Monday, December 17, 2007

Christmas Key West Flats Fishing

As the North Wind blows thru my office window, whistling me with a chill, I look forward to Thursdays fishing.

Tuesday and probably Wednesday this week, no one will look forward to being on the flat.

But these cold fronts are necessary and although on my last trip out we captured over 24 Sea Trout on weenie rods, we could see the symptoms of the basin waters becoming too warm for really good winter fun fishing.

The Jack, Ladyfish, Pompano and Shark activity down some, but not for long.

We want the cool water that the fronts bring to stir up the baitfish and bring the seasonal funster's inshore.

The big Jacks, Pompano, Redfish and Trout in the basins, the Barracudas and Cobia on the Flats
all need the cold fronts and water temp changes that they bring.

Timing for the Chrismas/ New Year break looks good this year and I'm whipping up a batch of Mylar Jigs and Fly's, a few Tube Lure's too.

Back under the covers for a little cold front nap!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Pompano, Sea Trout, and Saw Tooth Jacks

Winter basin fishing has really turned on in the last few days, even though we have had an Indian Summer, weather wise.

Just beautiful days, if not the best clear sky for sight casting on the flats.

We have had a few Red Fish up in the sneaky spots close to the Mangrove's.

Todays 18+ Gator Trout ( large Sea Trout) was a sure sign that the winter fun fish have arrived, a few days ago some Bluefish shot thru and gobbled Gurgler surface popper flies.

One cast and your into big Jacks, SeaTrout, Ladyfish, Pompano, Black Tip Sharks ... Ass Over Tin Cup!

It's not the Bonefish, Tarpon, Permit rant that you expect from us in the lower Florida Keys but it's lots of fast tackle busters and as Jack says " that ain't bad!"

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Pompano Fishing in Key West, 1970-2007

Seam's only a short while ago that the commercial fisherman I knew in the Lower Florida Keys were getting out of Pompano was over.

Selling their Pompano nets and concentrating on Lobster,Snapper,Grouper or Ballyhoo.

Pompano had been fished out, a result of Gill Nets and the effective genocide that Gill Netting is capable of.

The same thing happened to the giant Atlantic King Fish schools that , not too many years ago roamed up and down the East Coast & Gulf of Mexico .

But this story is about recovery.

The State of Florida passed a law effectively stopping the use of Gill Nets in state waters about 10 years ago.

Back from oblivion are the Pompano, Mullet, Spotted Sea Trout, Red Fish, Look Downs, Snappers and a good number of non-food fishes that we just love to hook and play with.

We still are careful and turn back most fish landed.

A real professional fishing guide understands the importance of preservation of the fishery.

Remember that when, the Yahoo you hired to capture a Tarpon , shoots a bait fish full of WD 40 and winks at you as he slips the temporarily live but, toxic bait fish over the side.

See there I go again.....Pompano Fishing!


Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Fall Back to Fall Ahead on the Key West Flats

! How did they know that?

We adjusted the Daylight Saving Time by pushing it one week later....they know the globe is
warming! sneeky bastards.

Anyway just like that we get our first real cool fronts, dropping humidity and air and water temps.....thanks.

We still caught Permit yesterday, that's Permit, as in saw one... caught one.

But that's OK with us because " rather catch one then -see eighteen"

Its windy, tuff , but you can almost hear those Pompano, Cobia, Redfish some, Jacks and Barracudas crashing into the Key West Flats and Basins.
All in pursuit of the migrating bait fish.

That does not mean Permit fishing is over for the year at all, Bonefishing for that matter will still be good when the water temps are not to low.

Fishing with Sam Pelly, one of our Navy Fighter Pilots, blowing 20 out of the NE and not alot of sun.

Sam brought his girl, Miss Halloween , she and I are both Halloween Babies so Sam was surrounded but, he managed to capture his first Permit on his first Key West Flats fishing trip in spite of the Spooks.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Falling into Fall Fishing

The Bonefish continue to give us some thrills, especially the 7+ lbers.

But the cooler air that we usually see by mid October has not arrived yet, we all look forward to its arrival.

Down on Poo Key this morning Marcella and I saw a few small hawks, wrens and some Key West Dove's.

The Fall bird migration is ahead of the cool air.

October brings,.. much to the dismay of the resident Osprey, Sooty Turns and Kingfisher's,.... Krestals and Red Tail Hawks, You will see a lot of dog fights over the outer Keys as the local birds do not approve of the "Snow Birds" moving in on their "no fly zone's"

The Baby Tarpon are still sneeeken around the Mangroves as long as the water in the basins remains warm.

Thats a good thing but , we're looking for a little cool and the good Permit, Pompano and Cobia fishing that comes with it.....

Monday, September 17, 2007

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Bonefish Explode on the Gulfside Flats

Everyone knows that in September and October on into November that Bonefish show up in better numbers.

The water temps have dropped a tad and Bonefish are happily sliding in for a Crustacean snack, Permit too of course.

Small Bonefish Flies, jigs and live Shrimp will stop a Bonefish long enough to feel a hook jab then, off to the races, rod high in the air and a few WAHOO"S before these little rockets begin to slow down.

Using a smallish " Merkin" Permit Fly will help your chances for bites from either Bonefish and Permit.

Some of the hard Gulf Flats are great for walking on the lower stages of tides.

Reminds me of a Story...Few years ago, I was fishing with a couple that had been with me many times.

We approached a sand flat that I knew would flood with Bonefish Schools as soon as the tide started in.

Being too shallow to begin to get the skiff on , I sent Jim out with a spin outfit, a few spare hooks, split shot and a baggie full of shrimp.

Pat, Jim's wife stood on the front of the skiff with me waiting for the tide.

From his spot 60 yards away Jim saw a large school of Bones approaching, made a cast and of course, fought his first Bonefish of the day.

By now the water had reached Pat and I and we made the first casts as a school approached the skiff.

All three of us were hooked up and laughing when a very excited Jim yelled " hey there's a big Bull Shark with a school of Bonefish following it"

I told Jim to throw the shrimp just behind the Bull Shark and he'll hook a Bonefish.

A little nervious standing in the water with sharks, Jim made his cast and would you believe, the Bull Shark swung around and gobbled Jim's shrimp and tore off across the flat.

" Christ, what should I do now Mike!? " Jim exclaimed.

" DON'T PISS HIM OFF JIM !" Pat and I yelled .........

Monday, September 10, 2007

Running From Rain

Yesterdays trip was a late start, waiting for squalls to pass.

The last several days have been wet, down in the western lakes area we made a dash to avoid a really big funnel spout that followed us west for three miles.

I was finely able to charge north of it and head for Key West, lots of excitement for my sports.

Just the normal late summer pattern and not really very scary.but, if you haven't seen a water spout they can be disarming.

Anyway yesterdays late start sent us to a Tarpon spot, without Tarpon!

Act two put us on a Permit flat and they showed up and provided us with some thrills and eventually a cute little Permit of about 10 lbs.

We spooked and missed a shot at one in the upper 20's and a few more....

Three Shovel Nose Sharks on weeny rods for Anne and some photos to prove she's not afraid of Sharks!

The whole time we were on the flat there was a huge rain storm two flats away that waited for us to leave.

Looking over out shoulder on the way to the harbor, our little Permit flat got a bath.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Tarpon Trouble.........again!

We really intended to find some Bonefish to launch fly's at this morning, maybe a few Permit shots too.

Kevin asked about Tarpon and I had to tell him that we would sniff around first thing in the morning but I had not been seeing many the last few days.

Hot water and a tide chart that did not inspire the Tarpon or the Ol' Tarpon guide this week, but we stopped in a little spot that I hoped would give a shot or two while waiting for the sun to get up so we could pole the flats.

We got lucky, as we approached the area I saw quite a few Terns diving and soon saw a Tarpon back, then three, four...a lot more.

"Guppy Hatch" The falling tide was washing small baitfish off the flat into the deeper channel.

Ladyfish, Jacks and Tarpon were pushing up onto the flat to slurp up the goodies so.........
we slid up behind the fray and Kevin dropped a fly right into the mouth of a 70 lber.

Wahoo!... for a few seconds and the butt section of the flyrod leader parted.........SSHHHH TA !

Guide screwup.....

After some quick fix and a few Ladyfish chewing up some flies, Kevin hooked a big Cow about 150lbs.

Kevin lost the big Tarpon using a Curtsey instead of a Bow, but his first Tarpon on fly adventure was pretty good and produced some good laughs.

Hey , I'd rather be wrong and find Tarpon!

Monday, September 03, 2007

Back in Action on the Key West Flats

The Montgomery Skiff is rerigged, rewired, and re-Mercury Engined.

The new DFI Mercury 115 is really sweet with plenty power and so quiet you can carry on conversation at 35 mph.
Fuel consumption is unbelievable, even though the motor is barely broken in I'm getting mileage NEAR what I was used to in the smaller Super Skiff with its 6o Bigfoot!?


I'm back from my annual cross country motorcycle trip and have been wacken a few Bonefish and Permt.

It's hot... September is always hot and we dont begin to cool down until mid October so, trips start and end early.

A few Tarpon can be kicked up in the Morning but the Bonefishing and Permit have been pretty good to great up in the Skinny Water.

If you want to see a turtle up close this is the time of year to see dozens, the Loggerheads are all over the flats and the babies are hatching on the Keys Beaches every night.

A evening walk on many beaches in Florida in late summer with a flash light will result in a treat as the little guys/girls dig their way out and head for the

Friday, May 11, 2007

Tarpon show for Love Fest in Key West

FINLEY we have some summer weather and Tarpon showing up in the flats and shallows for Fly Rodden.

Late but welcome, in spite of forest fire smoke blowing in from Florida to give an unusual eeriness to the early morning hunt.

That's gone now, reminded me of my British Columbia Steelhead trips!

The gin clear water and calm seas are really a treat after one of the most difficult winters in the 30+ years I've been fishing in the Keys.

Peter Mullet starts with me on Sunday, we'll have our usual laugh fest along with the Tarpon Fest and seven days with Peter is always a good time.

June and early July look great for Tarpon and of course Dr. Permit will be examining our fly's.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Last Week Winter this Week Tarpon

Blimey! 2007 weather is confusing for everyone so, why should the fish be any less confused?!

February...stunk March...sucked April...cheez ass cry's

Someone shot a flare up on May 1st and now... we have been rescued !

I'm filing hook points, oiling Fly Reels and fluff'en chicken feathers for Big Daddy.

85 degrees, light winds and Tarpon Tuskers in the air...All is forgiven, its summer Tarpon Season.

The Tarpon are really happy about the weather changes, now they can continue on their annual trip to the big "Poon Fook Fest" and stop along the way to visit ol' guides and anglers that await with offering's of feathers and plastic baits.

Monday, April 30, 2007

April Key West Fishing in a Nut Shell

I had a lot of trouble sitting down to blog last month, working on skiff's when I wasn't fishing.

Not fishing because of bad weather, fishing in bad weather, bad fishing in bad weather!

John Swift aka Swifty was in for a few days and managed to hook on the 3 rd cast of the first hour a 120 lber, we got him after some great jumps and luck.

We rubbed his shinny head and back into the briny he slid.

Swifty and I always have fun, laughs, he's an old motorcycle fag like me so we spend our days babbling about the latest hot sport bike's, helmets, boots and where to wear them next.

Fishing together is the gear oil that keeps us driving forward during our time B S ing about motorcycles.

We stop and capture a nice fish without interrupting the bike bla bla.

He's been fishing about 3 times a year for 2-3 days at a time for ? 15-20 yrs!?

Leon Jackson from Montreal was fishing with me in mid April, we lost the first day because of a cold front and spent the next few days floggin the tarpon with every fly in the box with little success, very cold water, pissed Tarpon.

We enjoyed a nice cigar and every afternoon at Tea Time, a little Single malt.

Leon Jackson/ you would expect a 7 foot NBA guy from Alabama, not a born in French Canada Stock trader.

Leon will be back May 08.

Great guy Leon.

Butch and Joan Manasse, outfitters from Y-OMIN for a couple days and after Joan pulled on a Tusker for a good while took the rest of the day off.

They are a fun couple and good sports although, Joan has a habit of poken holes in a perfectly good kiddy Kat { 200 lb Cougar with a Arrow}

Jay Reed, one of the Indiana Hoggies was in for a few days, we shot the poo about our other Hoosier pals, past fishing trips and Whiskey Hunts.

Lost of tuff fishing in April but, great friends to play with.

May brings in Jim "Red Cloud" Cloud for our 26th year of fishing together...26 YEARS

Jim also in the past has hunted Alligators and Frogs from my airboat in the glades, saw him stick a frog once!
He's much better with the flyrod, Jims family

Peter Mullet my pal that arranges Mongolian Fly fishing trips for a week of Tarpooning. He will bring his monkey along for my viewing pleasure.

Adjum Marton from Chicago will be here for a week also, we always laugh out asses off and hook big Tarpon, hope he brings his dad for even more fun.

Doin the Tarpon Shuffel

Sunday, April 01, 2007

3 weeks @ 30MPH


Every joint in my old body hurts, Ibuprofen, Osteo Bi-Flex Glucosamine Chondroitin with MSM

be damned!

Every few years we have a March like this, cold fronts not strong enough to push a high pressure off the Florida/Keys coast or the worse case, the little cold front gets hurled back at us
(Backdoor Cold Front)

Either way it means lots of Wind and this week like the two weeks before it has been 20-35 MPH.

Does not encourage Tarpon to slide in to the shallows for a restful spring feast and poling the Flats for Permit Shots very tuff.

But the good news is.....April...we hope.

Got to run, Arthritis Foundation Crisis Hot Line is on the phone and I must get to Wal-Greens for the 2-4-1 sale on Bi-Flex

If your coming down, bring your suction cup deck shoes!

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Tarpon In The Wind

The last few days have been windy but worth the bouncy ride as early AM has produced a few Tarpon.

They are not everywhere but we found several places in the backcountry rivers that had more than a few Tarpon in for a bait fish meal.

That's what we gave them, live Pin Fish and some swimming plugs put several fish in the air.

The clouds and wind prevented us from poling the flat for Permit and this far has been good for Permit fishing when the weather cooperates.

Where does the time go? New Years Day was only a few days ago....seems.

Half of March is left and that means plenty Permit fishing and starting the day with Tarpon training.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Back To Barracuda Basics

OK ....yes and it's been cool and windy ...again!

Seeing a few Tarpon and nearly...nearly hooking a couple of Permit the last two days but, we're really catching Barracuda's on Tube Lures and chompen granola bars between casts.

The Cudas have been pretty big and of course they are always a lot of fun , 360's at 40mph and long runs and jumps.

Ten lb test tackle in one foot of water, you gota have some laughs.

Mean while the live crabs and Tarpon flies wait patiently in the box.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Permit Fishing Restore's Faith

After the agony of another cold blast front the north it's warmed quickly and although the Tarpon are pissed and still lying low, the Permit fishing on the Key West Flats has lifted our spirits!

Yesterday early am I was wishing I had worn jeans and SOCKS but, by mid morning the Permit fishing on the incoming tide and a few hook ups and the socks were forgotten.

Bill managed after a few bad casts to put one together and after a prolonged struggle I grabbed the tail of his first Permit and a good one about 22-24lbs.

Of course I told him it was 26lbs and after inspecting an old Shark encounter scar, Bill had the honor of giving the fish some back and fourth pumps and a slap on the arse to get the adrenaline flowing and away the Permit smoked.

March Tarpon fishing will be rock'in in a few days.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Key West Tarpon Blow Out


The not so bad cold front, turns in to BAD

Three days ago it was Tarpon and Permit, now it's 30mph and boat maintenance.

Tomorrow the winds should drop and the Permit will be pretty good but Tarpon fishing will probably not recover for a few days.

The Pompano, Cobia, and Sea Trout will show back up though so we will have good "fun fishing" and of course Barracudas will be snapping.

Oh well, back under the skiff for a little scrub!

Friday, March 02, 2007

Tarpon In the Air, Permit on the Run

The Last two days have been Tarpon in the early AM and when the sun gets up, poling the flats for Permit,

Lots of wind make easy shots at Permit, they don't see us coming!

Of course it's more of a challange to make the cast in the wind but we can get so much closer to the flighty Permit, it's a good news bad news kind of thing.

The water temps are up and a southeast wind bring the Tarpon inshore and encourages the Permit to pop up onto the flats for a crab breakfast.

We lost a couple of nice Tarpon, little late on the rod bowing will do that but, its fun to lose a Tarpon, getting him to jump is half the fun.

We should have a great March!!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Here comes summer

Wow 80ish and 86% humidity....those Tarpon will be rolling into town for an inshore feast.

Ten days ago I was in SOCKS, now its sunscreen and maybe maybe its spring in the Lower Florida Keys.

I'm sure we'll see some more cool fronts but I've the Tarpon itch and will go to the backcountry to welcome my pals.

Shakespeare sent a few new Custom Graphite rods that should do a good job of whippen those rascals.

Dusting off the Sage's and Tibor's for launching chicken feathers into the open maw's of the new arrivals.

Fetch my horse squire!

Monday, February 26, 2007

Clouds Foil Permit but Tarpon Respond

Lots of high clouds mean low chances for shot at Permit on the Key West flats.

We dont have a lot of total cloud cover days but it does happen, this is one of those days!

After a two hours of chrome sky we threw in the towel and went sniffen for "Floater Permit " or Tarpon in the little rivers.

Our efforts paid off with two nice 70+ lb. Tuskers that gave us some trouble on light rods.

One was gone after 3-4 jumps and zero bowing of the rod, but the other we managed to get up to the boat.

We were rewarded with a jump almost into the boat and a good saltwater shower that managed to wet all!

Gone but not forgotten was Mr. Tarpon

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Springing into Tarpon Fishing

I'm building the last of the Barracuda Tube lure's for 07 and have 3 big bags of Tarpon Gurgler Flies just itchen to get wet.

Only the end of Febuary and March promises more Pompano, Cobia and Barracuda but, the Permit and Tarpon fishing will be sneaking up on us very soon.

A lot of my regular guy's are calling or e-mailing to make sure we have our dates planted, they have had enough of winter in the east and mid west and dull the pain by thinking about Tarpon and Duval St. Pina Colada's.

Permit will march into March first, they tolerate a little cooler water than Mr.Tarpon.

We saw a few Tarpon poken their heads up this morning but they are still a little cold and didnt care to play.

Planning a sock burning party for March 15th.

Chaser Key West Fishing, Fly Fishing Report: Frosty Flats Fishing Key West

Chaser Key West Fishing, Fly Fishing Report: Frosty Flats Fishing Key West

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Frosty Flats Fishing Key West

Knit caps, Long Johns and SOCKS, I hate socks.

But January and lots of Febuary...I was in socks.

Febuary is all but over now and there's hope that the cold fronts are fewer hopefully, less of an impact.

The last few days have been in the mid 70's and the Permit are beginning to wander back to the flats.

Yesterday it was Barracudas and some Pompano and Bluefish, a few Permit shots too...just a few.

Todays strong southeasterly wind pushed up the water temps and encouraged more Permit to pop up for a crab sandwich.

One big boy maybe 26 lbs, pretending to be a Black Tip shark, was finely properly identified and force feed a juicy Florida Green Crab.

Smoken the drag and removing a 150 yards of braided line a few times before the Ol' guide could grab him by his tail and give him a brief warm up in the Key West Sun, a photo shoot and he was back over board to complain to his family about the Alien abduction.

Tomorrow will be more strong southeast wind warming the flats waters up and I'm sure some more Permit will challange our casting abilities.

March is next week and the Tarpon will begin to get as much attention as the Permit, maybe more.

Hate to see the Pompano start to fade as the water temps moderate but change is good.