Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Florida Keys Bridge Fishing

 Feels odd to be typing words onto a screen, anticipating your reading them, my having been away from doing this it seems for an eternity. I guess 11 days, but it certainly is not the same sort of time frame of 11 days I felt used to before we left.

Tonight I'll post on our second evening on Big Pine Key when we fished from the bridge to No Name Key from the back of Big Pine. Actually, the first night we did go out and jig bucktails and I lost something around four pounds or so, possibly two pounds considering how hard groupers and jacks fight. The cottage we rented is situated yards from the bridge on Big Pine. We had a slip for a 23-foot Mako center consol we rented for three days. I'll write about those outings tomorrow and Thursday.

Bridge fishing is popular and productive on the Keys. If you need a big profile to lend credence to the value of this low budget approach, I suppose Ernest Hemingway fished Keys bridges, if not all the bridges offering fishing--in his time. Hemingway was the sort of angler who needed to try divergent approaches to fish, if mainly to freshen those ways he most valued. He caught huge marlin, and tiny trout in Michigan.

My son caught a four-foot plus bonnethead from this bridge five years ago. We broke the line rather than attempted to treble hook and haul it up. Later we learned that the world record was 23 pounds and some ounces. I had estimated Matt's shark at 25 pounds. If 18 pounds, it still qualified as a huge bonnethead.

Matt's Bermuda chub achieved high hook of the evening, over a pound. I decided to taste it. Matt wouldn't dare since his book on Florida fish doesn't rate it highly. It tasted ok, not bad.

The pork fish tasted great--the bright yellow panfish. Other panfish available include grunts, porgies, and snappers. Although most snappers are short of keeper size, I know of a 22-inch mutton snapper caught from this bridge. 

My triggerfish measured less than legal size, but I consider it a cool catch.

They supposedly taste excellent. Know what else does? Barracuda. They told us down here, five years ago, not to eat it. Poison. The 12-pounder I caught six miles out on the reef. We sure did, delicious, with no side effects. We baked all 39 1/2 inches (tail & head cut off) to have a feast. I also caught a three-footer from this bridge, but the real whooo-ha was the big one my son hooked. This fish, all of 42 inches at the very least, leapt six feet into the air three times, ran down current, and frayed Matt's 10-pound test against bridge abutment. I had put on a big Bomber jerkbait for him and his medium-power Ugly Stik.

Matt was eight years old. 


  1. No pics of the barracuda!! Next time!

    1. I could put the picture up, but since it wasn't caught on the bridge...& the three-footer I broke off, impossible to heave up.


Comments Encouraged and Answered