going to trailer my boat over the New Smyrna Beach, launch and meet up with you guys. I'll bring a headlight, some beer and sandwiches..........See you in about 45 minutes!"

Right away the phone rang again. My wife Diane. "What happened to you? You were going to be gone for an hour or so and you've dissappeared".  I filled her in and she wished us well. "Call me on the cel-phone when it's over" she ended.

Bill had an idea......."Grab the phone and call Scott Tripp, a local guide on the river. Scott will have a kill gaff and will probably bring it to us. His number is programmed into my cel phone."

I gave Scott a call. He had already heard from a friend that Bill was fighting a big fish on the River. "We're not on the River any more Scott. I said. The fish took us through Haulover and up the Lagoon. Right now we're in the Intercoastal Waterway at Oak Hill. Can you bring us a kill gaff?" "I'm on my way!" he said, and I could hear his sneakers hitting the terrazzo before he hung up. He really was on the way!

It wasn't long before we spotted Scott's skiff screaming through Shotgun Pass, heading our way. Scott anchored his skiff down at the edge of the Waterway and jumped in with us. He had brought some water and the kill gaff. 

The storm wrapped around us and blew alternatingly warm and cold bands of air  as the lightning continued to blast just west of Oak Hill. It looked like Fourth of July fireworks and illuminated the fly line often enough to allow me to keep the skiff positioned. I kept thinking about that flashlight that Billy was bringing. He should be along shortly.

By 10:00 P.M. the water had come alive with phosphorescence, which old time Florida folks call "Fire in the water". Every single thing that moves in the water takes on a bright, blue, green glow for as long as it's moving. The moment it stops moving it stops glowing. Fire in the water is shocking to witness that very first time. It's hard to describe this phenomenon to someone who has never seen it. Small shrimp and baitfish on the surface glow like comets blazing across the night sky. The engine and the boat hull are aglow as they move through the water. The fly line glows as it's dragged along, cutting the surface leaving a blue, green scar, and most amazing of all is the incredible glow of the tarpon as it jumps free of the water, leaving a million glowing droplets suspended above the surface. As I try to discribe fire in the water I realize that it really can't be done.......It's not just me..........It can't be done! Your own eyes have to see it. I hope they will.

Billy, the beer and the sandwiches arrived at 11:00 P.M. We could see the glow in the water as Billy's skiff approached from the north. The tarpon had stopped travelling and was swimming back and forth across the Waterway. He was staying on the bottom in the cooler water.
We took this to be a good omen. I surrendered the skiffs tiller to Scott and laid the gaff along the gunwale. It might be needed soon.  Bill's phone rang. "Hey, it's Jeff McFadden.......are you guys still with that fish?".  

This was unbelievable. The middle of the night, food delivery, cel phone communication with the entire Central Florida fishing community, fire in the water, lightning in the sky and a fish and an angler still in the game after almost fifteen hours. "We're still at it Jeff", I said. "We'll call you when it's over". 

A slow, steady beeping from the phone.........The battery was about gone.

The tarpon had stayed within the same 75 square yard area of the Inland Waterway for over an hour. It was 12:15 A.M..  Billy stood off a short distance in his skiff, hoping to see the landing of the world record; every now and then encouraging his Dad. Suddenly he yelled, "Guys, look behind your boat!" I spun around, looked past Scott, who still held the tiller, and saw two huge, fast moving, glowing dolphin shapes pass the skiff on the port side. As they came abreast of us they simultaneously broke the surface with a loud WHOOSH, taking air (I think it was a whoosh). The glow was fantastic and they made a clicking or pinging sound as they passed. Their glow faded about 50 feet in front of the skiff. Just about where the tarpon was. The tarpon and the dolphin were along the bottom.

All at once the drag on Bill's reel began to scream! Really scream! Like it hadn't done in the past fifteen hours. 25 yards ahead of the boat the tarpon shattered the flat calm surface of the black water, sailing five feet into the air, re entering the water with a blue, green crash. On either side of the fish a glowing dolphin........all three now moving north.

They stayed together for the next thirty minutes. Not almost together, or nearly together, but really together. Same speed, same course..........seemingly in touch with one another; connected by some inconceivable bond. I'm not given to anthropomorphism, but unquestionably these dolphin were helping the tarpon.

The lights of New Smyrna Beach came into view around a bend in the Waterway. "This is a really bad area for oyster bars" Scott said. As the man made lights grew brighter, the fire in the water began to fade. We could see the dolphin and the tarpon waking ahead of the boat, silhouetted against the city lights. We could also see the oyster bars to our left and right.

Bill kept steady pressure on the tarpon, a long bend in the bottom of his nine weight, the tip pointed straight at the traveling fish. I watched the trio ahead of the skiff as I tried to keep us in the perfect position. I was watching Bill at the very instant that the six pound tippet very unceremoniously parted. The rod recoiled slightly backward and up. For the very first time in sixteen hours, Bill Bishop was not straining against a tarpon.

In my fishing lifetime I've seen hundreds of fish lost for one reason or another. I've been a member of a good number of fishing teams in a good number of fish fights. Never one that lasted sixteen hours. Never a fight so skillfully fought. Certainly, never one involving so many telephone calls!

The moment Bill realized that the fish had won, he turned to Scott and I and said....."What a FANTASTIC day this has been! I can't thank you guys enough for your help". There was no uttering of oaths. There was no.....I shoulda' this, that or the other thing. He simply smiled, sat down on the front deck and massaged his cramping hands. He might have asked for a beer......I can't remember.

Bill had lots of help during this very long day. And that's the way it's supposed to be. I felt privileged to have been a part of it all and to have helped in some way. As it turned out, the tarpon may have had some help as well. We'll never know if it was the dolphin, an oyster bar or a very tired class tippet that ended the fight in favor of the fish. We' re not meant to know.

The phone rang. It was Jane. "It's over" Bill said. "The fish is gone and we're headed for home". 

The "low Battery Light" quit blinking. The cel phone was gone too.