I recently received this nice note from Scott Antonio...someone I have never met... this to me is where it's all at...what it is all about...the soul of the matter. It's not about Facebook or Instagram or Twitter fish...it's about going out and doing it and living it and loving it...and then going back and doing it again, and again, and again. And then he goes out and catches a permit on a fly!
Good vibes here...
Scott Antonio..permit on fly...Upper Harbor Key...Lower Florida Keys
My name is Scott Antonio, I am a native Floridian and avid fisherman. I live in landlocked Gainesville, FL currently as I finish up dental school, but I spend most of my free time tying flies, studying nautical charts, and reading up on flats fishing. I just recently came across the entry on your website "Thirty Years on the Pole". I can't describe the feeling I got perusing through your chronicling of an amazing career guiding in the Florida Keys. The candid description of getting started as a guide and spending years figuring out the patterns of fish on the flats got my heart racing. My family made Big Pine Key our home away from home 25 years ago (Doctor's Arm) and even though I have been going down there for as long as I can remember, it was only about 5 years ago that I ever thought to take our '87 ActionCraft out in the backcountry. There is a part in your writing that you describe running from Old Wooden Bridge Fishing Camp up north past Mayo and up the stakes towards Content. If I close my eyes, I can picture running across the glass just as you describe. Through trial and error involving many trips by myself just poking around, I've gradually gained an understanding of how to fish this area. Shying away from the Bahia Honda rodeo, I've fished around Don Quixote, No Name, Mayo, Water Keys, Upper Harbor, etc, but I still have a lot to learn. Last caught a nice permit on the grasses by Mayo and going down next week to hopefully expand my spots for baby tarpon. I'm writing you not to tell you how awesome your photos and stories are (which they are) or to ask you about any one spot or key in particular, but to simply open up a conversation with you about fly fishing and the lower keys. It is obvious that you are someone who has a great passion for the sport and a wealth of knowledge when it comes to understanding fish on the flats. I know that the Florida Keys has changed dramatically since the birth of the sport and things will never be the same as they used to down there. But I also know that I want to spend the rest of my life exploring the flats around Big Pine and hopefully pass down what I learn to the next generation. The area is a special place that I feel gets looked over when compared to Islamorada and Key West; which is fine by me. I hope I am not coming across as prying or intrusive. I'm just a kid who gets a thrill from seeing pointy tails stick out of the water. I wish you well, hope we can talk about fish.
You go, Scott...walk the earth...