Monday, January 31, 2005

Cobia Trailing Rays Across the Key West Flats

Jerkin My Merkin

Cobia eat crabs so why would'nt a big Merkin crab fly interest Cobia's that are following rays on the Keys flats, they do work but, usually a Merkin tied on a 1/0 but with a little more size, longer tail and extra Mylar or Crystal flash. Be sure to sharpen the hook to a fair the well,
and crimp the barb.
This is done because a Cobia's big rubber lips are tuff to penetrate and once you have him on,
reset the hook because, Cobia are famous for holding on only to spit out the bait when they see the boat.

Well we did get a Cobia today, about 30 lbs and chased two more around but never really landed the Merkin on them properly. We also caught two dozen Pompano, and a couple Blue fish.
The Barracudas were laughing at us today.......they'll get their's!

mike chaserkeywest

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Permit Floating West of Key West

Tail Tips Showing

Yesterday west of Key West on the flats poling after laid up big boy Barracudas and
sniffen around for Permit, I spotted boils, off the flat on the edge of one of the narrow creeks.
Could be .....floater Permit, I thought as I swung the skiff and grunted my way a few
hundred yards to the little cut.

There they are, spread out in the channel in schools of 15-30, four groups of Permit,
most of them are 12/15 lb. range but there are a few big mama's too.

Gerry fired a crab, in the direction of the first school but , no takers, another cast after the
group floated back up and seemed unbothered, he launched again......"Ok hooked up!"

We fought a Permit that went about 15lbs, down the cut, and turned him free. Then made our way back up across the flat to the other schools to give it another go.

It was'nt going to happen, the rest were still there but hep to us now, so off we went scouting
for Tarpon.

With the weather warming and winds light the rest of the week looks good for Tarpon, Bonefish and Mr. winter over? mike

Monday, January 24, 2005

Tarpon Time Key West

Gett'in the itch to Pitch!

I know its earily but some time in the winter when, like last night, it was colder then a witch's.... tackle box.

I start designing Tarpon fly's in my head, new ones, better than all that came before
fly's......well different.

I have gone through my fly lines taking notes, thinking about a new tarpon flyrod,
what about fly reels?.......dont need rods or reels and I have alot of Tarpon flys.

What I really need is April.

There will be a lot of Tarpon fishing between now and April, and Permit, and Bonefish,
Pompano,Barracudas etc.

But, like chocolate, when you want a Tarpon on Fly..............

mike chaserkeywest

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Barracuda Fly Fishing key west

"Barracudas are not Steelhead!"

My first British Columbia Steelhead was a great and beauiful thing, but my fishing
buddy blew his stack when I compared a Steelhead to a big Barracuda on fly.

Steelhead are an amazing animal, born in the mountain streams, venturing to the Pacfic
Ocean and feeding, growing, for 2/3 years before returning to the exact river-tributary
finely to the little creek that they were conceived in, to start the next generation.
But unlike their Salmon cousins they dont die after spawning, but return to the Ocean,
they will be back in a couple years, Bigger.

I will be back to B.C. many times before I'm in the ground to bow to Mr. Steelhead.

Steelhead are not Barracudas

A big Barracuda is really a super fight on fly fishing tackle, like the Steelhead they
can be very difficult to feed a fly.Why?, because they are in my opinion one of the most
intelligent saltwater fish in the tropics.
Barracuda have excellent vision and know the difference between a juicy Needle fish
a handful of chickenfeathers.
In the gin clear Florida Keys flats they are very hard to fool, only his predatoral instincts
show his Achelles ......Fin.

I have observed many attempts to fool barracudas with braided needle fish imitations
and high speed, two handed retrievals.

Once in awhile this catches a barracuda, Once in awhile!

So what works? Well for me more often, a large Alf minnow fly and this method.

Make your best long cast to either side of the Cuda's face, dropping the fly
4/5 feet from his head, beside his head, not out front!
Remove the fly as he turns toward it quickly, by lifting the line, while your driving back
watch him and land it on the opposite side of his face, repete but, this time quickly in
2 ft strips let him not miss this opportunity!

Barracudas have to be worked up and off gard to get the instinctive strike.

If he takes he will go all directions @ 50mph, jumping!

If this doesn't work.............go find a Steelhead.

mike chaserkeywest

Barracudas I've Known

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Big Tango
mike wilbur photo

Staked Out ( in the Marquesas Keys)

Coach Bud Grant's first Tarpon on Fly

excerpts from Star Tribune article by Dennis Anderson

Long before the sun rose from the distant Alantic the morning heat enveloped
the Marquesas. We slept below in the big Tango and the air conditioner ran all night.
But at 4:30 when we came up the temperture already was 90, the air still.....the mangroves
in the near distance outlined only by the light of the moon.
We were fly fishing for Tarpon. The idea of tethering oneself to a fish whose temperment,
once hooked, suggests the sort of creature retribution popularized by "Jurassic Park"
can appear irrational, particularly when the weapon of choice is a fly rod.........

Tango anchored in the Marquesas Keys, North America's true atoll, and ground zero for Tarpon.........long stretches of shallow water flats!

Also along with me in the Marquesas is Bud Grant. Since his retirement as head coach of the Vikings, Bud has been from the planet Traveling Sportsman.
We had seen more tarpon our first day than we have seen ever before, anywhere.

Bud, fishing with Mike hooked a tarpon, his line drawn tight and instantly vectoring into
the blue yonder,in time Bud landed the big tarpon and got a quick photo.

Mike had come to key West in 1968 is one of the few guides from that period, alive and coherent.
Mike said one evening over dinner that Many years ago, after I killed the last Tarpon I ever will, I had a dream,"Mike said. "I dreamed I was swimming with the tarpon and one swam up to me and said, ' If you love me why did you kill me?'

" The dream brought me bolt upright in the night."..................

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Key West Bonefish
copywrite mike wilbur

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

The Pompano That Ate Key West

I have not seen in thirty+ years of fishing the Key West flats and back country so many Pompano.....mobs and lots of them are big fish.
When I came to the lower Keys in the late 60s the commercial Pompano net boats had just about wiped out the species.I knew a few of these guys and they were selling their nets and converting to bait fish or crawfishing.
I was in the Marquesas on the north side flats one time, fly fishing for Permit and Mutton Snapper and saw a Pompano net boat just about aground very close in.
As I watched him run his net circling a fish mud I witnessed half a dozen small Tarpon jump out and over the net.
When these guys realized this was not a school of Pompano they backed off,but not before killing several dozen baby tarpon.
Thank god and the state of Florida, inshore gill nets are a thing of the past and pretty
pompano have rebounded in the Florida Keys.........mike

Monday, January 10, 2005

Tarpon Eating Blue Fish in Key West

Working the fish muds north of Key West this morning with a small Mylar" Wilbur's Road Kill" fly and a sink tip line/10 wt outfit I was repeatily wacked by Blue fish in the 5 and 6 lb range.
After losing a few fly's I changed out the 50# shock leader to braided wire so I could land the Blue rascal's and Tarpon (the main target).....good got the Blue and still have my fly,next cast
another Blue fish and another, then a jack.
Realizing that this is going to be the pattern this am, I decided to make a few more casts and then run home to Key West and grab a little Granola. pull the skiff for a little scrub down.
Next Blue fish was a good fight into the backing, next jump and he was attached to a Tarpon of about 60 lb,cant be that the tarpon managed to get hooked on the process?!
No but everybody stayed attached and after another run of about 30 yards back at me they
jumped next to the skiff and I could clearly see the buldging eyes of the Blue as the Tarpon headshook and deposited the Blue fish on to the casting deck of the skiff......that's enough
where's the Granola!!..........mike@ chaserkeywest

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Key West Pompano fishing report

Greetings from Chaser Key West Fishing

Unbelievable the way Pompano have rebounded in the lower Florida Keys flats and basins in the last few years.In the last month, I and my client's have landed more Pompano on light tackle and fly rods then I've seen in the last five years.
Today's catch was around twenty/twenty five Pompano and a dozen fair sized Blue fish,other tackle smasher's included several dozen larger Lady fish (Mini
Me tarpon) and mad Jacks.
When It was all over the skiff was a mess and my flash jig stock depleated
considerably..........dinner was great!........capt Mike