Key West Inshore Report August 2010

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Last Thursday afternoon I called Captain Marlin Scott to go flats fishing with me on Friday.  In particular I wanted to take him bonefishing.  I got his voicemail and left him a message telling him we have perfect weather and the fishing is incredible right now.  A couple hours later I got the return call and he was in!!! We met after the radio show Friday morning at 11:00 am and headed out.  While underway I explained to Marlin how good the bonefishing had been and that the flat I fished the previous day at the beginning of the incoming tide was loaded with fish.  In about two hours that day we had 15 schools of bonefish consisting of 20 - 40 fish each.  And these were quality bonefish around six pounds.
Bonefish
Huge numbers of Bonefish have Invaded the Flats
I took Capt Marlin to that same flat I was the day before.  The tide was just starting to come in when we arrived at our destination.  Just as I got the boat onto the flat and jumped on the platform there was a school of small permit coming toward us.  Just as I saw them they turned away and at the same time I saw our first school of bonefish moving toward us.  It literally took all of thirty seconds when Capt Marlin was hooked up with his first of two bonefish for the day.  A couple of pictures and off goes the Bonefish.  I quickly grab another shrimp from the livewell and pin it to the jig as another school of bonefish is on it's way up the flat.   Made a quick cast and they spook.  It was very calm and clear so the fish were a little tentative.  About 15 minutes and a couple more schools of bonefish go by and we have the second bonefish in the boat for an opportunity to be famous!!
Bonefish
Part I of the Flats Trilogy
We continued down the flat spotting another school of small permit.  I chased down the school for several minutes only to watch them take off when we finally got a shot.  It was starting to slow down a bit with more time in between sightings and fewer sharks and rays.  I spotted a single permit coming up the flat.  The fish turned away but not spooked.   Capt Marlin heaved a cast and the crab landed a few feet in front of the permit.  The fish grabbed the crab without hesitation and screamed toward the channel when Capt Marlin set the hook.  About 10 minutes later I have Capt Marlin's permit in my hands boat side for a photo opportunity.
Permit
Part II of the Flats Trilogy
Now both of us are very excited.  Two bonefish and a permit in less than an hour on a couple hundred feet of a flat.  A good day on the flats any day of the week.  I look to Capt Scott, "Shall we go look for a tarpon to complete the slam?" A rhetorical question, of course were going to look for a tarpon, we have the rest of the afternoon and a story to complete!!! We fished a couple of areas and found a few tarpon.  Clear, calm water made the fish very wary and spooked with each cast. The last spot of the day was a channel edge and the water had a little color to it.  As we worked the edge of the flat we saw a couple of tarpon but a little too close to the boat.   The third fish that came up the edge we saw from a good distance and Capt Marlin perfectly placed a cast in front of the fish and we watched the big tarpon inhaled the crab.  Capt Scott set the hooked hard and then all hell broke loose. Amazingly the fish stayed on after the initial run and three jumps.  Phase one  complete, now it is just a matter of time and some luck.  I chased the fish around with the boat for about twenty minutes when we finally got close enough for Capt Marlin to get the leader into the guides and I got the leader touch.  Caught fish!!!  Grand slam baby!!!!
Tarpon
Part III of the Flats Trilogy
We crank down the drag and palmed the spool to get the fish in as quickly as possible or break it off.  The water is very hot at this point and I don't want to kill a tarpon from a long fight.  Another ten minutes goes by,  line staying intact and the big poon is boat side.  Slam complete!!! There will be plenty of great fishing and good weather all through summer. Now is the time to make your plans for a chance at a Flats Grand Slam. Captain Mike Bartlett


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