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Flats Fishing Key West in the rain

Report Date: June 20, 2003

In Key West, Florida we don?t let the rain spoil our fun, when it comes to fishing. Once again Mother Nature lets us test this controversial question. Do Fish bite better in the rain? This is the question that guides and fisherman alike have been wonder since the days of old.

As we left the dock this calm June morning we knew there was some bad Weather in the area, no electric in the air just a lot of rain. By the time we reached the first Tarpon fishing hole it was evident that the rain was on its way, since Key West yet only a couple of miles away and was no longer visible. A rainsquall had captured the island of Key West and was now heading in our direction. In efforts stay dry I suggested to my anglers, the father and son duo, that perhaps we take a fast boat ride to the east and we can avoid this first squall line. We did avoid the first rainstorm, however the next storm was now heading toward our new location. Once again racing back to our original location, I suggested that we sit tight in this spot and see if the Tarpon would show. The Tarpon did show their heads and so did the rain. Passing on the rain gear, Steve and Steven Jr. deiced if you cant beat em; you better join em?.

With my foul weather gear on I stood atop the poling platform and poled the boat down the edge of the flat into range of the rolling Tarpon. Once into position our bait of choice would be a fiddler crab and or a Pinfish. With a few minor detailed instructions we were ready for the Tarpon.

Steven J.R. Got the first bight as the Tarpon slammed his pinfish and jumped into the air in one quick motion, and then the line went slack. No Tarpon or Pinfish on this hook, however, I told them this at least means they are feeding. A few more rolls and near by activity from Mr. Tarpon we new it should not be to long before we get another successful bite. Then just as casual as could be Steve as he sat so eloquently with his crab cast out about 30yds from the boat, said ?Hey Lenny? I think I got one! Peering over toward his rod tip which was now doubled over a said stick em? (set the hook), and don?t forget to drop the rod tip down if he jumps. So the Tarpon smoked about 175 yds of line and gave a great Arial show of jumps and leaps and then the fight was on.
As we battled this Tarpon for thirty minutes we joked about how pleasant it was on the water it was not to hot and there was a warm ocean breeze. ?Hey gang?, my only complaint is that it?s raining so hard I can?t see the fishing line on this fish we?re fighting,
As the fish neared the boat and the battle came to and epic end so did the rainstorm, or so we thought. Steve had now caught his first fish of his life let alone the fact that it was a 70 lb Tarpon.

Now that Dad caught a Tarpon its time to get his son a Tarpon. Well gang I suppose we should try another spot and see if there are some happy Tarpon over there. Keep in mind we had jumped two and caught one at this first spot so the Tarpon had been more than cooperative in the rain. As we approached the next spot by motor I suggested to them on where to look for these fish (tarpon), or perhaps where they would be hanging out in this particular spot. I shut down the motor and climbed atop my poling platform one more time in the rain, I poled down the edge of the flat. Thank the lord these Tarpon have been rolling on the surface other wise we would be out of luck with our fishing today.

Look Steven J.r., Tarpon at 1:00 just a few casts away. I got a read on em? he responded back. I?m going to slide the boat down a little further and stop above the school and see if we can float a crab down into the school. As the crab slid toward the school one surfaced just behind the crab ten yards back, here we go boys! Then we heard a load slap of water like a storm door closing, that?s it he slurped up the crab, when the line comes tight, stick em? The fish was on, and so was the fight. Now you drop that rod if he goes airborne. Bow to the fish I shouted as he jumped effortlessly out of the water. With a few more great jumps and a couple of close calls with a crab trap float we pulled the hook on Steven J.r?s first Tarpon.

Taking time out to re rig I suggested that these Tarpon were still hanging in the same area. It will take me a few minutes pulling to get into position; however, I think we can get another one. With more rain on the way we laughed and wondered if the rain helped or hurt the fishing.

Now in position we are going to drift another crab back toward the school of Tarpon. After a few minutes we hooked yet another Tarpon. Steven J.r. was at the stick again with this bad boy, and with one Tarpon under his belt for the day he new just what to do. This fish was a bit larger than the preceding two pushing close to 90lb. After about 45 minutes on this fish the leader finally wore through and broke. Unfortunately this fish was rite near the boat and soon to be caught. Well, you win some and you loose some I said to Steven Jar. Who was a bit discouraged that we lost the fish? I wonder if it going to rain some more today, I muttered?

Do the fish bite better in the rain? Well as a professional flats guide for seven years and fishing all of my life I can honestly say, Yes, on this day the fish where biting better. Would they have done this if it were not raining? We don?t know but you can bet we would have been there fishing even if it was not raining. In most cases you try to avoid the rain so you never really know if the fish are biting better, or worse if you?re not out there fishing.

It might not be raining when you get here, but if you are interested in some great fishing come fishing with me in the wonderful Florida Keys. Where even a rainy day of fishing is still better than a good day at work, unless of course you?re the guide. And then it is all-good!

Lets Go Fish!
Capt. Lenny

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