May 26, 2011

Key West Fishing

After a few windy days the weather has finally become tolerable. My buddy Capt Pete and I fished with a group of four guys from VA the last three days. Tarpon were pretty scarce in the mornings during the falling tide but a few were jumped. Dave who is the least experienced angler of the group hooked a huge tarpon yesterday afternoon on the east side of the Marquesas. He fought the fish for two hours which we had to chase into a 15-20 mph east wind into the big channel between the Marquesas and Boca Grand. It was pretty ugly, 2-4 foot steep waves plenty of which came over the bow of the Beavertail. We locked down the drag and got the fish up to the boat for a couple of photos in the water and an attempt at the leader. But the rough conditions, which was no place for a flats skiff, resulted in the line breaking. It was definitely for the best for all parties involved, it would have been nearly impossible to handle and revive that fish in those conditions. It was so rough our tarpon several times surfed the waves like a sailfish offshore.

Today was much better and the guys were more interested in smaller species which I was more than happy to oblige. Dennis ended the day with two of five bonefish on fly and Dave caught two bonefish and permit on bait.

The sigh of relief

Captain Mike Bartlett
Key West Flats & Backcountry

May 09, 2011

Key West Guppy Hatch

The past couple mornings have greeted us with flat calm conditions and guppy hatches. We have been tearing up tarpon that are actively feeding on the small baitfish coming off the flats. Fish of all sizes are mixed together so each cast could result in a baby tarpon under 30 pounds or a giant tarpon well over 100 pounds.

I fished with Melissa from Texas this morning. Melissa wanted to go for tarpon on fly. Well her timing was perfect and so are the conditions. As soon as we set up a group of tarpon rolled near the boat. I grabbed the fly rod from the rod rack and quickly stripped out a bunch of line. No time to get organized, Melissa quickly shot some line across water. A few quick strips and a monster tarpon over 100 pounds grabbed her fly and greyhounded across the water. After about fifteen minutes of tug-o-war the line parted. That was actually a good thing because we would have missed the entire guppy hatch fighting that one fish.

We got back into position and Melissa hooked three more tarpon landing about a forty pound tarpon on a gurgler for her first official Key West tarpon.

The hatch was short lived and we moved to another area. We we're greeted by more rolling tarpon and Melissa was soon hooked up with another fish. This one about thirty five pounds and it jumped like crazy.

Congratulations to Melissa on a fine morning of tarpon fishing in Key West. We are out again tomorrow morning for hopefully more of the same.

Captain Mike Bartlett
Key West Flats & Backcountry