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Norfolk Pines and Frigatebirds - a Keys TR

Started by TheYiman, July 01, 2014, 16:16:22 PM

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TheYiman

July 01, 2014, 16:16:22 PM Last Edit: July 01, 2014, 22:55:46 PM by TheYiman
Quote from: Woolly Bugger on February 21, 2014, 10:57:18 AM

As Mexico Returns says, "It's best if you're married, so you're used to being denied."

Yep, Woolly, this was an apt statement.

As y'all know from my previous post looking for info, I headed to Marathon last week with my family for a much needed vacation.  This was primarily a family trip with some fishing squeezed in.  As many of you can attest to and JFey also just spoke of in his recent salt report, this can be a difficult thing to accomplish, but I got in some casting everyday and managed not to piss anyone off in doing so.

I was game to fish for anything by just about any means.  As many of you are, I am mainly a fly angler but in unfamiliar environment sometimes it takes resorting to bait to get the job done.  This turned out to be the case this time.

On the way down, I stopped to try for some baby Tarpon in some brackish Everglades ponds.  I found no Tarpon, but did find some Spotted Gar and Mayan Cichlids.  My wife was pretty patient as we were only a few hours from Marathon after driving a day and half.  After about an hour I got the que it was time to move on.  I never got a Gar to hand but they were fun to tangle with and were pretty interested in many offerings.

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Day 2 - I paid to play with a local guide named Rich Smith.  We had a great day, but unfortunately the Tarpon were being very picky and very spooky.  However, I cannot complain.  I had countless shots on big migrating Tarpon all day.  I had one big boy eat just off the stern, but the hook did not catch when I strip-set.  Heartbreaker!  It was quite a sight to see that fish eat about 3 feet from the engine.  I know it sounds odd to have one eat there, but the fish snuck up behind us and was there before Rich could spin the boat, so I fired anyways.  I learned a lot on.  I think I developing an addiction to a new species.  On a previous trip to KW, I went 3 for 6 on Tarpon to the boat.  That was my first ever outing for them.  I now realize what a ridiculous day that was.

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I took what I learned from my day with Rich and applied it the rest of the trip.  I fished the flats on the Atlantic side almost everyday.  I encountered different conditions than I was used to.  I realize why cloudy days suck on the flats = tough to see fish.  First light is very difficult = water surface might as well be a mirror.  And tides? Well, I think you've got to live there for awhile to figure those out.

This storm drove me off the the flats one afternoon.  A small water spout tried to get going and I decided it was time for the dock.

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We spent one day doing the tourist thing in Key West.  I had never toured Truman's Little White House before.  It was really interesting and I was glad we checked it out, cool history in a really cool vintage mansion.  We also saw this guy put on his famous show.  This was the fourth time I've seen him.  I think he gets crazier and crazier every time.

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After all the struggling for Tarpon, my brother and dad really wanted to go out and just catch some fish.  I switched gears, bought some squid, and fished the bottom.  We had a stellar day catching tons of new species in about 25' to 40' of water.

White Grunt
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My brother can be an odd bird.  He wanted to go fishing yet refuses to hold live fish.  Oh well, you gotta take family as they come and I love him anyways.  One of his catches that I had to release.

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Clown Wrasse - the highlight of my day.  I only caught one, but boy was it cool looking!

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Jolthead Porgy (?) - I think

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Doctorfish - watch out for the fin - it will slice you open!

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We did a lot of snorkeling at various reefs.  We hit up Sombrero twice because the wildlife was so good there.  I won't go into a long diatribe of all the species we saw while in the Keys, but I will write a short highlight list - 3' to 4' Houndfish in a big school, Nurse Shark, some BIG unknown shark chasing 2 Tarpon across the flat, a buck Key Deer with female friend, and many, many more cool sightings.  The wildlife was good to us this year.

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The last day on the way back from snorkeling, I asked my family if they minded if we post up on a flat and look for Tarpon one last time.  They were cool with it.  As we pulled up, I declared that I just wanted one more good shot.  After about twenty minutes, my dad who was spotting on the bow said, "I've got a good one - 60 feet, 2 o'clock!"  Man, he learns quick.  I raced up to the bow, laid nice cast out to lead the fish, got an interested look, and the fish turned off, with that my fishing for the trip was over.  I wasn't going to subject my family to sitting out in the hot sun any longer.  I had asked for one more good shot and I got it.  This pic sums up my wife and I on the flats.

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As we returned our rental boat, a decent Tarpon rolled right off the dock.  Instead of casting, I started shooting.  I got this shot, pretty neat.

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Till next time, Keys, cheers!  I'm already planning a return.  Even though it wasn't all fly and there was some bait, I hope y'all enjoyed my report.

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Big J

There have been more Saltwater Reports from this weekend than Trout Reports.   V:;

Good pics Yiman. 


Jfey

That was fun and completely derailed my last hour of work.

I am also jonesing to go back to the beach...   

Yup, going fishing

RiverbumCO

These salt reports keep getting better.  Badass Yi.

My real name is Chad Farthouse.

flatlander

July 01, 2014, 19:43:53 PM #4 Last Edit: July 02, 2014, 07:17:34 AM by Flatlander

I'm digging all the salty reports.  Keep em coming fellas.


Dougfish


Michael Toris


TheYiman

Thanks y'all.  Figured you didn't mind a little bottom time, this being the low-rent district and all.

One more insult from the trip - on the way home we stopped by Robbie's to partake in the hand-feeding frenzy that occurs there every day.  It was quite entertaining for about 10 minutes.

Please throw that one to me...
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