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A Dream Comes True
And I owe a big debt of gratitude to Capt John Bottoko

By Joe Joseph
Salty Feather Canoe and Kayak Club

First some background about me. I am very new to the world of fly-casting, kayaks that can flip you over in the river, and picking out the correct fly for the many unusual conditions of North Florida. After reading that introduction, you probably said to yourself that guy could never catch a big Redfish, read on...

It was last Sunday Morning. Yeah, the day that the sky fell with rain, rain and more rain. Did I mention that the wind was blowing so hard that when I faced north, I could barely see from the wind stinging my face. Oh and don't forget a water temperature of somewhere around 50 degrees. You get the idea,not a day to go fishing much less a day for a complete novice as myself.

When I saw John readying his Tri-Hull Kayak for our launching, I could tell immediately that he was serious. Don't get in John's way when he’s rigging his kayak. You are probably asking yourself where we were? I am sworn to absolute secrecy and realize that if I give up that particular fishing hole that I may be asked to turn-in my resignation to the Salty Feather's Kayak Club. I would never tell since I am having the time of my life. Now you are asking where I join this club that catches REDFISH.

Now, on to my fishing story. When we finally arrived at our soon to be fishing spot, I found myself totally exhausted from having to practically carry my kayak, since the water so swallow. Now I'll bet I have your interest. I was saying to myself where in the Sam Blazes are they taking me? That went on for another half hour or so. John only stopped once to try his hand at luring the mighty REDFISH. It doesn't take John long to realize that he is wasting his time. John sort of motioned for me to follow him; I did, and am I ever glad.

The next thing I saw was John wrestling a big fish. My thoughts were could that be a REDFISH? I was more excited than he was. John was cool and collected as he reeled in his big RED. John's words, "that is dinner"he immediately took the big REDFISH back to his kayak and tied it to his fish stringer.

I was fishing next to Brian when he landed a second REDFISH. Brian had his camera and asked me to take his picture. Talk about excitement. I was afraid that I would never see another fish that size so I asked if I could have my picture taken with the REDFISH. Did I mention that Brian caught the first RED with his spinner? John said, "Put that spinner down and catch them like a sportsman". I liked that thought and said to myself, "Brian has probably caught his last REDFISH". I was wrong, Brian immediately caught a third RED but it was smaller, who cares, Reds are REDs.

So what do you think happened next to me the total novice? I had a big RED take my bright green clouser. You are asking why I had a bright green clouser. I'll tell you why Brian told me that if I wanted to catch fish that I had better change my fly. I also laughed when Brian told me that if I didn't get a strike within a few casts to change the fly again. Next time I will do just that.

I want to tell those of you out who may be reading this story to never doubt the word of Captain John Bottoko. That guy rocks, and can he catch fish. Between the two of the them, they caught lots of Reds; ask them how many.

Sworn to secrecy and ready to go out again!

Thanks John and Brian for an experience that I will never forget!

Joe Joseph

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