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Key West Flats FIshing Angler Catches Grand Slam

Report Date: June 28, 2004

Well it?s the end of June an about this time every year I start thinking about those rascally Bonefish. I had a few full day charters over the last week and the tides looked good so I decided to take the chance to go look for them Bones.

As we Idled out the marina I explained to my customer that we had a 40 minute run to where we where fishing. Favorable wind and tide might have made it easier or at least a shorter trip; however, this was not the case on today?s boat ride.

Somewhere east of Key West I pulled the boat off plain, grabbed my push poled and climbed a top my perch. Bob now situated with a fiddler crab and puff jig was ready for action. The first wave off Permit came flooding by the boat. To quick to get a cast off, as the light was still low and we had not seen them until they were to close to us.

So I pulled up toward a nice sand spot and staked off the boat. Having an idea that this could be the spot for all of these Bonefish and Permit when they leave the flat, we anxiously waited. The next school of Permit we where ready for, as Bob made a precise 40 ft. cast with the fiddler crab, and hooked up instantly. When the crab landed ahead of a school of 15 Permit one dude had his eyes honed in on the crab. SO it was off to the races, or as we say???Fish On!

Bob leads off with a Permit....(grand slam?)

The Permit smoked about 150 yard of line off the real. I got to admit that I don?t think I?ve ever seen a faster run out of any fish in my life. I thought he was going to spool us off 200yards of mono. So after excellent fighting skills and a tiring fish we boated this Permit of about 25 pounds. Great fish, Bob.

Still waiting for our Bonefish I decided to throw some shrimp chum in the water just to see if they?re where any Bones around that I was not seeing. Bob, a school or Permit 10 o?clock 70 ft and closing. With that another great cast and a fish was on. However, the fish pulled about twenty yard of line and we lost him. Guess he line broke. I assume that the line was tail cut by another fish in that school of a dozen or so Permit. Still no Bonefish??.

Now busy re rigging Bob said hey Lenny, I think we got a few Bonefish here in front off the boat. No doubt, there was about twenty Bonefish and I said get the shrimp jig to em?. So a flailing cast into the school of Bones and a hook up rite away.

Bob then catches a fantastic Bonefish

Lighting strikes and that bonefish was off and running, I tell you I still get a kick out of those damn little fish when I see em? smoke across the flat. So narrowly avoiding a Black tip Shark eating our Bonefish we boated one that went about 5 pounds. Nice Bonefish?..

Well now its about eleven a.m. and we are faced with a dilemma. Do we go for the Grand Slam or do we stay and catch another Permit or another Bonefish. Bob, this choice is up to you as I presented him with that question. Well Lenny in most cases I would opted for more fish but if you say the tides seem good for a quick Tarpon shot maybe we can get this slam thing done. Keep in mind that Bob has many years of fishing on the Flats and at least 5 years of this with me as his guide, and never once had we tried to catch a grand slam. Two Permit if still better than a slam as well it would be sinful to try a Hail Mary long end zone pass every foot ball game.

So I cranked up the out board and we rode off to the Tarpon spot. Now very far west of Key West I cut the out board and staked along the edge of a know Tarpon creek. Bob now armed with a crabbed heaved it across the channel where we would drift it back into the current. No fish to be seen. Then suddenly the line went tight and Bob yelled fish on. Holly Shit???This Tarpon cleared the water by about 6 feet with a monstrous jump. Bow, to that Tarpon I screamed.

Bob Reed lands Tarpon for a Grand Slam!

White water everywhere now we where off and chasing what would be our 80lb Tarpon to fishing off the slam. So Bob well educated in Tarpon fishing put the heat on this fish. Perhaps way more pressure on the fish than needed. There are now awards for trying to over power a Tarpon, beat the fish quick yes. But too much pressure and you can bust off the line quick. But after two more jumps we boated this fish in a mere twenty minutes.

So how was the Bonefishing on this day? Great as far as we where concerned. We only needed one. That goes for those Permit and Tarpon also. You know we never did see a Tarpon roll that day, not even the whole time Bob was fighting his fish.

Hats off to you Bob and your ?Grand Slam?.
You can run but you can?t hide Mr. Fish.

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Capt. Lenny Leonard
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Email: heylenny@bellsouth.net

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