Monday, May 7, 2012

Gull Lake Fishing Guide Goes to Florida Fly Fishing Tarpon

Dr. Steve Hanske bowing to the Silver King
Capt. Tim Hanske fighting a feisty Tarpon
For years, spring has meant many things to me.  For the last 13 years, it has meant heading to Florida, armed with a fly rod and a chance to spend time with my father.  In 13 years, I did miss ONE year, due to the birth of my first child.  Other than my little bundle of joy named Gus, Dad and I have been keeping our tradition alive.  
Most years we head down to Florida and it is sunny, dry, warm, with light winds, perfect weather to hook a Tarpon on the fly.  However, Mother Nature had a different plan this year.  To the surprise of all the “old timers” in the Florida guiding business, we got stuck with a tropical depression in late April…virtually unheard of.  

We have always trusted our leader, historian, friend, and most of all awesome guide; Capt. Skip Nielsen!  The first day started off just like any other day of fishing, Skip took us to a spot that had been producing Tarpon.  Two hours passed and Capt. Skip used his unbelievable knowledge/instinct to run out to the most popular fly-fishing spots in the world, named The Pocket.  Capt. Skip is a role model for me, because he truly understands the fish he chases, and his knowledge of the Key’s could not be captured in a book; it really is a privilege to be able to fish in his presence.    

Anyways, there I stood, gleaming into the harsh glare of a semi cloudy day, looking into the same water that past fly-fishing greats have fished many years ago.  To make the situation even better, I was fishing with-in 50 yards of a cross that has had the ashes of many incredible fly-fishing pioneers spread amongst it.  The history, feeling, and just being able to get a chance to throw the fly in this special spot gave me Goosebumps! 

Capt. Skip is an absolute amazing guide, over the years he has done everything possible to catch us a Tarpon.  He is a true master, and a wealth of knowledge that is only learned “by doing”.   With that said, today I was the first one to see the string of Tarpon, and before I could say a word, my fly was heading towards the pod.  In some aspects I got lucky, but I was trying to miss the lead fish, and happened to place my fly gently on the back of the lead Tarpon.  I stripped my fly twice, and then a 75 lb male attacked my fly, and the fish went nuts!

After a classic Florida Keys battle, with a very spunky Tarpon that deiced to jump around 15 times, I felt a very odd sense of completion and I felt something more.  In my “Father Son” fishing trips to Florida, I have caught Tarpon on live mullet, dead mullet, crab, dead bait, fly dredging, and any other way possible.  However, this Tarpon was special; I caught it sight fishing in a very historical fly fishing spot.  I felt a sense of connection with the past greats, even though I’m from Minnesota; I had Goosebumps for an hour after the catch.  I can only thank two people; my father Steve and Capt. Skip for the awesome opportunity to be part of the awesome sensation.  Fishing is in my blood, it is something I can’t please. 

Captain Tim Hanske 
Leisure Outdoor Adventure Fishing Guide

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