Biscayne nights (monster snook, small tarpon) 15 September
Capt. Bob LeMay
September 15, 2012
Biscayne Bay - Saltwater Fishing Report
Last night was one for the books. I met my anglers Neil Franklin and Michael Jameson at the dock on Miami Beach at 8Pm and we set out to fly fish nearby bridges, docklights, and other possibilites. With the high tide inside just after 9pm that night we had to hunt a bit before finding much in the way of fish and it looked like we were in for a slow night with lots of searching to find any hungry fish. Michael was looking for variety and maybe a tarpon or snook. Neil, a very experienced tarpon angler was lookng for his first one on fly. After more that six different spots and two bridges with little if any signs of fish we began to concentrate on docklights. That was the best decision, as it soon proved... With Michael using his 10wt we began to find a few very nice snook working one of several lights and just trapping small bait in the lights. At first all we had was an occasional follow with no strikes so I took a chance and re-rigged him with a lighter leader (a Poor Boy rig, with the tippet end four feet of straight 20lb fluoro and no shock tippet at all). We were gambling that the lighter leader might be all that was needed (if we were lucky we might land one or two small fish - bigger fish would just shred that leader...). As we poled just outside a dockline (I think quietly poling a skiff, day or night is hard to beat when hunting spooky fish...) Mike made a long cast and was rewarded with a good fish that followed in the light a short distance then took the fly. Since I was busy poling I never saw the fish until it was hooked and it stayed deep most of the fight. It was quite a battle, the fish made a half dozen strong runs and repeatedly tried to get back to the all the pilings. Michael did everything right and the fish stayed connected. After almost fifteen minutes the fish was leadered then I grabbed it's lower jaw, holding on for all I was worth. I never guessed just how big that fish was until I grabbed it. Once it settled down a bit I used a Boga Grip to make sure we had the fish securely and could handle it safely.... Here are a few pics of that fish....
this big girl was nearly 44" long and at least 12" from her back down to her belly at the widest point.
We didn't make any attempt to weigh her, wanting to have her back in the water as quickly as possible. I estimated this fish at nearly 30lbs (my own personal best on fly was 22lbs weighed, this was a lot bigger...)
We slowly towed her for several minutes to make sure she was in good shape before the release...
This fish of a lifetime, on the lightest of leaders with no shock tippet, was just an outstanding catch on a Sage 10wt rod. Michael will have a hard time doing any better. Unlike most really big snook that you find near ocean inlets or hanging out under bridges in strong currents... this big girl was in a very quiet backwater hanging out in the light by a small dock in a really nice neighborhood....
Later that night it was Neil's turn and he finally got his first tarpon on fly in the shadows under a bridge. Just like Michael's fish we got to see the fish strike. Here's a few pics...
This nice small tarpon was taken with an 8wt rod, note the really good fighting position in the first two pics. Tarpon are beaten a lot quicker if you keep your rod position as low as possible. This 20lb fish was the perfect size for that first tarpon on fly (and just the right size for an 8wt rod..).
Both great fish last night were taken on the same small pattern that we use most nights. Here's a pic....
Tied up on a strong 1/0 or 2/0 hook the Night Fly has been my standard night pattern for more than thirty years now....
Between day trips to the Everglades out of Flamingo or Everglades City and night trips in Biscayne Bay every day (or night) is just getting better and better as we move toward that first real temperature break in late October. Our fishing now is as good as you'll find anywhere in the world....
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