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Old 07-13-2010, 10:12 PM   #1
Ruby Red Lip
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 44
Default Key West Tarpon

A while back I learned that I was assigned to work in KW for a month. I posted on the forum for advice on fishing down there. I'm back and I am happy to say that I scored my 1st through 5th tarpon on one 4 hour trip while I was down there. I also had multiple opportunities to land my first ever permit, some that looked to be in the 20 pound class, but none would take the live crabs I offered as a snack. Disappointing, but I'm still on a high over the tarpon.

Let me say that I pretty much suck at freelining. At least the way they practice it down there. We were anchored up in Boca Chica pass on a strong outgoing tide. We used 3 to 4 inch DEAD pin fish, usually cut at least in half, others in smaller piecies. the rig constituted of a hook on about 8 feet of flouro, followed by a double line and then 20 lb braid. We would throw a hooked piece of pinfish in along with 5/10 pieces of cut pin fish and let it flow in the current.

This is where it gets interesting. I've freelined up here before and my method always included me having my thumb lightly on the spool to keep it from birdnesting. Down there any time I tried to do that my cantankerous but very experienced guide would say "DON'T TOUCH IT! DON'T TOUCH IT! All I could think about were birdsnests, which, in fact, I got plenty of. All he would do was grumble..... . I asked him how I was supposed to know if I got a hit and he said the line would start going out faster. Well it was going out pretty freakin fast anyway......

But after several misses (I went 5 for 13), I started to get the hang of it. We never weighed any of the fish, releasing them without ever bringing one inside the boat, but the guide gave me weights - I got a couple of 40 pounders (or there abouts), a 50 pounder, a 60 pounder, the biggie was a 90 pound class fish. I lost one to a broke hook, one to a bent hook, and jumped all the rest of the lost fish and generally lost them on the jump. The ones I managed to get closer in, I could tell when they were going to jump and was able to react correctly. But the ones that were far off, well..... I think some were at least 50 yards or more away and I couldn't tell when they were about to jump and was not prepared when they did.

But I can tell you that Boca Chica pass in June on an outgoing tide is a right happening place. We were by ourselves for a while, but then there were other boats out there. On boat had three guys on it and I saw at one point where all three were hooked up at the same time. Anyways if I can figure out how to post some pics, here they are:
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Key West Tarpon-2nd-one-key-west100613_046-jpg   Key West Tarpon-first-one-key-west100613_041-jpg   Key West Tarpon-bent-hook-key-west100613_047-jpg   Key West Tarpon-tarponmeister-jpg   Key West Tarpon-tarpon-1-key-west100613_052-jpg  

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Old 07-13-2010, 10:15 PM   #2
Neptune calls me "Daddy"
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GREAT post! What was the Captain's name? let's give him due credit and make it available next time somebody asks.

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Old 07-13-2010, 11:40 PM   #3
Ruby Red Lip
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That's freakin awesome, and in only four hours!
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Old 07-14-2010, 07:41 AM   #4
Ruby Red Lip
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Jim T - his name is Capt. Jack Kelly and he runs a SeeVee called Windy Days. He works out of Garrison Bight Marina on (Charter Boat Row). He has been in the business for over 30 years.
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Old 07-14-2010, 04:53 PM   #5
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Great report and pics
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Old 07-15-2010, 11:34 AM   #6
Ruby Red Lip
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Good report and what a tough job having to work out of KW Throw me in that briar patch.
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Old 08-26-2010, 03:54 PM   #7
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good luck posting a pic on this new crap
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