Sunday, October 15, 2006

Permit and Tarpon Ocean Side Key West

We were surprized by the Tarpon we ran into yesterday but, we expected a few good Permit shots.

A little too much wind and some high clouds made it a tuff day.

We were on top of most of the fish before we could see them, they had conditions in their favor.

There they gooooooo! the ol' guide exlaimed..^*%@& fish.

Eventually we got lucky with a nice lazy Permit over the sand, jumping on the crab like a chicken on a June Bug.

After 20 mins and a hug and kiss, he was back in the sponge bottom, counting his blessings.

Later a nice 60+ lb Tarpon appeared and although the cast was in his window, he was apparently looking for a nice minnow.

So better light and we'd O wacked um!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Key West Backcountry Showing Life

Looking in the basins that lie inside the Gulf of Mexico Flats, I've been finding a lot of bait fish.

Mullet and Pilchers being bombed repeatedly by big Grey Pelicans with some Sooty Terns picking up the scraps.

These are some of the Fall signs that will eventually bring in the Sea Trout, Pompano and even a few Bluefish.

But thats getting ahead of things by a month or so.

We will not see any of those guys for another month, we'll expect to see the Bonefish and Permit show up in greater number this month though.

I did a little sniffen around in a few of the eastern Gulf side basins and the inner Mangrove Islands that float inside the flats.

Just looking for the Baby Tarpon that are born up under the Mangroves and live there until they decide its time to move on with the bigger Tarpon.

They will travel in and out of the rivers and basins but spend much of their life a few miles out in the Gulf, coming in close for some munchies once in awhile.

We found a few here and there although we could not coax them out from under the shade of the mangrove roots.

I always wonder how many thousands of years these baby Tarpon have hatched and grown in these same little Mangrove nooks feeding on Finger Mullet, Pin Fish and crabs until graduation.

I wonder how many of the Babies that we jumped on little Mylar Flies in and around the Mangroves, 7-8 years latter fed a orange Tango fly, fought and landed him now weighing 120 lbs.

I like to think we'll see him again at 170 lbs.

Not sure the feeling is mutual!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Permit on the Fly Key West

I went to the Gulf side flats this morning and just east of Snipe Keys, pushed the little skiff up as high as I could and waited.

Watching for Bonefish or Permit moving up on to the flat with the incoming tide,saw a couple Mullet sized Bonefish as I pushed west and continued to look for Sickel Tails.

I did see two small Permit that bolted before I could slide close enough for John to get a small Merkin fly launched.

After the usual Barracuda, Sting Ray and Bonet Shark "fooler's" we pushed toward the Gulf edge to run east a few more Keys.

John started to come off the casting deck and I warned him "if you put up that flyrod
15 Permit will swim by us!"

Just as I said it, I spotted two tail tips breaking the surface 25 yards at 1 oclock.

John sprang up and as I got closer we could see 20-25 "Floater" Permit hanging over some sponge bottom.

John launched the small blond floating Merkin and sure enough we saw a Permit turn on it, this is where the angler expects a bite and the guide doesn't...usually.

I heard John exclaim " He's on" ol guide thought.. Mangrove Snapper came out from under the sponge and ate John's fly.

Wonderfully, I was wrong and 30 mins later we snapped a photo of Johnny's 14-16 lb Permit.

We had drifted west and north of the sponge bottom and after putt'n in a big half circle were now 100 yards east of the Permit schools.

We put on another Blondy and both jumped onto you battle stations, few mins latter I found the fish and we closed once again.

Knowing we may have worn out our welcome but, we had to give it a try!

John cast the Merkin and wiggled it a little as it drifted through the School.

I saw the fly line jerked from his hand, he recovered guickly and grabbed the loose line, sinking the hook in another Permit face..

As I put the skiff on plane at the mouth of my home canal this morning, I was dreading a looong hot day!

It was good to be wrong... had a Hot Day.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Key West Fall Fishing

No one is more elated than I that October is here and with it the cooling of the inshore water.

Looks like this year we will have some early cold fronts and thats a good thing!

Dont get out your parka's just yet, this is the Lower Florida Keys we're talking about water temps in the mid 70s and low 80s after summers water running 10 degrees warmer.

Every fall the annual bait run starts down the East coast, shifting small bait fish south and moving the Sail Fish, King Fish and other off shore monsters into the keys and southern Gulf of Mexico.

What does this mean to Flats Fisherman?....Nothing and everything, we're not expecting and Sailfish on the flats but we have simular results from the fall cooling temps.

The crab and shrimp population along with other small bait fish move into the basins, chanels and flats.

Their finding cool water where a few weeks ago it was boiling and uncomfortable.

Along with this inshore bait movement comes ofcourse the guys were interested in, Bigger Bonefish come in from the Gulf of Mexico along with larger groups of Permit.

In a month or so we'll start looking for Sea Trout, Pompano and Cobia, all looking for some winter hunting in the now cooler inshore waters in the Florida Keys.

October is always a fun time for me, pursuing the Bigger Bonefish on the Gulf Flats and finding bunches of Permit wher a few weeks ago there were...some.

The Tarpon will show but dont look for bunches, we'll get some shots but not spend alot of time trying to make it happen.

Those that have fished with me in the past will remember I dont spend a lot of time with small Bonefish.

October gives me the chance to Bonefish more often....looking for the Big Boys!