POLING WITH A PRO
TEAM SEADEK AND SPACEFISH CONVERGE FOR A GREAT DAY ON THE WATER
By Damon Pullias
Fishing with seasoned tournament angler, Alan Ryland.
Maximizing Fishing OPPORTUNITIES
One of the things I enjoy most about publishing Spacefish is that it provides opportunities to meet new people that share my passion for fishing. Such an opportunity led to my friendship with Alan Ryland, with whom I just had the pleasure to go fishing with at the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge in Titusville.
I have actually known Alan through our fishing circles for a little while now but never really had the chance to chat with him until we our paths crossed at Boater’s Exchange Boating & Fishing Expo this past April. At the time, he couldn’t stop talking about the sweet Maverick flats boat set up directly in front of the stage where the guest speakers such as Capt. Jim Ross, Capt. Rick Murphy and Capt. Jeff Page were giving their presentations.
We also discussed Alan chronicling this season as he and his partner Jose “Pepi” Vidal compete in the Power-Pole Florida Pro Redfish Series East Coast Division. I, for one, enjoy the sport of tournament fishing so I thought it would be fun to follow Alan & Pepi, A.K.A. “Team SeaDek,” throughout the season. Last week Alan sent me the results from their most recent tournament in Jacksonville. Team SeaDek represented well, finishing 12th out of a field of over 50 fishing teams (see the recap here).
After Alan sent me the story, he posed the question, “What are you doing next week?”
Any seasoned angler would tell you that’s code for “you want to go fishing next week?”
Indeed, a seasoned tournament angler invited me to go fishing on a brand new 2018 Maverick Mirage HPX flats boat. That dream boat Alan talked so much about earlier in the year became a reality for him, and I couldn’t think of a more deserving person.
Hell yes, I want to go fishing! Truth is, I would have accepted the invitation had we been fishing out of a Jon boat but this was just icing on the cake!
The day started about 5:30am with us meeting at Alan’s house and trailering up to Titusville. There were some early morning shenanigans shortly after we left the ramp — only Alan and I will ever know this story — but, that’s how you know it’s going to be a fun day. As we made our way to our fishing location I couldn’t help but take in the beauty that surrounded us in the early morning sunrise. We live in such an amazing place. I pray the decisions being made now for the overall health of our lagoon take shape sooner than later. It would be a travesty if I could not fish these waters with my grandchildren someday.
As we pulled up to the spot, bait was so plentiful that it sounded like rain on the water. Alan climbed up on the poling platform and began pushing us down the shoreline in search of tailing redfish. I was especially impressed with how shallow we could get in his new Maverick. As the sun slowly climbed higher we could see clearly into the water.
For the next several hours we site casted at redfish, trout, black drum and tarpon. It seemed like everyone was at the party but, unfortunately, not everyone wanted to dance. We caught multiple slot redfish and trout but the others just didn’t want what we had to offer. We did get on a school of bigger redfish tailing, and what a sight it was. Those big golden orange tails in the sunlight were nothing short of breathtaking. Unfortunately, they were spooky and just not interested. The set up I was fishing with was a St. Croix 7’ 6” Avid Series rod with a Florida Fishing Products 3000 series reel. This was my first time using one of these reels and I was very impressed. It was light and easy to fish with making it fun to throw artificial lures all morning.
Around noon we really started to feel the heat and with clouds gathering overhead decided to call it a day. What an awesome day on the water with a great guy. It doesn’t get much better than that. Hopefully, there will be many more adventures to come.