Last month, at the Orvis-Endorsed Lodge Retreat in Key Largo, PRO Outfitters guide Pat Kane spent an afternoon on the water, when something special happened:
I caught this fish while fishing with a live shrimp for speckled sea trout. In fact, I didn’t even make the cast. The Capt. of our 24-foot bay boat made a nice toss with a live shrimp hanging about three feet under a popping cork and then handed me the rod. I moved to the bow, sat down, sipped my Bud Heavy, and popped my cork while the captain proceeded to rig up the other three fisherman. The pop of the cork is supposed to attract the trout. Earlier that day we had nonstop action on snapper, grouper, jacks, cuda, and a few other species, as well. Now it was time to catch a trout.
After maybe five minutes and a few more pops, the shrimp was attacked, and the line began to rip. The run stopped and then began again right at and then under the boat; we thought there was a shark on the line. After another huge run, we began to follow the fish with the boat. It was then that we realized that the fish was a large permit. The fish made several more runs, each one a little shorter than the prior. What a fun fight. What a fun day, a day that will not be forgotten.
The permit has burned permanent memories into my mind. It will help me remember a super-fun day on the water with cool people. When it comes down to it, does it really matter how the fish was caught? I feel very lucky to have held such an awesome creature, a true fish of a lifetime.
We could only estimate the fish to be over 20 pounds. I think it’s closer to 30, especially when I’ve had a few beers.
Now, we’re all fly fishermen here, I know. And I realize that the fish was caught not only on a spinning rod, but with bait. But holy cow, that is one massive fish!
When he got back to the Ocean Reef Club for that night’s reception, Pat showed everyone the photo and only let them believe it was a fly-caught permit for a few moments before he told the truth.
“I don’t care what I caught it on because just holding that fish was an incredible experience,” he said.
I believe him.