Permit Fishing at Long Key Bridge 8-23-14 The Run Away Trains

 It was a new moon’s dark night, fair nice breeze, decent current, and the usual short walk we make to one of Long Key’s Bridge fishing platforms. It felt like the day of fishing would be promising. Here is my recollection of this day.

I got off work a bit late and rushed home to eat dinner with my family and then pickup my gear. It was about 7:30 pm by the time I left home to pickup Nilson and then was to our usual stops to get some blue crabs, thread-fin herring, and ballyhoo for bait. The commercial fishing for ballyhoo is closed in August so we had to buy frozen and hoped to be able to catch some bait for snappers at the bridge. We wanted to be there before the tide change but barely made it to slack tide. On this trip I went light meaning I only brought five fishing rods with me. I normally bring 10 to 12 fishing rods since there is always ample room to fish at the bridges in the Florida Keys. I brought two 9 foot bridge rods with6/0  Penn Senators filled with 80 pound test line. Well these are my inexpensive party boat trolling reels and since my Accurate 600’s were filled with braid I did not want to un-spool and re-spool with 50 lb test mono filament line. While fishing in the Florida Keys bridges I like to fish with monofilament line since it does not break so easily on the bridge’s arches or pylon’s barnacles. I took one 9 foot rod to fish for snappers, this one had an old Penn Jigging Master with Accuplates and was filled with 30 lb test mono filament line. Additionally, I brought two small bait rods; One for a sabiki rig and another for hook, line, and sinker to get small grunts and also use it a light snapper rod.

Nilson and I got to the fishing platform and after setting up we waited for Ron and Ricky to show up. We casted our rods for permit fishing and as Nilson was cutting bait for snapper fishing he dropped the only bait cutting knife we brought. We had to improvise so out came a file I use to sharpen my hooks and became a bait shank. We cut a few bits the best we could and out the snapper baits went in the water. A few small snappers were caught but back in the water they went. By this time the tide started to change and zzzzzzzzzzzzz Nilson’s rod started singing but by the time we got to it the permit fish dropped the crab, Nilson missed his first and only permit bite of the midnight tide change.

 Ron and Ricky arrived shortly after and started fishing for snappers. The night was nothing but slow pickings of lady fish, bonnet head sharks, a possible nurse shark, and a few short sized mutton snappers. Bait was scarce but we did manage a few grunts to be used for snapper fishing.

Below is Nilson with one of the Ladyfish caught. It was used for bait and a short while later a nurse shark, a bonnet head and a small mutton snapper was caught.

                           Nilson's Lady   Nilson Hooked up

 Ron and his undersized mutton snapper.Ron's Mutton SnapperTime went by, the tide had already fullychanged and the bite slowed down so I fell asleep like a pancake on the floor. I did not bring a chair or a sleeping bag and not even a yoga mat to sleep on. Like Nilson told me “man I have never seen you so unprepared”. Well it was true. I had no tme to think about what I brought to fish with. One thing I was prepared for was to catch a permit which was my main goal. I positioned my weather gear bag next to my fishing rod and used it as a pillow and fell asleep on the pavement right next to my rod. My rod was set on free spool and the clicker was set to prevent the spool from releasing any line unless a permit would pick up my bait and would start swimming away with bait in mouth. What can I say sometimes it’s all about timing I woke up at 6:30 am and as soon as I woke up the loud clicker started to sing zzzz zzzzzzz zzzzzzznnnnnn…   and the line started to rip away from my reel like a run away train. I woke up like a ninja and nefore I knew it I ad the reel and rod in my hands and started to reel in the line making sure not to set the hook as I was using a 7/0 circle hook. I was not able to see which way the line was going since it was still dark but the tide had started to change and the Permit swam 3 bridge arches to my left and headed to go under one of them. The guys were telling me wich way the line was going and I dashed to follow the run away train. If it wasn’t because I had such a heavy line I would have lost the fish.  The guys assisted with the landing of the fish. It was a nice 24.5 pounds fish. The fish had smashed it’s head against the pylons and it’s mouth was destroyed so I decided to keep it.

My permit barely fitting in the landing net.Herbert's Permit 1

 My Permit Fish weighed in at 24.5 pounds.Herbert's Permit 2

There were six rods out in total with crabs on them and as the tide continued to change Nilson’s rod got hit and as he jumps and runs to pick up his rod the line mysteriously popped. This was to be the second permit he lost since midnight but it was not long before he would get another chance and this time it was a longer runaway train that did not want to stop. The fish swam very fast away from the pylons and decided to make a swim towards the arches under the bridge. Nilson ran towards the direction of the run away train trying to catch it. We guided him so he could concentrate on reeling the line in/ It was now the 4th bridge arch and Nilson was able to turn the fish away. We got the fishes head out of the water which usually means the fish gave up and could be ready to be landed, but as Ron drops the landing net in the water the fish flipped and swam with a mad dash towards the bridge arches again, Nilson ran reeling and reeling until finally he caught up with it and again the fish head almost out of the water but zzzzzzzz another mad dash to another arch, and again Nilson runs to catch up with the run away train until finally he turns the fish and the head was once again out of the water. Ron dropped the net in the water but the net got caught up on the bridge so I had to assist him with it and as I guide Nilson to place the fish over the net and I start to pull the fish out his hook tip broke, but the fish was already in the net and with a little difficulty we were able to pull it on the bridge.

And again the fish barely fit in the landing net.Nilson's Permit 3

Nilson proud of his catch.Nilson's Permit 4

On the scale that we used to get the fish weight. The Runaway train weighed i at 29.7Nilson's Permit Weight

Ricky and Ron did not have takers this time but hopefully next time it will be different. As we left the bridge we gave our left over crabs to another fisherman that was to fish the bridges until Sunday. He had already caught some nice size mangrove snappers in the rocky areas of the bridge. As we left in this hot summer afternoon it was off to play Tetris with our gear and our cars. On the way people were asking how we did and so I told them we only got two fish. They looked back at us with the thought that it was not a good day of fishing, but to me it was great fun as it always is with our crew and Nilson and I walked away with fish to last us 6 dinners at home. 🙂

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Bridge Fishing in Channel 2 Florida Keys 4-26-14

Gruntking did it again, he put together another http://www.boatlessfishing.com outing and this time it was a fishing one. The agreement came at the BBQ a few months ago. Many of us offered to go and show a few things to people that wanted to learn. If you didn’t go you missed out. Some members of the forum like Grunking Joe, PhishingPhanatic Rory, rare Nilson, Striz Ron, Greentide John, Myles, and many others fished hard core from Thursday till Sunday and some until Monday. My son and I were there only from late Friday night and till noon on Saturday since I had a fishing trip the next day but it was enough time to get my limit on Mangrove snappers and lost a Permit to the water pipes. I did release all snappers under 12″ and kept only 2 over 13″. The highlight of the day was a nice 12.5 pound Mutton Snapper by a member by the name of Myles. Wish I could have taken more pictures of the fishing and all the fish caught but there were over 70 fishing rods and too many people working all the areas of the bridge to do so. So here are the few pictures I took.

The lamp went down around 1 am to get sardines and thread fin herring wich arrived in small numbers at around 2 am.

Bait Fishing

Here is Nilson getting the bait on sabikis at night

Nilson getting bait

The amazing sun came up over the Florida Keys

Sunrise in the Florida Keys

Sunrise in Channel 2 Florida Keys

We all woke up and started to get ready to fish. I know some took some good knowledge from this outing.

Bridge Fishing

Here is the Gruntking with a barracuda he snatched (used a trebel hook with heavy sinker under it, threw it over the barracuda and snatched it. It is a common practice amongst people wanting to get shark bait and not have to use artificial or live bait. It is not as easy as it sounds you still have to know what to do and how to do it.

 Gruntking and his snatched Barracuda

Here is one of the mangrove snappers on a jig head with shrimp.

Herb Mangrove Snapper

Here is John with a gift from a Fishing Guide that was fishing under the bridge.

John with free bait

Here is my son with his grouper caught on a live pinfish with a circle hook. Fish was released.

    Seth and his Black Grouper

 In the end many fish were caught including more mutton snappers, yellow jacks and other species. It was a great day to be out there, and was fun talking to many and helping a couple of people understanding how to fish in the bridges.

Bridge Fishing the Keys With My Nephews 7-2-2011

After a long time of saying I will go fishing with my nephew’s (from my wife’s side) we finally came up with a day to go bridge fishing, Friday July 2nd, not such a great day since normally the 4th of July weekend is full of people rushing to the Florida Keys to have fun in the sun and water to celebrate this great country’s independence. Well, they had great expectations of this trip as they have seeing many pictures and heard great fishing stories from the Florida Keys, only one of them had gone fishing with me before and that was to Channel #2  on a Memorial day weekend that was a nightmare to drive to and from the Keys, but was a great day of fishing to catch and release sharks and keep some dinner snappers.

The only fishing experience they had were some previous bass fishing. I set them up with the basic rigs. I decided: Knocker rigs and troll rights with jig loop knots should be the best choice. They were fast learners and had it good after 2 hours of fishing, WOW! That was quick!.  I worked hard on getting them on a fish, no matter what it was, but absolutely wanted to get them on at least one quality fish. Expecting many fishermen and fisherwomen to come to the bridge that weekend I thought that it would be best to scheduled our trip to be on the bridge at a time in which most bridges are empty.  All bridges in the Florida Keys are good and you can catch many species of fish from them but in this task I had to bring them to a place where they didn’t have to drive so much, walk so much,  and catch some keeper snappers for dinner and at least one quality fish to keep them interested.

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The time went on and we discovered that we were surrounded by alien looking like creatures that kept on giving us the finger, but as you can imagine they were scared of these creatures, and what is the first thought? Get rid of them or they might bite us! LAND CRABS all over! There were dozens of them at a time. One of the family members I brought was a peanut that had the courage to try and grab one and guess what? OUCH I GOT PINCHED!!! They all panicked and started pushing them back to sea. I had to watch them and constantly tell them they were creatures that were more scared of us than us of them. The crabs were appearing claw less and come to find out there was a group of people hopping bridges looking for their claws, locals that knew what was going on.

DSC01664 - 2_4 - 3_2_small  DSC01658-small

Now the fishing report: The weather was great, no rain (which I wanted some) the water was not clear and this was great, the current was not ripping when we got there and almost seemed slack to a point until it changed to incoming which is when all the action started with the clouds gathering and the winds picking up a bit.

Well, the fishing story/ report got too long so let’s go back to the report, this time with pics:

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The peanut got his first fish ever and a keeper 12.5” snapper, which he told the story on how he caught it and fought it for the whole night and ride back home, LOL

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The oldest nephew got his first fish, one hell of a Hog Snapper!

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My nephew’s brother-in-law got a bonnet head that he didn’t want to touch, LOL

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I was able to get a nice size permit

Herbert Hans Muller Permit Keys Bridge

One of my nephew’s went home blank so I still owe him another trip. My other nephew also had no luck on this trip but he had come bridge fishing with me before and caught some nice lemon sharks and snappers. All in all it was a successful and very nice bridge fishing trip. I just have to find the time when they all can get off work at the same time again to go fishing with them again.

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 boatlessfishing.com 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 boatlessfishing.com