Around first light this morning, John hooked a steam train of a tarpon on a live crab. I reckon the fish jumped six feet out of the air within seconds of being hooked - every single time I see these fish I am reminded of just how seriously awesome they are. The silver king kicks you hard from time to time, but to see one close to the boat is something you can never forget. Rodney managed to grab the leader and I was just about to rattle off a few frames when the line broke and the huge fish powered away. It counts as a caught fish over here, but I didn't get the photos I was after. But I got a very cool wide shot of John playing his fish, with the tarpon jumping clear of the water as the sun was rising - see above. Rodney put the tarpon at around 150lbs, so it was a proper fish. John played it perfectly. What a result after yesterday's kicking.
I got a couple of half-takes, when the fish hits the crab yet the line does not tighten up enough to go for a proper strike. I did hit one of the bites just as the tarpon let go of the bait, but the moment I did so I realised my mistake.
And then we went after some permit again - and I broke my duck. Once again we lost a few good fish to sharks and breakages, and I was heartbroken when my 50lb braid suddenly broke right on the tip ring as a nice permit snorted off. Stupid of me really, I should have checked the rings before fishing, as after the breakage I found a damaged tip eye that had caused the line to snap.
But take a look at Rodney holding my first ever permit below. Over 20lbs of prime Keys permit, taken on a freelined live crab fished behind the boat. This fish ripped off so fast a couple of times during the fight, to the point where I reckon smoke had to be coming from the reel !! Their pace is off the scale - how does this fish move so fast and so powerfully ? I can quite see why some fly fishermen dedicate their lives to nailing these spooky fish on the flats. Permit are such pretty fish and it happened so fast today that I am not really sure I took it all in. Guess I'll have to try and catch a few more.
There were a couple of sharks landed today as well, including a nice blacktip of around 60lbs that put on a serious turn of speed when it picked up the bait. These blacktips create mayhem close to the boat, but both were successfully unhooked and released. We also saw some proper barracuda around the boat at one point, but they refused the livebaits.
I hear the weather has been nice and warm back home, so hopefully this might do some good on the bass fishing front. I am having a blast out here, but I can't wait to get back and see my family, plus head out plugging of course. I need to go and use that new Tenryu rod of mine again. I have found a couple of really interesting looking lures out here that I reckon might do nicely for bass, so yet again I have added to my collection.