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A recent work trip had me pointing the rental truck south and heading to the flats around Tampa…. I mean had me working near Tampa. I did have a job to do, but with a couple hours of daylight left each day I knew there was better things to do than stay in a hotel room. The problem was, I didn’t know the area or what I might be in for as far as launches or places to fish or photo. I knew I would either find some fins or feathers; I just wasn’t sure what it would take to get to them.

I decided to go as light as possible since I wasn’t sure how far I would have to pull the kayak to get to water. Our Tripper is the lightest boat we have, is great for fishing and makes one heck of a camera platform so that is what went in the truck. That rig, secured to a C-tug cart, would let me get to the water no matter how difficult it may be.

I could not wait to get done that next afternoon and head to the water. The folks I was working with said I left a vapor trail heading to the parking lot! After a short portage I was launched and paddling towards a patch of mangroves about 2 miles away. I knew they would either hold fish for the rod, or birds for the camera.

Sure enough, as soon as I pulled up to the mangroves, I was surrounded by pelicans, night herons, ibis, tri color herons and even a few reddish egrets. I got so busy shooting with the camera, I almost forgot to fish. I was able to sneak over to a nice grass flat and play tug of war with a few speckled trout before the trip was over so don’t think I totally lost my mind!

I paddled till the very last light and loaded up for the long walk back. I was certainly glad that I decided to run light for this trip. There is something to be said for shedding a few pounds to make things easier. The Tripper proved itself to me yet again as a lightweight fishing boat that also hauls more camera gear than a person could ever need. If I ever get sent back there for work, I can promise you I know what will be loaded in my rental truck.