“You see a lot, Doctor. But are you strong enough to point that high-powered perception at yourself? What about it? Why don’t you - why don’t you look at yourself and write down what you see? Or maybe you’re afraid to.”
I tied up these crab flies with permit, redfish and bonefish in mind. All have a 60-lb fluorocarbon single post weed guard, called a Vinceguard (See April 1 post on how to tie this fail proof weed guard.) 3- of these flies are weighted with lead barbell eyes and the other three aren’t. Weight will matter with the depth of water. Permit, especially, will need a fly that plummets to the bottom once it lands on the water. Permit will be found in deeper waters over 2-foot in depth so a crab fly that is weighted is absolutely essential that’s because those wily permit won’t trust a crab fly that isn’t headed pell-mell for the cover and safety of the ocean floor. The un-weighted flies will be ideal for bonefish and redfish when they are tailing or water depths of around a foot or less. I can’t wait to throw one these crab critters at the next tailing redfish or bonefish or that cruising permit that gets in my way.
The good news is in the 29-years I’ve been fishing Florida waters I am seeing more-and-more sawfish. Whereas when I first started fishing I never came across one. It was in the early 90’s when I spotted my first one. I’ve had three up to the boat having hooked them on lures intended for redfish. Now I see one or more every time I fish the Everglades National Park. That may be because there is one small bay,(that will remain un-named) that has had one resident sawfish that I began seeing about 8-years ago. I’ve watched it grow from a two footer to nearly 5-feet in length. Now there are two more smaller sawfish that are hanging out in the same bay. But I am seeing them elsewhere as well. If you ever hook one my suggestion is don’t try to handle it. When they start swinging that saw back-and-forth like a fast windshield wiper it would be lethal if a hand or arm got in the way.
So I get this survey from CCA in conjunction with the University Florida the other on Goliath Grouper - I wonder what’s up with that? I’ve heard that there is talk about allowing Goliaths to be harvested again by recreational spearfishers and fishermen. Formally known as Jewfish it became politically incorrect to call these giant groupers by that name a couple of years ago. Though, my Jewish friends who are avid fisherman remain steadfast in calling a jewfish a jewfish. I understand that there has been a push to change Jewfish Creek in Key Largo to Goliath Grouper Creek but so far that hasn’t happened. Thinking of Jewfish I recalled the late Bob Kay who taught me how to tie flies. He told me once he was one of the first guys to start diving off of Fort Lauderdale in the late 50’s. Back then jewfish were much more prevalent and a lot bigger. 500-pound fish were regularly seen and occasionally caught on hook and line. Bob told me that divers back then disappeared all the time with out a trace. Overly large jewfish were blamed as the culprit given how aggressive an eater a large jewfish can be. The US Navy SEALS that I talked to when I lived in Puerto Rico as a teenager in the mid 70’s were much more concerned (concerned only because Navy SEALS are never afraid) about being eaten by a big jewfish than they were by a tiger or bull shark. Big jewfish disappeared over the years as they were spearfished or were caught by commercial divers who would stick a flying gaff hook in their mouths and have an electric winch wind them up from the bottom to their boat. Note the baitfish in this photo hanging around this big jewfish - the baitfish have come to learn snapper and other smaller predator fish won’t go near a jewfish unless they have death wish so the baitfish find protection in hanging close to a large goliath grouper.
Pinfish - arguably one of the best snook baits there is - is one of my favorite baits to use in the summer months for big beach snook. The name pin comes from the pin like dorsal bones that will prick a finger as easily and painfully as a pin does. Most of my really big snook have been caught on pinfish. These baits can be easily caught by using small gold hooks baited with a piece of shrimp or by throwing a cast net over a grass flats or around a docks where these baits congregate. Here’s the trick to using a pinfish for snook. Using a dull knife or spoon take a hand sized pinfish and scale the back half of the fish. Snook, when eating a bait, will actually blow the scales of the bait as it eats it. A scaled pinfish to a snook will look like he bait has already been attacked by a snook and therefore easy prey. Hooking the pinfish in the head just above the gills will make the bait swim upwards and hooking it in the tail will make it swim down. This is good to know if you are free lining the bait or using a sinker and knowing where the fish are hanging in the water column.
Other favorite snook baits include live pigfish, pilchards and shrimp See photos by clicking on white arrow on right side of photo
Mix dry seasonings in a large bowl. Go easy on the salt and pepper but heavy on the ginger, sage and garlic powder. Course grind the fat and meat (Venison or wild Pork) together after dusting the meat in the mix of dry seasonings. Grind the meat and fat together at a 75% meat to a 25% fat ratio. With the fresh chopped garlic and parsley grind the batch again with a fine grind and roll in Jimmy Dean sized rolls. Wrap rolls in cellophane and freeze rolls in large ziplock bag