Thursday, September 29, 2005

Key West fishing for Permit & Bonefish

They have been showing up the last few days in good numbers, the guides I've been talking to have all found a good supply of Permit and Bonefish showing with the cooling flats water temps.

I found a big school of large Permit yesterday in the flats north of Key West and a few Tarpon also.
We were not able to feed the Tarpon at all but, we did manage a nice permit that was happy to
jump on a live crab sandwich!

After 20 mins and a near cut off on the back of the skiff, we got him, a handsome 24+ lb flats rooter.

We also caught a big Barracuda that decided a Permit crab would make a nice change in the lunch menu!?

Barracudas dont eat crabs, do they?, not often.

We also jigged in a shallow basin, pot lucken, expecting Tarpon, Jacks, Sharks or some other just for fun guy.

We found some jacks, Sharks, lady Fish and one big mistery fish that about spooled us several
times and then threw the jig just before we got him close enough to get a visual.

Could have been a Permit or Bonefish, who knows....all fun.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Key West Independent Fishing Guides

Get What You Pay For? Not always!

I have for thirty years made my living as a Florida Keys fishing guide.
Many very good Key West, Florida Keys guides have been in the business for half or
one third of the time that I have, it does not take 30 years to become a good fishing guide.

But there are some common traits that real fishing and hunting guides share.

Time, it takes lots of time, fishing different areas, under many different conditions to
begin to understand where to fish and what technique's to use in that place, on that day.

Knowledge, learning through actual experience, it takes 500 days fishing this area,
at the least, to be qualified to take people's money as a professional guide.

Effort, if you haven't spend time learning, effort is time wasted.

Desire, the best fishing guides love to fish of course, but also love the outdoor life,
animals, and are protective of the environment. Good guides enjoy teaching and playing
with other people.There are a lot more good fisherman than there are, good fishing guides.

Luck, we all need some luck, good guides make luck happen, more often.
a little effort on your part will improve your chances for good luck fishing for a
real fishing guide.

What to look for in a fishing guide?

Does he work for a boat rental outfit that Call's themselves a guide servive? If he is a hourly boat driver, he doesn't care
if you have a good fishing trip! He's told not to waste gas, bait, not to venture to far from
the Marina. Last year, maybe last month, he was a carpenter, cab driver, delivered pizza.

Professional fishing guides depend on repeat customers, most of their business
comes from referrals from happy customers or other professional guides.
Real fishing guides want you to have FUN so you will come back!

Hotels are paid big commissions by the worst guides, because they do not get repeat
customers or referrals from professional guides!

Ask Mike,

" I will refer you to a good professional fishing guide at

no cost to him or you!"

mike- chaserkeywest

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Key West Talking Bonefish

Bonefishing Key West Flats

Bonefishing for me is mainly a fall, early winter, early spring activity.

That doesn't mean I dont fish for Bonefish other times of the year but, I have my favorate seasons/months when the Bonefish are bigger or more abundant.

October, November and early December are some of the best and I usually find the biggest fish and ofcourse the Permit are around during those times so they get lots of attention also.

I dont really know why fall is a bit better except that the water temps are cooling down and there are more crunchy critters for the Permit and Bonefish to eat up in the shallows and that would encourage a pik nik!

The anglers are also more comfortable that time of year with the lower humidity, air temps and
less intense sun shine.

The Pompano fishing will pick up as they migrate closer into the Key West Flats and basins.

Small jigs and flies will be attacked by these smaller but tastier Mini Me Permit invade us.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Hurricane Target Key West

It's not just random luck that has kept Key West above water all these years!

It can and may happen one day "The Big One " might remove Key West and or the Florida Keys but, there are reasons that we have dodged many hurricane bullets over the years.

Many of the tropical storms/ hurricanes that develope to the south under Espanolia are blocked by ( Haiti and the Dominican Republic) and Castro's Cuba, these islands do a good job of blocking or defusing the punch of these storms before turning north in our direction.

Many large hurricanes that cross Cuba are knocked down and dont have the time to rebuild before striking the keys but once into the Gulf of Mexico and the much warmer Loop Current
that forms west of Key West, these storm can reintensify into the monsters that invade the
Gulf coast.

Many of the storms that approach over the Bahamas are swept by the Gulf Stream currents north, taking them to the east coast of the US and the Florida Keys dodges inpact again.

All the years that I've lived in Key West hurricanes have been part of my life, many summer
Conch conversations included some hurricane talk.

The most amazing thing to me is how while we are picking up the debris, repairing down power lines, replanting palm trees and stop signs for weeks- the Tarpon, Barracudas, Sharks and bird life are back in their usual routine a few hours after the tempest.

We, are here..... still.

And the Flats fishing resumes

Friday, September 23, 2005

Fishing for Albino Permit in Key West

Weird happens sometimes, not everyday or even monthly but.

I was fishing ocean side flats west of Key West with two brothers on spring break, looking for
big floater schools of Permit that I knew had to be in the area.

We found some Permit as we poled the area but, the boys were having trouble seeing the fish,
not uncommon for newby sight casting anglers, or young men on spring break that have their
vision blurrrrrrred by Budweiser and Key West's beach bikini's.

We ? I managed to make a cast over the skiff and the bobbing heads of the sightless to a pair of Permit crusing down the flat.

Hooking up and handing the rod to one of the boys, he landed a nice Permit 20 mins. later.
So we needed another even if I had to do the poling, sighting, casting and hooking!

It was a nice day and we were laughing and exchanging, the way bad boys do when discussing the various talents and charms of the co-eds that were in town for some spring break fun!

Poling along now over a mile from our starting point, I spotted a large school of Permit floaters
a hundred yards away.

The light was good and I could see that they were bobbing, tail tip out of the water and the occasional face showing above the surface as they were inspecting small clumps of Sargassas

They do this to try and root out the small crads and shrimp that hitch hike on the Sargassas
as it moves in and out with the tide.

The Permit school was guite large, maybe 60 fish in the 10-14 lb size and moving very slow, at times circling as a unit back to the next drifting clump of grass and oblivous to our approach and intentions.

Ofcourse, the boys couldnt see them , "see the tails out?" ahhh no "see the floating grass?"

ahhhh no " do you see the dark shadow spot about the size of four flats boats?" ahhhh no.

OK OK do you see the white spot, looks like a paper plate in the water? errr yah

The school of Permit is just right of the white paper plate, throw a crab just right of the white paper plate!!

Whoa! thats left and short, throw the other crab right of the white paper plate!

WAIT! thats not a white paper plate!....thats a Albino Permit! Shite cant believe it, never in all these years !

Throw a crab at the white paper plate/Albino Permit............not even close but, another Permit eats the crab and we drift off fighting him, myself straining to keep a visual while we drift further away.

We release the common, everyday kinda Permit and I get back on the push pole and huff my way back to the school and Albino, found them and the other brother made a cast near the
Albino but, another Permit beats the Albino to the crab, soooo off we go again hooked up
and fighting the second, plain jane, caught a million ov um Permit!

I cant waite to get back to that school and another shot at that Albino!

Huff , huff, huff back again but this time I'll make the shot, I want a photo of that Albino Permit,
My Albino Permit!

I had gotten a good look at him and saw that like other Albino's he had a mother of Pearl
pinkish, bluish cast to the white, like the white alligators at the New Orleans marine zoo.

I wanted to touch him, kiss his fat lips, get a photo, and put him back.

My cast was good, one foot from the Albino and infront of his pretty pink lips, " here he comes"
we all exclamed.

Then from six feet away another, plain ol , pain in the ass , who gives a shite Permit beats the Albino to the crab and devours it.

The tide turned by the time we got back to the area and my Albino was .......gone.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

What can the Key West Fish Think?

What a year for Hurricanes, Dennis, Kristina, latest Rita!?

I really feel for the Gulf Coast people and am truly amazed that we have (so far) dodged a big one!

Rita turned into a Cat. 4 storm 12 hours west but , only a very few miles away and
life in Key West would be alot different today and for lots of tomorrow's with a little less luck.

A little prayer for Texas....

Monday, September 19, 2005

Key West Fishing Shakespeare Tackle Update

Once again I'm surprised by the new Shakespeare tackle!

I've writen about the lower priced/quality Shakespeare Tackle Company and their history with providing some surprisingly good saltwater fishing gear.....years ago.

Many of the early saltwater guides of the Florida Keys relied on the old Sigma line of spinning
reels, the Wonder and Medalist fly reels that cost a only few bucks but stood up to Tarpon,Bonefish, Permit, Barracudas and the rest of the ocean tuffy's.

I called them G.I. reels as they appeared to be something one might find in an Alice pac issued
by the Army......not pretty, everyone had them, everyone relied on them but no one bragged
about them.

For 15 yrs or so Shakespeare's stuff slipped out of that niche and into the "rod and reel combo"
bought for your grand childern to trast niche, usually bought at KMart or mega drug store.
Most of it was junk! ...sorry Shakespeare.

Shakespeare is back in the "surprise niche" again with a new factory in China ofcourse.

I wrote a few months ago about the new" Custom 100% graphite line of spinning rods and how happy I am with them, still true but, I wanted to mention one rod in this line that I found is the
best FLATS fishing spinning rod I have in almost 35 years of fooling with this sport.

Great , Ugly Stik Custom 7'6'' medium heavy 10-20 lb rated, #USCISP 1176 1MH 100% GR

A looong seven and a half foot rod will a lot of leverage to fight a big fish and will throw a small
bait, jig, plug a looong way.

This rod throws a Permit crab a block and a half and kicks Mr. Permits arse when the crab finally lands on his dinner plate!
We have landed lots of big Permit in the last 6 months on this rod....really great!

A few weeks ago a young lady customer was hooked up to the wrong Tarpon with this rod loaded with 10# PowerPro braided line on a Pflueger/Shakespeare Medalist, she had tossed
a crab into a school of baby Tarpon and ofcourse, Big Mama grabbed the bait and we were off to the races.......she was 90-100 lbs and so was the fish!

After a hour or so I took over and palmed the spool to "Come, bleed or blister!" that fish.

Couldn't believe the power in that little rod, in short order the Tarpon was at the boat and I clamped down and jumped her off.

The new Custom Graphite Ugly Stik is a great spinning rod at any price.
I And the retail price will leave you change for a lunch or two from a hundred dollar bill.

Again this is not really a big Tarpon stik but its a super duper Permit, Bonefish, Redfish, Bass, Salmon, Steelhead , Wizzbanger!

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Smiling Permit

Smiling Permit

Fall Fishing In The Marquesas and Key West

Marquesas and Key West backcountry October Fun Fishing is all about Bonefish, Jacks, Permit, Pompano action on both light spin tackle and flyfishing gear.

The Fall bait run comes along with cooler water and hungry game fish not far behind.

Mylar jigs and Flies work on many of these guys and ofcource the Nasty Charlies, Merkin's and
Tango flies will get lots of attention from the fussy Bonefish and Permit.

A few Big Tarpon will still be around and a live crab or lovely fly will wack a few Poons even in the fall.
Baby Tarpon will be in the Keys mote's and basins and will be a little frisky with all the bait fish that have moved in with cooler October water.

The Marquesas will have big schools of Monster Jacks driving pilchers around and up to the flats edges offering arm busting action, a short brake from serious Permit stalking on the Flats.

Also the Bonefish of the Marquesas Flats will be in attendance.

Bring a lunch!

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Key West's October Flats Fishing

October's cooling water brings hot flats fishing and the big Bonefish swim out of the Gulf to chew on the crabs, shrimp and other shelfish munchys.

September water temps are always high and this years boiling water brought tuff fishing in the shallows and a few hurricanes.

Still we managed some ok Tarpon fishing and fare to good Permit action in September.

I have always looked forward to October for the better fishing and to cool off the Ol guide a bit.

Flyfishing in October will pick up for tailing Permit as well as Bonefish and early am will still give
some Tarpon shots.

Pompano will show up some with lots more later on in the fall when the cooler water drives bait fish up the flats rivers and into the backcountry basins.

Yesterday we managed a small Tarpon and a good 18+ lb Permit before the midday heat drove us to the dock and cold adult beverage.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Update on Key West's White Crown Pigeon's

Hurricane Dennis in early July interuped the nesting season for the White Crowns in the Florida Keys and Everglades, no doubt there will be a few less little ones this year.

A few weeks later Katrina traveled through the Everglades down the north side of the Keys and parked a few miles north of Key West for 8/10 hours.

I woke up at 3am and switched on the weather channel to find that Katrina wasnt going to Ft. Myers after all but, instead decided to visit us, but how close!?

Out of bed I shot and pulled Marcella and the OL Lion dog into hurricane mode, digging out the slickers and tying down the skiff's, bringing in the lawn furniture and taking stock of food, water, flash light and gasoline, again.

The baby skiff was still in the water behind the house but, will have to wait until day light before I can run it to the ramp and have Marcella meet me with the Jeep and trailer.

First a quick run to the family condo that is facing south across from the beach and shutter it up,
it hasn't dried out from the last storm !

When we made the drive back to Bougainvillea the weather was getting really tuff with wind gusting over 60 and driving rain, baby skiff will have to ride out the storm in the water,.. shite.

The next 18 hours were without power, " what no CNN?"

We listened to the battery radio and watched the coconuts blow down the canal, cooked on the gas grill, standing in the rain.

The big Blue skiff rocked on it's trailer, straining straps.

Every 45 minuets I would have to dodge Palm frons and Iguanas shot from hurricane canons
as I bailed the baby skiff with a bucket...the bilge pump switch had died.

Winds with armor piercing rain 60+ sustained and gusting over 80 mph, I kept bailing.

One eye on the old Coconut Palm that hangs over the sea wall, other watching the bailing bucket fill again and again.

And a worried thought about the new little White Crowns.