After two days of perfect weather for sight fishing the flats of Key West and some great fishing with catches of redfish and permit, Thursday quickly turned south. I fished with Bryan from Iowa on Thursday. Bryan was fly fishing and was up for anything on the end of his line as this was his first saltwater trip. We searched for some bonefish and permit in the morning finding none and we had a couple shots at bonnethead sharks, never coming tight. Then the clouds moved in and visibility went to zero. We moved to an area where the light was a little better and the water was shallow and still we didn't see a fish. Permit weren't tailing and we couldn't see anything in deeper water.
We went back to pick up Bryan's Dad for the afternoon. The tide was just starting to roll in on the Gulfside and the light came back some. I decided to head north for some jacks on rays, which is usually a pretty easy process. As soon as got to the first flat, here come the clouds again and visibility went to crap. There weren't many rays on those flats and the ones that were present lacked a following jack. Bryan had two bites neither of which stayed on.
We experienced a guides nightmare, coming home skunked. Bryan, not wanting to go home empty handed decided to spend another day on the water with me.
We fished on Saturday and what a gorgeous day it turned out to be. Sunny skies and light winds for most of the day, I knew were gonna have a great day. I started at the redfish flat since the tides were very in the morning. After a good bit of poling and a couple of shots at bonnethead sharks, we finally found a few redfish. Unfortunately they were willing to stink around very long for Bryan to get a good shot.
I move to an area where we I have been finding some laid up tarpon. We spent about an hour looking and found two tarpon getting a shot at one that swam off after a couple of attempts.
It was close to high tide in the backcountry, so I went to one of the many beautiful gulfside flats to catch the beginning of the outgoing tide. Bryan through the tube lure at the first barracuda we saw and it did not disappoint. The barracuda crushed the tube then tore off across the flat taking to the air as if he were a tarpon. Several minutes later the cuda was boat side for a few photos. We had a few more shots at barracudas on that flat but they were spooking easily.
I later moved over a couple of flats in hopes of a permit. It wasn't long and a school of four permit were moving up the flat. Bryan tossed a crab perfectly in the middle of the school of permit and it was instantly eaten. His permit sped off toward the channel and fifteen minutes one of the most beautiful permit I have seen was boat side.
What a beautiful day and it was a great day on the water. Thanks again Bryan.
Check out Bryans blog http://atlasfishing.blogspot.com/ he has some stunning photos of the areas he fishes out west.
Captain Mike Bartlett