From the Editor: At Mile Marker 73 in the Florida Keys, is the famed Channel 2 Bridge. Fishing the bridge from shore one can claim everything from Yellowtail Snapper to the famed Silver Giants of Florida, the Tarpon. If you can add a professional guide who has years of knowledge and has lived there most his life, the chances you're going to lay into the fishing experience of your life dramatically improves. This story of a visitor to our beautiful state fishing with Florida Keys Editor Greg Poland will give you an idea of just how productive the bridge can be at times. Even for newbies.
Sometimes it seems that every day in the Keys is blue water, big fish, and great people. This shot by Terry's wife Christy has Captain Greg & angler Terry on the Helm of one of Greg's two boats.
Terry and his wife Christy Kirk arrived from Austin, Texas and chartered me to "find him the biggest fish he could muster", in saltwater (and one that comes with bragging rights and appropriate pride). Christy was along for the ride, moral encouragement and to take the pictures. We set out for the historical old Flagler Bridge or, as us locals call it, "The Channel 2 Bridge". The structure offers some great opportunity for tarpon, snook, snapper, permit, shark and numerous other finny targets. Our quarry this trip? The Silver King, our Famed Florida Tarpon.
A well full of live mullet dramatically increases the chances of taking a Tarpon. Many of my anglers favor fly tackle, but quite honestly the odds of landing a fish on a long rod are far more in favor of the fish the alternative gear.
The Channel 2 bridge is an old structure, and as such offers vertical piles and an accumulation of bottom debris. Over the years the spot's become a favorite haunt of the species and the guides that chase them, and it's famous for tarpon on the outflow. Like any strong moving water, if there's anything that blocks the flow, you'll find the fish behind them.
Armed with all our equipment (much compliments of my new sponsor, Ohero, we fished free-lined mullet on circle hooks attached to Ohero 50 pound Fluorocarbon attached to Ohero's Blue Braid. The unique combination from a single manufacturer is a true complement, whether I'm fishing for sharks or snook all the way to our target that day, the Silver Giant. Upon the first cast, the mullet changed its direction in swimming up, against the current, behind a block of the bridge and in a beeline to the structure below, when that all too familiar sucking sound echoed from under the bridge and this silver streaking locomotive of pure energy exploded next to the boat in the first of many a run to safety. A good twenty or thirty minutes of to and fro as Terry played the game of Fish on!
This was Terry's first tarpon, and as he held the fish he said he was happy to have shared it with his wife and me. It was the biggest saltwater fish he had ever caught and it was an impressive tarpon. I exclaimed that at 125lbs it was nothing to sneeze about for a first timer or his 100th fish. Terry and I have fished together since 2003 but this was by far his best trip-ever!
Later, that evening, celebrations were in order at Ziggie's, where it was martini's and the best steak in town, along with pictures and a fish story to die for.