Bridge Fishing in the Florida Keys 6-12-2011

Herbert Hans Muller

My permit

My friends had met the night before and started fishing, by the time I arrived they had gotten some mutton snappers and mangrove snappers…. I had a lot of plans that did not happen on the weekend because of Mr. weatherman, they never get it completely right, LOL . When I got to the bridge the water color was still a bit cloudy and had just started to clear up which was not too good for my likings but started off good with losing a nice run, possibly a mutton, then I got a 14.5″ mangrove that I kept and threw back  3 keepers that were less than 12 inches. After the permit hit it was over for me and we started getting ready to go back home. It were a good 3 hours of fishing for me. Like always it was great fishing with the crew.  Here is a pic of my permit and one of the crew:

Part of the crew

Part of the crew


Bridge Fishing in the Florida Keys 7-8-2010

The boys from the forum decided to go permit and snapper fishing during the weekend but my schedule did not allow for an overnight bridge fishing get together so I was to meet them Saturday morning. As I was approaching them on Long Key Bridge I decided to play a little joke and screamed FISH ON! I startled as they hurried up to get their fishing rods wa wa wa sorry guys didn’t mean to scare you all, LOL… Well, I setup my rods and dropped the bait then as soon as I started to walk away from it and was talking to the guys RRRRRRRRRR! zzzzzznnnnnnn  znnnnnnnnnn I ran to my rod and picked it up, flipped the lever to engage, got a permit hit going on! OK!!! I have to go under, I am going towards you all, please move the rods, I am under this line, I am over that one! I kept the tension and the fight was over all mayhem slowed down as they were bringing the permit on a bridge net when RRRRRRRRRR! zzzzzznnnnnnn  znnnnnnnnnn, CRAP MY SECOND ROD! and so I run and I screamed I GOT THIS! Picked up the rod, flip the lever, start reeling in and the over under mayhem starts again! Wow! nice runs from these fish. I was finally able to land the second which was released after a photo opt. After that Rory caught a nurse shark with 3 hooks hanging from it’s mouth, he was nice enough to remove them and released it. The day went on but I had to leave.  Conditions would have been even better if the water color held up, but that’s how it is. I would have gone to another bridge and continue hoping until I found one that had better looking conditions but instead I decided to head home.

Hans permits 2

2 permits caught, one was released

Bridge Fishing- Super Moon Permits 3-19-2010

Part of the crew

We have all heard of the super moons and the blue moons, so this one was it. We just had to fish during a moon that brings in rough tides and lots of bait trying to swim through it. What a perfect hunting ground it is for fish in those bridges, they have the cover to hunt and so we were thinking it may be a good opportunity to go. We started fishing in Channel 5 at night and had some fun with Tarpons as we sometimes do, manytimes we do not intend to catch them but since they are so plentiful in those bridges is almost inevitable to not catch one. Here is Nilson’s account for one of those times as it happened on this night.

“Plenty of poons at night. As soon as it hit water I put the rod down & it bended twice. I thought I had a nice Grover- it hit hoo plug. Then I see this poons jumping up in the air & I’m still fight him. He then heads under the bridge & I am thinking game over. I tip the rod down on the 7 ft rod as much as I can. He then does a U turn & come out the other side of the hole. So he wraps me around & now is in front of me jumping. I got him back in & was till fight when he took one final jump & the 1x wire hook came off. The poon was about 50+ Rory & the guys said it had to be more. It was damn fun with 15lb line & wimpy rod.”

We appreciated the awesomeness of the moon and as we were doing so a bird decided to stop by and watch it with us. Then it left and came back to steal some of our bait but this time it got tangled in our lines. We took our time getting it out and let it fly away unharmed.

Super Moon night  Super Moon

Untangling a bird  Untangling a bird

The morning time came and the first permit hit Nilsons bait, after fighting it for a bit the permit won by wraping Nilson around a pylon. The second bite was on Rory’s bait and after another nice fight Rory also lost his battle to the pylons. Up next it was me I did the same o’l same o’l the left to right in between pylons dance. The permit move to the right I went left the permit went left I went right always trying to keep the line in between the pylons or as far away from them as possible. I have lost so many of them as well but not this time. Ricky was up next as if we were on a line for permit hits, Ricky did the dance as well, he put pressure on and was also able to land his permit. Nilson kept trying but for some reason he lost all the battles.

Ricky and Herbert with double header permits

Then Rory got another turn at it, he ran like hell to his rod not giving the permit a chance to the pylons and got in the fight on a good crazy positions being able to win a nice price, an invitation to eating permit for dinner for weeks to come. Here is Rory’s account on what happened:

“Was a great time with the crew, lots of laughs, that little permit fought harder then any bigger one I’ve caught, got him on an Accurate 870 w/ 30 lb mono so couldn’t horse him too much with the light line, he took off under the tunnel so I had to lie down on the ground and stick half my body out of the hole in the wall of the bridge, and hold the rod straight down and fight him lying on my stomach…thank goodness I was using a 10 ft rod, anything shorter and I would have lost him for sure.” Nilson added “Rory fighting that permit was epic! I was setup on Rory side with the bridge net & Herb on the other side with the net since the permit went under tunnel. We weren’t going to lose that permit.” Sometimes teamwork is what counts.

Rory and his permit

As Ricky says, there always someone with a bad juju, last time it was me at Sebastian Jetty with loosing redfish after redfish and this time it happened to be Nilson and the permits. So in one of the bridges we decided to get a group picture commemorating this day.

KWC - Key West Crew

From left to right is Ricky, Nilson, Rory, and Herbert

We hit a few more bridges afterwards as we did fish for 2 days straight. Below is a picture of an endengred Key Deer we saw as we were on our way to anotherone of the bridges.

Key Deer

Having brought sleeping bags kept us warmed up from the chilled nights. On this night we definitely had to thank John and his wife for an awesome coffee and breakfast. As always it was great pleasure fishing with John and his mellow sound. He retired in the keys and he’s loving fishing with a passion. John landed some short groupers and had his fun with the Tarpons on swimbaits.The rest of the days came with plenty mangrove snappers in the 11” to 12” inch range, the tarpons kept on harassing our baits, a few Spanish macks were caught, and saw some eagle rays jump up in mid air as they many times do. On the last nigh of fishing we ended sacrificing a permit for an awesome ceviche made right on the bridge, I must say it a perfect fish for it. Ricky took his time filleting it and let me tell you not a morsel was wasted.

Ceviche Recipe

Below are pics of the delicious Permit Ceviche.  Ricky cut the fish in small cubes mixed it with onions, bell peppers, and cilantro then added lime juice and a bit of white vinegar. Let it marinate for one hour in the cooler and then served it with crackers.

ceviche 2010

Permit Ceviche 2010

You can see the original report and everyone’s individual account on

Tampa Skyway Bridge-Fishing with my nephews July 2008

I always complain about going to Tampa and not fishing, how could you be a fisherman traveling to Tampa and not visit the Skyway Pier? Just had to go, so on a trip going to visit my brother-in-law I told my wife I would pack a few rods and would take my nephews fishing since they always see my fishing pictures they wanted to go. I got them a few small rod setups, and loaded my shark rod and some light rods for use with top water plugs. On to the mission to hook my nephews on their fish fish; Fishing for small fish had a lot of action, some people were catching tiny mangroves every now and then and a small grouper less than than 15 inches here and there. The bait was all over as it always is. Since it was so slow I thought ” What better way to get them on some fish than to do it with some bait”. They were extremely happy about catching those pinfish for my Florida Key trips, it was hot action and very big happy faces for them.

Christian’s first fish


Matthew’s first fish


Mom and Dad

Edward and Rose

The Vargas family with a bait stringer


On the background you can see the Tampa Skyway Bridge

100_5199  The Family catching bait

Below is Matthew happy to catch another and Christian with his curiosity inspecting another pinfish

Mathew happy to catch another one  Christian inspecting another bait

Below left is a pinfish and to the right a Spanish mackerel that was released

Pinfish  Spanish Mackerel

The shark rod had no action, I later found out I was too far out. A 6 to 7 foot bull was caught near the entrance of the Skyway, they killed it and took the meat and jaws

Bridge Shark Fishing – Run Of The Bulls April 2008

While fishing the April Land based Shark Tournament in 2008 we decided to go locally and fish the first key in a chain of Keys in Florida. We rallied up the big baits, in this case since it was April the Charter boats cannot sell amberjack and so many of they just keep them and take them to the docks to show the tourist and when they have finished they clean the fish and use the roe to fish for snappers. Well, we contacted a captain and he offered to supply us with bait. he was a shorebound shark fisherman himself in his younger years and so wass glad to help our cause by donating bait. He would normally give us other carcasses like kingfish mackerel, dolphin, blackfin tuna, and cudas.

Team HammerTime 2008

The Team: Seth,Luis, Herbert, Brad

Team Hammertime Gear
The Gear

On this night I got there first with Brad and my son, we let out some of the carcasses and Brad was hit but immediately got cut off.  Then it was my son’s turn, his rod got a massive hit, line was peeling and peeling on his 12/0 Penn reel. We placed the fishing harness on him and had to hold him back from the shoulders so he wouldn’t be dumped in the water with the rod strapped to him. It got to a point where it seem like a scence of a Matrix movie we had pushed him so far back that he looked like he was levitating and then, POP!!!!!!!! the line broke. The shark too it to the ledge of channel and the line rubbed until it popped. Boy oh boy we were pumped! We called Louis and told him to get to the bridge as soon as he could. We had to re rig all the rods and since the sharks were so big I did not dared to put my 9/0 in the water, we needed our big guns but I had only brought a 12/0. Well, we rigged, Louis got there and we spread the lines out so we could have some room. It started again  click, click, rrrrrrr, zzzzzzzzzzzzzz POP!!!! Brad was hit first and his line popped again. We figured out it was a the dredge whole in the bridge area, water went from 9 feet to 14 feet deep. The government had dug a trench there to get materials for the footing of the bridge. We we moved our line a bot farther away from that hole so our lines wouldn’t run that risk again. And so again my reel this time goes click, click, rrrrrrr, zzzzzzzzzzzzz, I set the hook, zzzum, zzzum, zzzum, the fish slowly took drag and we knew what it was: The Slow Powerful Run of a Big Bull Shark. The bull shark kept going in the direction of the hole so I walked to my right trying to prevent it from reaching it, HUAC!!! SLAMMM!!! the shark pulled so hard on one of those moves it slammed me against the railing BAMM!! again, Oh boy, I felt it, I felt the rubbing of my line n that trench. I had to stop it from breaking my line so I began to slowly reel and reel when I could the the shark started to move upwards instead of running the shallows. I would gain 3 inches it would go 5 feet but little by little I was able to get it closer. It was then that we decided we had to beach this shark so I put my rod on my shoulders and started walking it to toward the footing of the bridge. Once I got to the footing I began to reel in again and again and started walking to the beach until we landed the big bull shar. It measure 8’4″ and had an amazing girth of almost 5 feet. This shark was easily over 400 pounds. After measuring it and a few pics we took turns reviving it almost 5 minutes went by and then the shark swam on its own. WOW!!! What a rush to see them swim away so strongly. We setup again, told a few jokes in between and as the nigh slowed down it was Louis’ reel this time click, click, rrrrrrr, zzzzzzzzzzzzz, Luis sets the hook and again , zzzum, zzzum, zzum, ANOTHER BULL!!! Same ordeal shark goes toward the whole, keeps tension on it, moves right, and the bull shark goes another direction. OH NO! OH NO! it swiming towards an anchered sail boat! NO! NO! the shark got tangled on the anchor lines and so Luis has to do the unthinkable he starts to reel in the boat and the shark at the same time. He puts the rod on his shoulders and starts to walk the reels in real fast coming towards the rail, doe it again and again, we walk towards the footing of the bridge and then POP!!!!! the line just brakes off. OH boy we were upset, really upset. Well we tried again loosing some more to cut offs and then it all died down. In this tournament we won the Bridge Shark Catch and Release division. We would have won biggest shark with the bull shark I caught and released but biggest shark went to length not tot he normal formula of lenght x girth squared divided by 800. But that is how it goes, we were happy we won that division and ended 2nd on most Catch/Releases.

Herbert Hans Muller Bull Shark Keys

Measuring the Bull Shark

Below are pics of us getting ready for the release

100_4714   100_4713_small

Releasing the bull shark and watching it swim away

100_4715_small   100_4716_small

Below are other sharks caught by the rest of the team:

Brad on a 5 foot  bull shark

100_4634_small 100_4639_small

What can I say, we got caught fishing at a bridge we were not supposed to be fishing at. Below is Officer Wade Very Happy to give us $45 Tickets and we just had to do the line up picture

  100_4699_wade   100_4698_lineup smaller

Luis with a Black Tip shark he caught the night Officer Wade busted us

100_4689_Luis 6foot blacktip smaller

Seth with a nurse shark he caught


Luis on a beach caught 9′ lemon shark

9ft Lemon Full Tape Measure Shot

When all was finished we were exhausted and collected our winnings. First Place Bridge Shark catch and release. Second place most sharks caught and released.

   100_4842  100_4828


Bridge Sharking In The Keys 5-19-2007

The bridge had a nice current and water was milky at incoming tide but it got very clear after the outgoing. We were using cut cudas and blue runners,The shark hit my 6/0 on a 7 foot 1940’s Montague rod I hand wrapped. The shark gave a powerful run and it jumped 3 times as if it were a figure skater doing triple vaults. I got it out of the poles on its first run and gave it to gonsharkfishin’s (a forum member) friend that came from Virginia to the keys to get married (poor man desn’t know what he got into). The shark went towards the second pole and then back to the first, when we had it closer it tried to get under the bridge, but we steered it to go out again. The shark fight was my wedding gift to him,LOL…

At first we thought that the fight took too long, we were worried that the spinner shark would not make it, but we tried to keep its head in the water at all times ensuring it would have water flowing trhu it. We got it closer to the ledge and it was nice and strong again we did try to tag it but it was way too feisty and would not let me do anything on the ledge. It jumped and had had 3/4 of it’s body sticking out almost hitting me. So we decided to just cut the leader and released it with out getting the information. I we had used a needle on a 6 foot pole we could have safely tagged the spinner sharks.

Here are the pics…

Coaching to get away from the electric utility poles

Walking it to the edge

The Spinner shark

A follower, Tarpon?

Walking away after the release