Capt. Justin Rea
February started off very positive in the fishing realm. The weather was beautiful this year for our annual Cuda Bowl Fishing Tournament. The tournament was Feb. 2-4 and was based out of Hurricane Hole Marina. During the two day event there were a record 418 barracuda caught and released. The largest being 53.5 inches caught by Tom del Bosque of Boca Raton, FL.
My angler John Chinuntdet of Moorseville, NC won First Runner-Up in the fly division with a total of 202.5 inches. The full results of the event can be seen at http://www.cudabowl.com.
After the tournament was over the weather just kept on being nice. Seasonal highs in the high 70s and light winds. With my anglers we ventured all up and down the Keys flats and even ventured out past the reef on the calmer days for some tuna and snapper.
Just last week the calmest weather rolled in and low and behold there were some big tarpon showing themselves in the backcountry. Tarpon, bonefish and permit were all happy and willing to eat a fly even! The large barracuda pictured in this article was caught on the flats and is one of the largest I’ve seen yet this year. This guy was a slob!
We had a little bit of a front come through last evening but the sun is already shining again. If we stay in the mild weather pattern we can expect the fishing to just get even better. This is one of the best times of the year to target permit on the flats. They head offshore soon to spawn and there won’t be as many on the flats for a while.
Coming up in March is the March Merkin Permit Tournament. This even is scheduled for March 13-16 in Key West. I’ve fished this event every year except the first and it’s a great event with great folks who share a passion for permit.