By: Capt. Mark Krowka
The ever popular and sought after bonefish, tarpon and permit thrive on heat, and increasing water temperatures are prolonging and improving the perfect storm responsible for continuing the high level of productivity for this trilogy of trophies in the Keys. The staggering acreage of floating seaweed streaming in from the Atlantic seems infinite, but has not disrupted local fisheries. The forthcoming accounts of extraordinary catches were all courtesy of the Mirage 18 HPX.
Chris Troy from NY stealthfully drifted back a medium live crab along a churning outgoing tide rip in an Islamorada channel to watch the round head of a permit magically rise up and kiss it goodbye. The 22 pounder ripped off nearly 100 yards of 17 pound line before slowing and finally tiring. Some 10 miles away on a peaceful shoreline on the very early push of rising water, Troy fired a barred olive and green shrimp imitation on an 8 weight in front of a headwaking bump in the water to come tight to, and ultimately land his first ever tarpon on fly. As clouds closed off the visibility, he dropped a live shrimp into some misty white water near Fiesta Key to pull out a 2 pound bonefish and complete his first Slam ever!!!
Chris Troy with ihs 22# permit
Chris Troy finishes off his inaugral slam
Chris Troy’s first tarpon on fly!
Always making the most of a Keys visit, father and son Alan and Zach Routman from Fort Lauderdale tore it up during some recent clear and calm conditions. Their first day began with Alan’s accurate pitch of a quarter-sized live crab to a sneaky solitary roller in a channel near Lignum Vitae Key. The cork plunged, and a 6 foot plus, silver bucking bronco exploded skyward. The 120 pounder was chased down, fought out, and successfully released on 20 pound spinning. On the outside of Layton, Alan and Zach lasered in two live shrimp on 10 pound spin to nab a hectic double header of bones. With flooding water, the duo moved to the outside of Marathon to cast to and land a 14 pound permit by Zach, and then a Slam completing 19 pounder by Alan, both taken on small nickel-sized crabs on the same 10 pound spin.
Their second day somehow improved. Using 20 pound spin and palm-sized crabs, they put away pre-dawn tough tarpons of 40, 50 and 125 pounds, with Alan banging out 2 of the 3. Only an hour later, Alan used live shrimp from a stationary boat to land long running permits of 14 and 18 pounds. Zach cranked up a bonefish on live shrimp, and Alan carded 2 bonefish of his own and then quickly bonused with a pair of mutton snappers also on live shrimp for a rare, individual Double Super Slam!!!!
On day 3, Alan fished solo, and his hot hand continued as he began the day in the dark with two high flying tarpons of 25 and 80 pounds. He reeled up two bonefish of 3 pounds each on live shrimp, and then caught an 8 pound permit also on shrimp. With the same bait and spinning tackle, Routman squeezed the icing on the cake with a mutton, for yet another Super Slam!!!!
Alan Routman’s Permit
Ken Gustufson from Portland, Oregon used 17 pound spin and tennis ball-sized active crabs to land tarpon of 45 and 65 pounds in the early morning light from current swept channels near Shell Key. Attaching smaller crabs on the same equipment, he then took a 12 pound permit, and then a much larger ‘mitt over 20 pounds from a fertile tidal seam near Lower Matecumbe Key. Twin bonefish on shrimp and then 2 muttons gave him his very first Slam, Super Slam, and certainly Double Super Slam………… before 9 a.m.!!!!
Ken Gustofson happy with big permit