Obtaining Special Permits
By: Capt. Mark Krowka
August consistently rates in the top 2 or 3 most productive months of the year for shallow water fishing. Boat traffic continues to pleasantly decline, schools are now in session, and lobster fever has begun to wear off. Nearly every spot is open, and most game plans can be executed without the normal seasonal clutter. It should be this time of the year all year long!!!
Father and son Bill and Wills Curley from PA started the morning righteously with back to back twin somersaulting 40 pound tarpons that blew away palm-sized live pinfish drifted on 17 pound line back into the dangerous darkness of Lignum Vitae channel. Just one hour later, Bill’s medium-sized pass crab was munched by a giant permit in an area with eventful bottom features. Unfortunately, the 40 pound monster also intimately knew the “bottomagraphy” and played connect the dots with the attached mono, ultimately rubbing it off on a sharp projectile. The next bite at the same spot stayed clear of the forest of growth and coral, and Bill was able to land his 22 pounder in about 10 minutes. Wills then took a sprinting 4 pound bonefish in the high noon heat, a single mudder that pinned down a live shrimp on 8 pound spinning.
Bill Curley all smiles with his permit!
Christian Denhard and Scott Roberson from Rybovich Yachts in Palm Beach, also got going early with a mammoth 130 pound poon, ending the life of Denhard’s pinfish and launching skyward in the moonlight. Roberson followed up shortly with a 45 pounder that also dusted a wiggly pin under a cork. Both catches were made on 17 pound spin tackle. After first light, the pair sought out some of the local patrolling schools of baby tarpon that have been blasting shrimp out of the ample mats of floating weed on the high water of the Oceanside near Lower Matecumbe. They combined for 5 more silver kings out of 8 bites on “V-waked” live shrimp and 10 pound spin, including the pictured wild and active double header!
L-Christian Denhard R-Scott Roberson with baby tarpon double
Derreck Dibiase from Franklin, MA and Taylor Cogliano from Bellingham, MA , combined for 4 bonefish up to 4 pounds on live shrimp near the Buchanan Keys and then added on a 50 pound bucking tarpon that destroyed a pinfish supended 5 feet under the cork near Bowlegs Cut. The second day was a break out performance for Derreck. He began with a 45 pound tarpon on the terrified pinfish and quickly changed to a live crab to pick off a 20 pound plus permit, both taken on 20 pound spin and 60 pound fluorocarbon leaders. He added a bonefish on live shrimp from a flat near Upper Matecumbe, and then found his mutton, also on live shrimp, near the Ashby Keys for his first ever Super Slam! Dibiase and Cogliano combined on day three for 7 mean & thrashing lemons in 3 feet of water on the 20 pound spinners, up to 130 pounds. Then they stumbled onto an acre of rolling tarpon in a 10 foot deep basin and pitched live pinfish to have 8 spectacular eats, and land 3 of 30, 45 and 55 pounds.
Dereck Dibiase gets his permit early!
Another father and son team, John and Alex Smith from White Haven, PA cranked up twin 12 pound pulsating crevalles on live pinnies in the predawn darkness and then 15 years young Alex took his first tarpon, a 50 pounder on the same pinfish using 15 pound spin. Just after sun up, Alex nailed a schoolie permit on a nickel-sized live crab from a group of 20 finned out silvery discs in the flat calm water for his first ‘mitt. On the Oceanside near Windley Key, the lead bonefish from a pair stood up on his live shrimp to complete the Slam. Only one mile away, a mutton snapper drilled the next unfortunate shrimp to finish out his first Super Slam. Alex’s first of all of these four species, on his first visit to the Keys !!!!
Alex on his way to a Super Slam
Alan Routman from Fort Lauderdale, continues his productivity in the Keys. He quickly bagged an early a.m. 55 pound tarpon on a pinfish and 15 pound spin, then a 50 pounder on a live crab. He then whipped a 30 pound class permit on crab at the beginning of outgoing water, fit in 2 bonefish and a mutton all on live shrimp as the falling tide accelerated, and then cast a quarter-sized crab in front of a single cruiser in the Long Key area to watch the dramatic inhaling bite in the calm water and land a 45 pound tarpon on 10 pound spin for a Super Slam!
Permit whisperer, Alan Routman
Mavericks with a Maverick:
Routman has now taken over 50 Grand Slams. Alan owns 2 significant records on my past Mavericks. He has the earliest Grand Slam at a remarkable 7:03a.m., and also has the earliest Super Slam at an incredible 7:45a.m.. He has landed many more permit (not to mention tarpon and bones) of all sizes than most recreational anglers. His son Zach has also tallied up numerous Grand Slams and is a professional guide currently working Fort Lauderdale and Biscayne Bay from a Maverick,