Welcome to Eye of the Guide

Part Fourty


Largo Permit

Largo Permit

By Captain Dave Sutton


  Fishing with an old friend Ron and his son Butch, has always been fun but I'm going to tell you ... This time was a corker. Late in the spring off the north Key largo flats we were fishing for cuda on one of those hot afternoons in South Florida. You know after it has rained, the humidity was about a thousand percent and the temp was a hundred and a half. Well, while we waited for the tide to turn, we started to play with some Cuda's south of Angelfish Creek. The boy, (well I call him a boy, he's six foot three and weighs two hundred pounds) was having a ball with the small toothy critters, and we were just watching when Ron decided to give his son some competition.

The first thing he saw ... he grabbed, a five foot casting stick with a Lew's Speed Spool loaded with twenty pound braid. He jostled around in his tackle bag and came out with a nylon covered, steel leader that had to have been made in the sixties. This thing was so old, and ugly? Oh yes, it was ugly all right, but he put it on anyway.

Then back into the bag, jingle-jingle, and out came a box of old worms he had been saving for the next time he wanted to look silly. Well, when he opened this box of stuck together antique's, both Butch and I laughed till we had tears. He took out the nastiest looking, orange, six inch worm you have ever seen and put it on Texas style.

All the while saying to the two of us, "I'm not giving the good stuff to those saltwater pickerel," meaning the three dollar jig's we had all rigged up for Bonefish. "They'll just have to take what I'm giving them," said Ron to his son.

Butch laughed, looking at me saying, "he don't stand a chance, does he Cap?" I said, he couldn't catch a cold with that rig Butchie kid, and Ron started to cast about while we just chuckled.

As I polled down the flat, trying to keep in the two foot depth range for the chance of them catching some cuda, Ron said,"get a little closer to the mangroves for a cast."

I looked over and saw the water depth was almost two feet right up to the edge, and started to make the turn ........... When Ronnie set the hook .. and I mean SET THE HOOK.

"Yo, what are you into up there," I said as he battled a big fish right on the edge of the roots.

"A huge permit came out of the mangroves and slammed my worm," he said!

"No way," said Butchie, "not on that orange worm."

Then suddenly the fish woke and realized where he was ...... the drag of that old Lew's sang as a 30 pound permit ran for open water, passing the bow at light speed.

Ron screamed out ...." don't pole..... motor!!!!!"

Then I realized that the Lew's only had one to one hundred and twenty five yards of braid on it, and I knew we were in trouble.

Off the tower I jumped, hooking the pole, and starting the outboard, we headed out after his prize. Now this permit, at thirty pounds, was smart. He criss-crossed through every sea fan and soft coral between him and open water, but Ron was determined. Laying on the deck and weaving the rod tip through the obstacles, he started to gain back some line.

Then the fish would run again. Seventy-yard run, then a fifty-yard run, then twenty, yes we were winning the fight. Now we could have some fun.

"Hey, do you think this fish is blind, or just has bad taste? "

"He's got to be blind in one eye," said Butchie as Ron reached down and lifted the permit onto the boat. Smiling at me he said, "these fish are double tuff Cap, next time maybe I'll use a fly rod, ok?"

From that day on, Ron's nickname was "Orange Crush." Some of you may think this is just a story, but it is, a true story. ~ Captain Dave Sutton


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