Welcome to Eye of the Guide

Part Fourty-nine


Biscayne Bay Report - July 26, 1999

By Capt. Dave Sutton


Permit ... Permit ... Permit. Need I say more about the targeted species this month. Top of all the flats anglers lists will be the infamous Permit. He`s the stuff that many a fishing story will be told come this fall.

While trading stories and photo`s at the famous Ocean Reef Club`s "Grand Slam Outfitters" one of my fellow guides and I only talked about Permit. We have been fishing the "Stiltsville" flats, they have been producing at least two, and sometimes three shots a day at nice Permit in the upper twenties and into the thirties.

Fishing from the stilts down to the tip of The Ragged Key`s has been my first choice. Switching off, as not to pressure any one area too much, we will fish the outside of Elliot Key one day, do the inside of Key Largo another. Sometimes I`ll run all the way down to Garden Cove on Key Largo.

This is also a great area for the wily permit. This area has been very active on the edges of the flat in two to four feet of water on a moving tide.
The preferred meals of the Permit have been, of course, the trusty crab, and a close second, a live lined, live shrimp. Spinning for a mid-thirty pound Permit is quite a challenging adventure when he heads for Bimini and does a figure eight around every sea fan in the way. Not to mention the light line needed to entice a strike from one of these game fish making it that much more interesting.

The morning`s are always spent looking for Mr. Bonefish, even in the summer.The first few hours are always spent looking for these guy`s. All the normal haunts of fall are active during the summer.

Flats that have deeper water close are favored, to provide a retreat and a dip in cooler water. Most of the really big bonefish are gone or unapproachable this time of year. They don`t like the water temperatures or the calm mornings of the summer. There are plenty of average bones that keep our interest though. Of course our average bone here is a trophy bone everywhere else.

Let me talk about the gear for catching bonefish. First, light line ... 6lb. test, and re-spool often. I have been using this new P-Line. This line is coated with fluorocarbon, and has no memory at all.

Second, long, accurate casting, which means a long rod ..6 to 7 feet in length with a medium action. I find a G.Loomis model SJR 842, 7` GL3 medium action just right. I can cast a # 6 hook imbedded in a shrimp at least 40 feet. Third, a reel with a smooth drag system. Here is another place to not hold back with the cash. A Shimano Aero Stratic, or at least a Spirex, or a reel of that caliber is a must.

A good knot holding is the next thing you must have. Have you ever lost a fish, brought in your line and found that curly-cue on the end? That`s a knot that didn`t hold. The knots I use most are a improved cinch on all my direct ties, and a surgeon`s loop when I want more action from my baits.

A shrimp-tipped bucktail jig in 1/8th oz. is a good bet for bones or permit. Ron Sprague from Tampa, with his nice bonefish will attest to that. Next month I`ll have a big permit shot for yawl, OK?

Well, tight lines and quick releases ...... see you next month. Capt. Dave Sutton Sent email comments to me, Capt. Dave.


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