Friday, October 21, 2005

Hurricane Wilma.......Still

Ok Here we go again!?

Dennis, Katrina, Rita and now we think maybe Hurricane Wilma.

I've been through a lot of hurricane threats and lots of indirect hurricane hits, even a few direct
wacks in the thirty five years that I have lived in Key West

Most late summer's, in the last fifteen years, I've been in New England, Montana, Ohio and ten summers in British Columbia.

This is the first time in many years that I have stayed in Key West all summer, interesting.

It is a mistake I will not make again!

Sure the last few years have been unusually busy in the hurricane department but!

I wonder how the Steelhead fishing in British Columbia will be next year?

Should do some of that high lake Rainbow Trout nymphing in Kelowna, that way I'll be in B.C.
early for Steelhead scouting up in the Skeena River.

Next hurricane shelter?......... British Columbia!

Monday, October 17, 2005

Wishing For Cold Fronts in Key West?

Love hate relationship for Key West fishing guides

This happens every year, twice a year, spring comes promising the best Tarpon fishing in the very shallow Florida Keys Flats.

By the middle of March, we're ready for spring/summer.

September we're " Jones- ing" for Fall and the migration of bait fish that move down the coast
and the warmer water's of the Key West Flats and basins.

Pompano, Cobia, Barracudas, big Jacks and a few Bluefish follow, supplying a lot of just plain ol' tackle busting fun.

Fly rods and elbows!

Ofcourse Bonefish, Tarpon and Permit are still in the mix but, when we get tired of being serious stalkers, the winter time fun fish are right there to bend the rod.

Tarpon fishing again tomorrow (sigh)

But, we're right on the fringe, I can smell the Autumn Palm Fron's

Key West Tarpon Fishing

 Posted by Picasa

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Key West Permit Fishing Panic

Wow ! Quite a shock and close call for Mr. Permit.

Two weeks ago my neighbor and pal Dr Jerrold Weinstock of Key West dropped over with the
latest Florida commercial fishing regulation print out.

These are not the sportfishing regs, but the rules that the food fish guys must obey.

The Florida fishing regulations for both commercial and sportsmen change a little every year,
usually to help protect the various species that are regulated in both fresh and saltwater
to ensure that we continue to have fish, and thats a good thing!

Sometimes however, theres a "boo boo"

Because of the political pressures from commercial fishing interests, we ( sportfishermen) worry sometimes about Missprints.

Who is? Miss Prints well she can be a very seductive and convenient or she could be
just little ol' misprint.

This is the " meat of the coconut"

Back in the early 70's Jerry Weinstock and another friend of our's Bob Feldman wrote and pushed a bill that was eventually passed and became a law protecting both the Bonefish and Permit as protected gamefish in Florida State waters.

These two were not fishing guides or sportswrites as you would suspect, but avid sportfishermen with the forsight to act and protect their flats fish friends.

Bob Feldman is a Key West attorney and Jerry Weinstock is a Psychiatrist here so they had the tools to write and drive this bill to and through Tallahassee.

Jerry also build's one of the best damn Key Lime Pie's in Key West, maybe a few pies went up to the capital also.....

Until this last/latest printing of the regulations regarding Permit , commercial fishermen were
limited to a slot of 11 to 20 inches and a daily total catch of 100 lbs per vessel.

The" misprint" was this, it put no limit on total pounds caught per day, per vessel.

Not a small issue!

Florida DNR were flooded by calls inquiring about the apparent changes to the Permit regs by Weinstock, Dan Blanton, Marshall Cutchen, myself and about a hundred avid sportsmen from all over the country and........ it is to be corrected.

Thank the World Wide Web!

We were assured that is was a misprint.....and it probably was.

Part of the rub was that small Permit look very much like Pompano and the slot size of 11-20 inches is the same.

I can tell you that there are very very few 20 inch Pompano and that going forward to better
protect Permit in Florida would be to lower the slot on Pompano to 18 inches.

We'll be watching for, Miss Prints

Friday, October 07, 2005

Tailing Permit and Setting Sun

Late afternoon today, I took a ride with a hunch and a hand full of Permit Fly's

The cloudy sky and low afternoon light made me pause but, only briefly, I wanted to be on the Whalebone flat !

As I pulled the skiff off plane and putted down the cut, I saw some milky water in the Gulf and
began to think, this was a bad idea.

Oh well, I'm here lets get closer and see how the water clarity is on the Whalebone...Not bad.

I unsheathed the Sage 11 wt and tied on a lovely new Orange and Brown Dale.

Pulling a few yards of fly line out and coiling it in the cockpit, laying the Rod and Reel at the ready on the front casting deck, I scrambled up the tower.

Poled a few yards and there was a Tail.......a Permit Tail and then I saw three more Permit swimming ahead of me.

Already it was worth it.

I slid out infront of the fish and drifted in their direction.

Because I was the caster and the guide, I had to plan my drift then drop down and pick up the
Fly rod clear the line and hope everyone stayed cool!

I got my shot and one of the Permit turned and took a peek in the direction of my plopping
Fly.......just a peek.

Back on the tower, its ok they just moved a few yards and in a couple of push'es, I'm back on the rascals.

Down again grab the rod and launch, leader looks....leaves.

Up and down again, this time a grab........... he comes unplugged.

On the ride home, near dark oclock, I think that was enough.

When I pulled up to the sea wall behind the house the Ol Pitbull is barking for the beef jerky
that lives under the console of the baby skiff.

I Can always count on a bite from her.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Key West Flats Fishing and Hurricanes

Recovering from the close calls of hurricane season with Dennis, Katrina and Rita

all passing within 50 miles of the lower Florida Keys the environment is the least impacted.

With all the energy that humans use to protect themselves and their property when living in
an area that can be frequented by these swirling monsters, when it comes down to it, the flats,
mangrove islands and fish are hardly effected at all.

In fact hurricanes are a cleansing of the estuaries, removing silt and decaying vegetation in much the same way a forest fire removes undergrowth from the florest floor and improves
the soil for new sprouts.

Right after Hurricane George a few years ago, I took a ride in my skiff from Snipe Keys to the Marquesas and found the mangrove islands looking like they were all victims of forest fire.

The wind burn had turned them from lush green mangrove floating forests to brown dead,
and upsetting at first look but, what really happens?

The hurricane had infact removed the dead wood and in a few weeks after new leaves started
to appear, the Keys were the better for it.

The Tarpon, Sharks , Bonefish and Permit were back in the shallows within hours and a few days later found their inshore haunts had been swept clean.

Years ago in conversations with the old Conch fisherman, frequently someone would suggest that we needed a good storm to "clean the bottom" to improve the fishing.

Yesterday I found four schools of babies, 20-40 lb Tarpon happy for minnow fly's in the backcountry.

The old Conchs were right, but tell that to the man whose Mango tree was replanted by Katrina in his kitchen!