Saturday, August 26, 2006

Jack Be Nimble, Jack Be Quick!

This lttle jack crevalle of maybe a pound and a half was going to be the bait. The late 60's found Stephanie and I fishing in the Florida Keys a couple of weekends each month. The 12 foot boat was on top of the VW Microbus and we'd drive the hundred and something miles to the vicinity of Craig Key between Channel 2 Bridge and Channel 5 bridge. We cooked on a Coleman stove and slept in the van, driving down one of the many unpaved little roads running off U.S. 1 into the woods. At first light we'd make coffee and launch the boat.

Amberjack, which get quite large, 50 to 75 pounds being common, usually live offshore on the reefs in fairly deep water near the Gulf Stream, but occasionally will come in closer in search of food. Lately, we were told, they were moving up into the channels between the ocean and Florida Bay where the water was maybe only 12 to 15 feet deep, chasing schools of mullet and the much smaller jack crevalle.

I rigged a 20 lb. class outfit with a heavy leader and a big hook. Soon I'd caught a jack crevalle on a bucktail jig, and l impaled it on the big hook. Stephanie took this shot of me with her Leica III-f as I prepared to catch The Big One! I did hook one amberjack but couldn't control it and he soon wrapped the line around a bridge piling and broke off. Exciting while it lasted, though. Another jack crevalle was soon jumping clear of the water, not something they usually do, before disappearing in a spectacular splash. Line peeled off the reel and a four foot barracuda leaped into the air, only to cut through the 80 lb. test monofilament leader with his teeth. It would be another twenty-five years or so before I landed my first big amberjack, a 54 pounder. Photo (c) Stephanie Brundage 1967


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