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Drew C.

Florida flats and guides

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59 mins ago, RAW said:

My favorite fish is permit,(60 yrs)) it’s knowing where to find them feeding. They have very different  feeding patterns from Key Largo to Key West. Mid to upper keys are the best and easiest, I do not consider wreck fishing like many do when talking permit, Bonefish over 10 lbs are available, but certain months, tides are most favorable. We all have secrets and the good guides would not take a client there without knowing the client a longtime, It’s to fragile and most guys have big mouths :rav:

I don't disagree you gotta find them feeding (and of course I'm not talking on the wrecks, only on the flats), but my main Keys guide has put me on them feeding (one of the most memorable days I had was stalking about a dozen permit, all easily over 15#  down the edge of a flat...and of course I could not get a single one to bite...) consistently season after season.  Still isn't easy.  I'm willing to bet you are a far, far better fisherman than your average guy on the flats - the weakest link is the fisherman and I don't mind saying I'm that weak link - my guides have been the some of the same guides that have guided guys like Del Brown, Nathaniel Linville, Andy Mill, etc to tournament wins and records.  Unfortunately I don't have the time nor the talent of these guys :(.

 

PS That day stalking 15#+ permit was one of the coolest mornings fishing I've ever had despite not getting a bite.  Still clear in my memory as the day it happened :).

Edited by formula1

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I have been fortunate to fish and learn permit habit. I got to know most guides Steve Huff whom we chased permit together. New most Upper keys guides, but they were not into permit then. When the word Elusive starting coming up the guides had a new challenge. Certainly Del Brown , Andy Mill (probably best caster ever) Hank Brown Cecil Keith Had their preferences and locals.Having a mobile home , then a house and skiff afforded a big advantage in choosing areas , seasons, tides. I had posted when first signing as member that I landed a permit , put a float on it and followed it for a complete tide change. I’m not a great caster, just enough to get it done, For tarpon I suck. Fishing the edges is key! But you need to be on the flat as the permit exit channel to flat to feed. :rav:They are some great permit guides upper keys

Edited by RAW
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Good luck this spring Drew. Flats fishing in Gin clear water is a mind blower. Nothing compares to a string of 100 pound Tarpon sipping just feet in front of you while your trying to hold it together and still cast. Life altering experience for me. I am so freaking hooked now it’s sick. I leave for the Keys tomorrow, my Orvis endorsed guide is ready to go. I’ve booked 3 days and will fish the rest of the week from a kayak if the weather is good. Last November I timed it wrong and hit the first cold front. So I’m several weeks earlier this year. Never caught a Bone yet. Hoping for that. Trying to do this 3 or 4 times a year before I can’t physically handle it anymore. Might take 20 more years I hope 

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11 hours ago, turkaholic said:

Good luck this spring Drew. Flats fishing in Gin clear water is a mind blower. Nothing compares to a string of 100 pound Tarpon sipping just feet in front of you while your trying to hold it together and still cast. Life altering experience for me. I am so freaking hooked now it’s sick. I leave for the Keys tomorrow, my Orvis endorsed guide is ready to go. I’ve booked 3 days and will fish the rest of the week from a kayak if the weather is good. Last November I timed it wrong and hit the first cold front. So I’m several weeks earlier this year. Never caught a Bone yet. Hoping for that. Trying to do this 3 or 4 times a year before I can’t physically handle it anymore. Might take 20 more years I hope 

Good luck, tarpon are very picky most of the time. You’re right in just seeing them is a memory forever. Most important is to learn from guide, keep a log: month, tide , wind direction is critical. Tight lines:rav:

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19 hours ago, RAW said:

I have been fortunate to fish and learn permit habit. I got to know most guides Steve Huff whom we chased permit together. New most Upper keys guides, but they were not into permit then. When the word Elusive starting coming up the guides had a new challenge. Certainly Del Brown , Andy Mill (probably best caster ever) Hank Brown Cecil Keith Had their preferences and locals.Having a mobile home , then a house and skiff afforded a big advantage in choosing areas , seasons, tides. I had posted when first signing as member that I landed a permit , put a float on it and followed it for a complete tide change. I’m not a great caster, just enough to get it done, For tarpon I suck. Fishing the edges is key! But you need to be on the flat as the permit exit channel to flat to feed. :rav:They are some great permit guides upper keys

I'm still willing to bet you're being very humble about your abilities, appreciate hearing about your experiences, very cool.

 

But thanks, I feel a bit less inferior now, as I don't totally suck when it comes to tarpon :).  It's like you say, the guide makes a big difference, all the guides I've worked with have rarely had a day when they couldn't find tarpon for me to molest with my fly.  Edges is right, but sometimes you can't even make out an edge yet the tarpon keep coming a certain route over a flat so you *know* there is some feature, however subtle, they are being guided by.  I think it's a minor change in depth which for intents and purposes is an "edge."

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First permit I ever saw down there were NW off Key West in February. We were concentration on trying to get some large schools of Tarpon to commit as they stacked like cordwood in between sand flats in channels maybe 15' deep. Along came a school of maybe a dozen permit high on the surface, all pretty large. We had some great shots with fly, lures and even blue crabs, put maybe six good casts right were they should be, even letting my guide give it a whirl. I'm a complete novice when it comes to fishing down there but I think my guide called these type "floaters" and said basically lots of luck getting one to commit. They were floating, pretty much running the current almost at a 45 degree angle, barley swimming and moving more like mola mola.  As mentioned, loved the experience just the same. Now I want to go!

Edited by brushfly

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On 11/6/2021 at 10:20 AM, RAW said:

Good luck, tarpon are very picky most of the time. You’re right in just seeing them is a memory forever. Most important is to learn from guide, keep a log: month, tide , wind direction is critical. Tight lines:rav:

Went 2 for 5 yesterday. Biggest was about 40 pounds. Unlike striper fishing, when you hook up you know exactly what your fighting, it’s like being hooked up to a ballistic missile. Can see the whole fish on every crazy jump. Water was cooled a bit from a front on Sunday. Fish were  down  and not many rollers but we managed to have a great day. Another shot coming today after sun gets a bit higher. Hopefully a trip to Flamingo tomorrow which I never thought would be accomplished except for in my wildest dreams. Sight fishing down here is the most exciting thing I’ve ever done. I really don’t want to come back,lol

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27 mins ago, turkaholic said:

Went 2 for 5 yesterday. Biggest was about 40 pounds. Unlike striper fishing, when you hook up you know exactly what your fighting, it’s like being hooked up to a ballistic missile. Can see the whole fish on every crazy jump. Water was cooled a bit from a front on Sunday. Fish were  down  and not many rollers but we managed to have a great day. Another shot coming today after sun gets a bit higher. Hopefully a trip to Flamingo tomorrow which I never thought would be accomplished except for in my wildest dreams. Sight fishing down here is the most exciting thing I’ve ever done. I really don’t want to come back,lol

Awesome, you’re now hooked!.it’s something that you never tire of, :rav:

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On 11/9/2021 at 7:10 AM, turkaholic said:

Went 2 for 5 yesterday. Biggest was about 40 pounds. Unlike striper fishing, when you hook up you know exactly what your fighting, it’s like being hooked up to a ballistic missile. Can see the whole fish on every crazy jump. Water was cooled a bit from a front on Sunday. Fish were  down  and not many rollers but we managed to have a great day. Another shot coming today after sun gets a bit higher. Hopefully a trip to Flamingo tomorrow which I never thought would be accomplished except for in my wildest dreams. Sight fishing down here is the most exciting thing I’ve ever done. I really don’t want to come back,lol

That's awesome man!  Very happy another SOL member has discovered tarpon in the Keys.  I love it down there, the whole fishing scene, to me, is magical.  I can tell you, every year on my last day as my guide and I make the run back to the marina I try to memorize every sight, sound and scent, the turtle grass flying underneath the boat, the turtles ducking down...I try to burn it all into my memory to tide me over till the next time I am down there which will be much too long a wait.

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Just my two cents on bone fishing.

Spent three mornings last week on the SUP board on Long Key flats looking for bones. I did not see a single fish. Maybe I was doing something wrong, not sure. Well, I hope next time.

 

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Bud n Marys cap Jonny Johansen.  2 nd generation keys guide. My wife and I are permit fishermen and have chased them for 30 years. We fished with Jonny’s dad for years and after he died we’ve been fishing with Jonny for 10 or more. We have hired guides for years all over and have much experience fishing , Jonny is one of the best we’ve hired and we fish with him exclusively now several trips a year. The most knowledgeable guide I’ve ever fished with and never fails to deliver. Weather fly,plugs or bait you will hook up. My biggest tarpon was 180 pounds I caught with his dad. He knows I’m done with those big brutes and now he puts me into 40 pounders when I want a tarpon. Guy fished over 300 days a year and has a huge network of other guides who share info and trips so if you need 2 or 3 boats it’s no problem. PM me I’ll get you his number if you want

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1 hour ago, Kones1 said:

Bud n Marys cap Jonny Johansen.  2 nd generation keys guide. My wife and I are permit fishermen and have chased them for 30 years. We fished with Jonny’s dad for years and after he died we’ve been fishing with Jonny for 10 or more. We have hired guides for years all over and have much experience fishing , Jonny is one of the best we’ve hired and we fish with him exclusively now several trips a year. The most knowledgeable guide I’ve ever fished with and never fails to deliver. Weather fly,plugs or bait you will hook up. My biggest tarpon was 180 pounds I caught with his dad. He knows I’m done with those big brutes and now he puts me into 40 pounders when I want a tarpon. Guy fished over 300 days a year and has a huge network of other guides who share info and trips so if you need 2 or 3 boats it’s no problem. PM me I’ll get you his number if you want

I do not know Jonny, but knew and fished with his dad Joe back in the 60’s, Joe must have passed on his dedication on the fishery and client. Back then clients were very important to keep as guides were always coming in. First permit I caught was off a bridge 1958, 2 years later bought a skiff and push pole. 60 years of pursuing them. To me they #1:rav:

Edited by RAW
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