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A Key West sunset viewed from Mallory square is not the only thing worth catching at night in Key West.

Report Date: April 24, 2003


A Key West sunset viewed from Mallory square is not the only thing worth catching at night in Key West. Long time friends and customer of mine: Mike, Dana, Grant, and Doug decided to pay their dues and head out for some of Key West?s great night time Tarpon fishing. After being blown out by 10:00 a.m. due to 25-knot wind on this morning we decided to head for the dock and gets some breakfast, and try a go at the Tarpon fishing at night.

The Weather was good to us on this particular evening after blowing all day with peak wind at 30mph, mother nature could blow no more. The wind had now subsided to less than 5 knots. With a gentlemen?s bet at a dollar a pound per Tarpon we rendezvoused from the dock at 5:30 p.m. in two separate flat skiffs. Two anglers per boat is a typical load for a small flats skiff.

Now heading due west of Key West into the glare of the now falling orange fireball in the sky, one guide went one way and I went another. The plan was to check the spots and find the fish and collectively this would prove more successful than both boats being in the same spot. This was the suggested plan, to let the other boat know if there were lots of fish in a spot and then we would fish together, both boats in the spot that yielded the most fish. Remember this was the suggested plan!

The sun now setting on the horizon we anxiously watched for Tarpon, with a few rolls here and there, yet no bites. After Mike and Doug had checked in with the other group we had heard that they found a few fish but much to there surprise there where no takers, of the live crabs, and pinfish that we were all using as bait.

Having a sneaking suspicion that the other boat was not telling the truth and had been seeing more Tarpon than spoken of, I decided to approach there spot from the west of them. As I pulled the boat within a two hundred yards of them the water off there bow erupted.

Fish on, I heard shouted.


The sun was now set, and the horizon was back lit with orange as we anxiously watched from a far as the other boat battled what would later prove to be Grant Morris?s first Tarpon. This was a large Tarpon at an estimated weight of 160 pounds.

While Grant battled his Tarpon we polled the boat into position, and staked off on the edge of the flat, watching for rolling Tarpon in the deeper water in front of us.
Not a Tarpon in site, we sat in amazement as the other boat released there now caught Tarpon.

We eagerly watched the water in front of us, as did the other boat, which was now located about seventy-five yards from us. Time passed by as we laughed about our prior days fishing stories.

Fish on, we once again heard shouted from the other boat!

The calm water has now erupted as there hooked Tarpon Jumped twice in about thirty seven seconds. As soon as the fish jumped a second time the hook pulled, and they were left with no fish.

As we sat in disbelief, we talked about the luck of the other boat, which has now hooked two fish, and the fact that we owed Grant about $150, for his caught Tarpon.

No, worries we will get our shot a Tarpon.

The clock now reaching half past nine, I felt we needed some drastic change.
Switching now from live pinfish bait to live fiddler crab, I felt this might be the change needed. Even though both fish the other oat hooked where hooked on live baitfish.

Finally after several cast with the live crab, we got a bite.

The water erupted and the large Tarpon leaped about three feet above the water and crashed back in to the dark blue water of the ocean. However as this fish landed it had some how spit the hook?

Gone! No fish here, I shouted toward the eager anglers on the other boat.

With our spotlight at hand we scanned the water for rolling Tarpon, which were
Now actively feeding around our boat and not the other, we had great hopes at catching a large Tarpon, to tie the bet.

After another half hour and no fish the clock now ticks toward 10:00 o?clock, we considered heading to the barn.

A few more cast?s and we will go in.

No bites from the other boat. However they had won the pool with on Tarpon to the boat.

One last cast, and well head to the barn.

Fish on, I shouted as Doug grabbed the rod.

Mass explosion erupted the water as this Tarpon now streaked into the dark abyss in front of us.

Wahoo, now we got to get this fish to the boat!

So about and hour and fifteen minutes later and one beat up cigar I grabbed the leader of Doug Christopher Hundred sixty-one pound Tarpon. And let the Tarpon swim away.

Okay boys that are tie ball game, now we can go in.

As we arrived at the dock next to the other boat we laughed and said there was no way we were going in until we got one to the boat. No way were we going to give up that easy?

We were not paying you all anyways we never saw you hook a fish Doug, and Mike told the other boat, as we a laughed about the evening adventure.

Tarpon fishing a night can be a great way to hook a lot of Tarpon. When the tarpon jump out of the water we shine the spot light on them so you see the sliver king in all his might shimmering above the water.

Special thanks to Dad and the other members of the Crevailey crew, thanks again for another great fishing adventure.

Come check out the hot night Tarpon fishing in Key West.

As always,
Catch em? up

Captain Lenny



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