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Skinny Water Stories Thread, Old report from Stuart/The Keys/St. Augustine in TribeNwater Fishing Stories; Well, here is my long lost report. After many trials, tribulations(SP) and blisters... I'm back. As some of you know ...
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Old 01-20-2007, 07:19 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Old report from Stuart/The Keys/St. Augustine

Well, here is my long lost report. After many trials, tribulations(SP) and blisters... I'm back.

As some of you know I left for my little brother's wedding a couple of Mondays ago. Well, he didn't know I was coming so I had to lay low somewhere. Why not at my best friend's house in Port St. Lucie... He has a flats boat(*****in' Beaver Tail from MN) and a day or two off, so why not fish while I'm there??

After drinking ourselves stupid Wed night, we set out only slightly sober at 5:30 Thur morning. A quick run to the flat north of the Jensen Beach Causway produced this legal flounder on a typical rootbeer Cotee jig...



The target for the day was Tripletail so we switched gears and went a hunting for crabs...

Now, in San Diego, I can find crabs on just about any street corner from Point Loma to Bario Logan, but in Stuart, at high noon, we couldn't buy a crab to save our lives, so we had to catch them ourselves. An hour's scramble in the shallow water at Ft. Pierce inlet gave us all the crabs we needed.

Luckily for my sorry hung over ***; Kevin's buddy Joe(a great guy who fills this story out in the end) is a fire fighter/paramedic at Station 12 on the East side of the South Ft. Pierce Inlet bridge and loaned us his Tahoe to run after some food while he watched the boat.(He may have actually saved my life)

After grubbing up and crabbing out we tried the channel markers for some tripletail. Supposedly, these critters hang on every piling from Ft. Pierce to Jupiter. And every point north or south. Well, I must be retarded because I was only able to manage this one after 9 lost crabs!!!




Caught on 50# JB solid with a 60# triplefish flouro leader and a super smooth Avet SX on a Reddington 7'0" MHX rod.

If you are wondering why the heavy gear for this size fish... then you've never caught a tripletail three feet from the piling he calls home...

A few more tries at the trips and we nearly called it a day....

Last toss, last crab, last piling before the power plant and WHAMMO!!! Hmmm, this isn't pulling like the last TT... Well know wonder!!! It's juvie goliath grouper!!!


Totally stoked!! I've seen the ones that Mirrorlure77 posts up, and I've seen them while scuba diving but I've never actually hooked and boated one even after spending most of my life fishing in FL!!! Even as small as it is, to me, it is a fish of a lifetime!!!

Ready to go home, almost to the ramp, and then.....



The beer kicked in and we decided it was backcountry time

We pulled the boat out at Jensen, got a late lunch.... some doritos and another 12pack and relaunched at Ft. Pierce.(yes I know, lots of running around in circles)....

After blasting through the red mangroves we found a likely spot to wait for the tide to rip onto the back country flats. We spooked a couple of reds and saw lots of catfish and sheepshead. Once the current started to really run, we anchored in an inlet and played with the itty bitty snook hoping for something better. Well, something better came in the form of this very respectable gator trout!!!




D.O.A. clear shrimp and whatever spinning rod Kevin had on hand.... I think it was a West Marine retailed version of a St Croix and a shimano TX2000 with 20# Power Pro and a 15# Calcutta(seaguar) Flouro leader...

Kevin poled us around the flats for a bit after that in search of a red....

But all I managed to catch was this sunset over my home with my very best friend trying his heart out to push me onto another great fish....


We went back to the house. Showered, slept and then drove back up to St. Augustine for my little Bro's wedding....



May I please present, Andrew and Sunshine Smith, with their beautiful daughter, my neice, Isabella Sunshine Smith....



After a night of debauchery in Daytona, Kevin and I blazed back for South FL... Picked up Joe and his *****in' Tahoe, Kevin's *****in' boat and burned up the Turnpike all the way to the Keys!!!!!

Joe's Dad is a Key West Sheriff's officer and lives on Lower Sugar Loaf Key. We made it down there just in time to launch the boat, run into the sunset...



grab some beer and head to Sammy's creek

through 12" of water!!!!

to castnet some bait and look for Tarpon!!

We're pretty spoiled here in SD. No bait receivers in the Keys... Or anywhere in the world for that matter!!!

This is how I grew up making bait...

10' net and I'm a little out of practice







Very little Mahua(Cuban for glass minnows) to be found so we waited for dark and got out the Mirrorlure Catch 2000's and went to work...

Two things come out at night in the keys. One is Tarpon, the other is mosquitoes.

OH MY ****ING GAWD!!! I probably shaved 5 years off of my life with all of the DEET I was lathering in. And I STILL got buzzed nearly to insanity! Another thing we're blessed with in SD is weather.

10:30 at night, Sammy's creek, 91 degrees faranheit, 99.999999999999% humidity, 100% mosquito saturation and a tarpon or two on the suspending plug....



Oh, and one really confused but large Mangrove Snapper who thought he was tough enough...He wasn't, but he was lunch...



(no, I'm not that drunk, reread the part about the mosquitoes and the weather...)


The typical FL summer thunderheads rolled in and we headed for the dock. I napped in a raincoat on a lawn chair until daybreak and then we set out in search of those pesky crabs again!!!

Luckily we were able to purchase a dozen and didn't have to burn part of the day catching our own....

Jump back in the boat and blaze across the inshore Sugar Loaf flats and through 5 mile creek out onto the Barracuda Key flats to look for the most amazing inshore gamefish I've ever had the opportunity to tangle with.


Sight casted Permit on the Flats.



I don't care if you have caught bigger Permit off of a wreck or reef in 20, 30 or more feet of water.... If you have never spotted one of these bruisers, cruising the flats, poled up to it and then casted your crab over near it, watched with gruelling anticipation as he eats your crab only to get blasted by the most awe inspiring, drag ripping, water slicing run you have ever seen!!!! Then you haven't caught a permit at all.....

Three Friends went fishing on the flats.

Three Friends sightcasted and caught caught permit on the same day.

Three lives were changed.





There are people who spend hundreds of dollars to get guided by a total stranger, out on to the flats to have a shot at sight casting a permit and go home empty handed and happy, just because they saw one. We caught three. I'm a very happy man. Here's to poling off into the sunset....

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Old 01-20-2007, 10:00 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Cool report Matt
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Old 01-20-2007, 10:34 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks Mark. Was the highlight for me last year for sure!! Want to do it again this year...
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