Weather Still Permitting By: Capt. Mark Krowka

Tournament Tails // November 19, 2018

Weather Still Permitting

By: Capt. Mark Krowka

A couple of late October and early November very mild cold fronts did nothing to stop the ongoing productivity of shallow water fishing from Biscayne Bay to the Keys. Air temperatures did touch the mid 70’s, very briefly, but the water has, up to this writing, remained tropically warm and appealing for bonefish, permit, and small to medium tarpon. All of the following catches were recorded on the 18 Mirage HPX:

Scott Roberson and Christian Denhard from Palm Beach solidly locked up with 3 pre-dawn tarpon while silently staked out at an eventful intersection of 2 channels on a swift outgoing tide, and landed 2 acrobatic performers of 40 and 50 pounds that ingested pulsating pinfish on 17 pound test spinners. Just after dawn, Denhard picked off a 3 pound bonefish on a live shrimp, and Roberson followed up with a 5 pounder also on shrimp, 2 aggressive tailers from the Cotton Key area of banks.

PGA Hall of Famer Raymond Floyd smoothly swung a 9 weight flyrod with 12 pound tippet and a barred winged brown and tan shrimp imitation to fool 7 Grassy Key area baby tarpon into assertive biting, landing 2. As weather quickly deteriorated, and the sky filled in with cloud cover, he chipped live shrimp back into the known fairway of passing bonies to catch 4 of the zipping speedsters up to 4 pounds on 10 pound spin near the Shell Key area.

Andy Smith from Houston Texas started the morning by grabbing a 40 pound tarpon on an unfortunate wiggling pinfish on 15 pound spin in Islamorada. From a tailing school of bonefish at dawn near the Calusa Keys, Smith took out a 3 pounder on a live shrimp, then a 4 pounder from a digging and mudding congregation, both on 8 pound spinning gear. Later in the day, Andy locked horns with a violent (and soon destructive) 70 pound tarpon that sucked in a crab near Indian Key. Five minutes into the battle, the 5 foot plus energized missile began its launch 6 feet from the boat and landed rather unhappily squarely into the cockpit of our skiff. The fish was somehow controlled and ejected out of the vessel, but the damage left behind had apparently taken only seconds. When the smoke and scales had cleared, there were no injuries, but 2 light action Loomis GL3’s were shattered and destroyed, and the handle of a Stella 4000 broken. And as a parting gift, we were left with seemingly gallons of orange, nearly impossible to clean, you-know-what, all over everything, including both of us!!!

David Limroth and Bob Stephens from Virginia teamed up to fish the Soldier’s Key circuit of Biscayne Bay recently during mostly cloudy and East wind over 20 mph conditions. They strategically positioned on fertile hard rocky bottom during brisk incoming water and had 14 bonefish bites on live shrimp and 10 pound line, landing 8, up to 5 pounds.

Friends Bill Worthington and John Connor from Islamorada used hapless live pinfish before first light to land 3 wild tarpon of 30, 40 and 45 pounds on 15 pound class spin near Tea Table Key. They also took a 10 pound tough fighting surprise Cubera snapper, right among the tarpons. The pair worked a formed tideline during outgoing water with live crabs to nab a pair of permit, 14 and 18 pounders.

Bill Worthington with permit

Alan Routman from Fort Lauderdale used glimmering live pilchards on 15 pound spin to catch 6 high flying baby tarpon up to 25 pounds out of 12 bites on an oceanside ledge near Upper Matecumbe Key. He next reeled up twin 5 pound bonefish on shrimp and 10 pound spin near Lignum Vitae Key and moved to an oceanside flat outside of Channel 2 and picked off a 22 pound permit on a crab to complete his Slam!

Ed Patricoff from Miami fished the oceanside of Lower Matecumbe and found a large frightened school of migratory pilchards encircled by dozens of baby tarpon. He “matched the hatch” and flung freshly netted pilchards to land 8 silver kings up to 25 pounds out of 15 bites on 15 pound spin. Then Patricoff tacked on bonefish of 2 and 3 pounds on live shrimp and 10 pound spinning.

My wife Marcy took me out for a brief afternoon birthday trip. Almost immediately, a bonefish saw my shrimp sink, and he was landed, followed by another quickly. Then a trophy permit cruised by and stood upright on my crab and made it to a photo several minutes later. A small group of baby tarpon rolled past and competed for my shrimp, one of them inhaled and we had the Slam, all from the Craig Key area.

Capt Mark Krowka’s birthday permit

Henry Paper from Miami began at sunup with 5 small tarpon out of 8 bites, 3 on live shrimp and 10 pound spin, and 2 on small pinfish and 15 pound. He fished incoming water and good visibility on the oceanside of Windley Key to boat 2 bonefish out of a handful of small milling groups in 2 feet of water, including a 7 pounder. Paper earned his Slam by casting into a large school of flashing and finned out permit near the Channel 5 bridge. The ‘mit stayed with the rest of the bundle until it was netted and released.

Henry Paper with permit

Rick Speer from Plantation hosted his 2 sons Braden (his Birthday trip) and Tyler. Tyler was able to claim his very first bonefish on live shrimp and 10 pound line. Braden started with a tarpon on a live pilchard out of a handful of bites. He then added on a bonefish with a live shrimp, and dropped a crab perfectly in front of an incoming cruising permit. The 14 pounder was posing for a picture moments later. But the young Speer was not quite finished, he bagged an additional permit, and then a mutton snapper, all from the Long Key area, for his first Slam, and first Super Slam, for his Birthday!!!

Braden Speer & permit

Jim Holland from Vancouver Washington used vibrating and terrified pinfish to wipe out early A.M. tarpons of 50, 70 and 75 pounds on 17 pound spinning. He also enjoyed “bycatch” of 2 jack crevalles weighing 8 and 17 pounds. During 15 mph winds, Holland next took down back to back bonefish on live shrimp of 2 and 3 pounds. He drifted live crabs back into a channel weedline near Shell Key to remove permits of 20 and 24 pounds and then 3 muttons from a flat near the Peterson Keys for a Double Super Slam!!!! He followed up the very next day with a 40 pound tarpon, an 18 pound permit, a 4 pound bonefish, and a mutton for yet another Super Slam!

Raymond Floyd with fly-caught tarpon