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Fishing Key West or Fishing Alaska

Report Date: January 22, 2006

As we loaded our gear onto the boat to go fishing, I could not help but be a bit worried about how or in this case what we would do for protection from the prevailing 30 knots of wind. Flat fishing or in this much wind any type of fishing can be difficult. The water becomes rough or very churned up making spotting fish on the flats even more challenging. The wind also poses a day of much difficulty for me as the guide who is supposed to pole the boat across the flat. However, in this case I would compare it more to a downhill skiers slalom run. I would be using the push pole to make fast quick adjustment to the boat direction with out being blown or jolted of the poling platform, which stand towering over the ocean and the deck of the flats boat. All the while I try not to run across the fish in my path as we sail down the flat at four knots or so. To say this very generously, the weatherman had given my two anglers a run for there money.

Dave smile as he holds up his Great Barracuda

But as I soon learned how could 70 degrees and 30 knots of wind put a damper on a couple of guy from Denali National park, Alaska. Lenny, this is a beautiful day in Alaska, Dave stated. How right they are, and more importantly on this days we where to find some fish. I was not going to let what we call bad winter wind dampen Dave and fishing partner Rick?s good time. So we headed off to a near by flat as I explained the routine of the Barracuda fishing, the entire thing you should do and or not do.

On the first cast

Rick with his Barracuda, like a trout only different.

Rick hooked a big Barracuda and in typical Barracuda fashion he bit the tube lure off. You can do all the right thing some time and even then the fish wins. You see when a Barracuda decided he is going to attack a bait, he does this with an astonishing speed that he often passes up the head of the bait and by the time his toothy jaws close he is biting down on the top part of the leader.

When we fish Barracuda on the flats we retrieve the artificial bait or ?tube lure? as fast as you can. The faster you retrieve the faster the Barracuda charges and if at some point you stop your retrieve the Barracuda will stop and once he stops the pursuit and see the bait is not real he turns off. There is clearly no way to prevent a few tube lure cut off?s when Barracuda fishing.

So we kept casting and searching for the great Barracuda. As the sun rose higher we found a few more fish. I think we even managed to catch a few of those awesome Barracudas. The wind was tough and the flat where not crystal clear, yet there was just enough visibility and bright sun shinning that we could pull off fishing. To me the best way to describe a Barracuda on the flat as a sport fish would be spectacular. They make blistering runs and fast charges as the boat, jumping in a radical fashion almost like a Tarpon. In fact it was Barracuda fishing as a child that made me want to be a flats fishing guide. A world away from the trout fishing in Alaska and certainly on this day as Rick stated we where about 70 degrees warmer, we made a day of it. I think the biggest Cuda was 48 inches and the smallest well lets jut say, who caught the biggest fish?

What a great day I had fishing with these guys from Alaska. In a great many cases with wind like this I might have cancelled the charter, however in typical great north woods fashion we trudged on through the elements and made it into a heck of a great day of fishing.

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Capt. Lenny Leonard
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