From the Field - First Light Islamorada

From the Field - First Light Islamorada


Why are we doing this? This singluar thought runs through the mind before it has had time to comprehend what is about to happen. A bit of crappy coffee helps to rationalize the few hours of sleep and quiet the thoughts of crawling right back into bed. It's time to get going. Stepping out of the car, the only sound in the stillness of the predawn humidity is the even putter of an engine. The running lights of the skiff balance the moonlight as we slowly make our way towards the boat. It's Sunday morning, after the International Fly Tackle Dealer show and I have come to the keys in search of a little adventure for a few days. A loud “Morning” bellows out, breaking the silence and is followed up by “load up.” We drop our gear into the boat, then we quietly slip away from the dock into the darkness of Florida Bay.  

The morning run is relatively short. We rip through channels visible only with local knowledge and a flashlight. A few small mangrove islands start to come into view in the pre-dawn light. We kill the engine and glide into the glassy water. This morning we have arrived under the stars to watch the sunrise and participate in the show that is about to begin. The hum of bird calls are interrupted by regular snaps and bloops coming out of the darkness. The growing light slowly reveals matts of rolling juvenile tarpon chowing down on a shrimp hatch. Anticipation is peaking. Capt. Camp has brought us all into a dreamland where the sky is now awakening.

The skiff glides forward as the targets gentrly roll everywhere between the 11 and 3 o'clock position at a variety of distances. I stand alone, armed with a gurgler, an 8wt, and a surge of excitement. I just enjoy watching what's playing out for a moment before exitment takes over and I make the first cast. An explosion interrupts a gentle V wake of the fly and the glassy water is left a foamy mess by the time the first contestant is now boat side. After a quick admiration of the fish, I pass the rod off with a smile and say, “Your turn,” then sit down to enjoy the next show and finish my coffee.

What a way to enjoy the first light of the day.


Fishing with Capt. Camp Walker of Catalyst Charters out of Islamorada, FL is a treat in itself. Born and raised in Florida, he guides the flats with the true spirit of the old Keys.  Fishpond Marketing Director, Russell Miller follows his passion for new adventures, spending time in special places, with great friends. The Everglades and the keys are an extraordinary place and are up against some major challenges to keep them as special as they are. Take action now, to restore the flow of clean, fresh water to Everglades National Park, Florida Bay and the Florida Keys; to improve the health of Lake Okeechobee; protect the drinking water for 8 million Floridians; and ensure we have a healthy fishery for generations to come. We at Fishpond stand with the Now or Neverglades campaign and encourage you to take action with us.

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