Biscayne Bay & Florida Keys

July 24, 2002

South Florida
FishWire Coordinator: Thorne Sparkman
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Beating the Heat

Reel-Time is actively seeking information contributors in the Keys who can help us by contributing weekly information. Since we run this e-zine from Rhode Island, we rely on timely information from others. While sponsorship will continue to cost money, we would be happy to inlude some editorial attribution which will identify those contributors who are interested in publicity.

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Don't forget to send me your own reports, and until next week...

Tight Lines!

Thorne Sparkman


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South Florida's Fisheries


Biscayne Bay to Key Largo

Capt. Bob LeMay checked in with this report recently:

The night time baby tarpon fishing continues to be my best bet. We're managing to beat the heat and the afternoon storms while fishing close to home. Tarpon up to about 30lbs are still quite active in the urban portion of the Bay. On Sunday night my angler stuck 6 on flies, all at close quarters. The fish did most of the releasing but not without some spectacular acrobatics. We only saw one other boat tarpon fishing the entire evening. Summer fishing is like that most nights. Now that the mini-season for lobster is almost here I expect the tarpon to get kind of lonely most nights... Thank heavens tarpon don't hand out where the bugs do!

Tight Lines



Call Capt. Bob Rodgers of Islamorada (305) 853-0933

Islamorada to Flamingo

Capt. Barry Hoffman's fishing report for the Upper Keys and Florida Bay flats and backcountry.

July 17th, 2002
A much improved weather system made for better fishing during the week. The wind slicked out for nearly 4 days, allowing the fish to settle into their normal patterns. Bonefishing was about average for July. You've got to fish early. By eleven o'clock or so, the water gets too warm for their comfort. Even the deeper basins are warming up and are unable to provide any relief to the fish on a stronger tide. Tarpon made a surprising showing this week. A few days of quiet weather had them moving through the Keys. Not lots of fish, but enough to have a reasonable shot at hooking one. It may be perhaps the last push out of the Islands for the fish. While the wind was calm, one could do well to look for redfish. Most fish weren't tailing though, so good vision was important in locating them and getting a shot. Some flats were gin clear, others had a green, muddy mess to fish in. Seatrout reports are a bit thin. I've not done much of it lately, but typical summer trout are too small for most anglers. A trip out west of Florida Bay might find a few larger specimens. During the week we also spotted a few permit. Hot steamy weather gets the fish floating in the early morning. It's hard to miss those big tails protruding from the surface.

Thursday and Friday, I fished with John Salivon. We fished day one up in Biscayne Bay, in search of bonefish and permit. Most bonefish we found were a bit smaller than usual, but they provided enough fun on John's eight weight. John caught four fish up to 5 pounds on Thursday. We also had a few unexpected shots at redfish while I was looking for baby tarpon. The weather let us out only for an hour or two on Friday. A good fly caster, John caught three redfish before the squall was upon us. Lightening strikes and graphite push poles don't mix very well.

On Saturday I fished with Scott Britton and father Doug. I ran back into the Park to find those redfish again. After a bit of instruction, we caught two redfish for the day. On Sunday I fished with Skip Stowers and his son Shaun. Slick calm and steamy hot once again, I went looking for redfish. I thought it might be a good day when on an instructional early morning first cast, I hooked a snook! The day went very well, I believe our final total was about 14, including a double-header. We found one big school of bonefish on the way home, but were unable to hook any from it.

That's it! Good Luck to you. Practice your casting at every opportunity, and you'll be a much luckier fisherman.

Hooker Charters, Captain Andy Brackett
Native Charters -- Capt. Chris Duncan -- 305-744-0146

Lower Keys, Key West & the Marquesas

Andy Brackett of Hooker Charters(1-877-435-2873) wrote: This report brings us up to the present since the end of June. There are still fair numbers of tarpon around on the Oceanside and in the backcountry. We have a couple fly caught tarpon to report. Also, we are seeing good numbers of permit in the last two weeks, especially on the Gulf side. On 29 June, Jay Nannini, from New York, hooked and landed a big backcountry tarpon that weighed in at 130 lbs. The big fish was caught on 20 lb spin, and despite the fact that it had recently been bitten by a shark, the fight lasted well over an hour. The photos were fantastic. Young Corey Layne, from Texas, landed a spunky 50 lb tarpon on 20 lb spin and lost another one that was a little bigger. Jon Wilson, from New York, logged a fly-caught tarpon weighing 55 lbs and jumped another. All that excitement occurred before 8 am. In fact, the first tarpon was hooked on the first cast of the day when he perfectly presented the fly ahead of a rolling tarpon! Paul Scott, From Texas, Caught a 65 lb tarpon on fly, and then we were chased back to the dock by thunderstorms at 9am. Not a bad 3-hour trip! The weather is beginning to take on the typical summer routine. The tarpon have been rolling until about 9am, then they are tougher to find. Permit have been “floating” (they bob on the surface with dorsals and tails protruding). They will eat readily when doing this but you must be very cautious and delicate when presenting a crab fly or live crab. Although we have not targeted bonefish, they usually “tail” while feeding during the early morning hours and are easy to see when we have light winds. You’ve got to love this time of year for fishing, but we are usually back at the dock by noon to escape the warm afternoons.

This report covers the last two weeks and brings us current through 25 June. Paul Frinsko, from Maine, had and incredible day during his recent four day trip. On Saturday, 22 June, Paul landed and released a Super Grand Slam, which consists of a tarpon, bonefish, permit, and mutton snapper, all in the same day. All fish were caught on the flats on light spin or conventional gear. The 90 lb tarpon was caught on 15 lb conventional gear, the 6.5 lb bonefish on 10 lb test spin, the 12 lb permit on 20 lb spin, and the mutton snapper on 10 spin gear. What an extraordinary catch! This is truly a catch of a lifetime. Paul also landed a 40 lb tarpon on conventional gear earlier in the week.

Ron Saputo, from New York, landed two tarpon weighing 75 and 110 lbs, on spin gear during less than desirable conditions. Sight fishing with his fly rod was out of the question, as cloudy conditions and wind prevailed during most of his stay.

Finally, Tim Wright, from Texas, had a busy two days as he lost a nice tarpon on fly after it cut off the class tippet on coral. He then landed a big jack crevalle on fly, then went to work with light spin gear and landed two tarpon of 65 and 120 lbs. In addition, he jumped three other tarpon of various sizes.

In general, June has brought us cloudy skies, making sight fishing very difficult, so we have resorted to spin gear/live bait or lures to ensure we get into some tarpon action. It is hard to catch a tarpon on fly if you can’t see them! However, the first two hours of the day have usually given us a chance at them when they roll lazily on the surface. Tight lines and loops, Capt Andy

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