On our third and fourth days in the Keys we fished the bridge between Big Pine Key and No Name Key. The channel had a lot more sea grass than Channel 5, and towards the center of the channel the water gets fairly deep. The first day the fishing was tough, and we ended up getting rained out. The only fish I took a photo of was my lifer ballyhoo. We put out live pinfish and cut ballyhoo as shark bait. At one point I had something big take one of my baits. I fought it for about 30 seconds, but it ran me under the bridge and the hook popped out. A lot of the live pinfish ended up with distinct bites out of them, so perhaps there were small sharks prowling around.
Ballyhoo (Hemiramphus brasiliensis) - new hook & line species #250
Ruoxi caught a couple of really nice fish with the sabiki. She definitely did better than me that day! She got these two porgies almost back to back.
Grass Porgy (Calamus arctifrons)
Littlehead (Calamus proridens)
Not satisfied with our first day, we fished the No Name bridge again the following day. The shark baits got less action than the previous day, but we caught plenty of small fish. One of the first one was this rather beefy blue parrotfish.
Blue Parrotfish (Scarus coeruleus)
Ruoxi also caught a beefy one a little later. They were tanks!
I did slightly better in the new lifer department. We caught quite a few of these bar jacks with a couple sand perch mixed in. The blue on the bar jacks was really bright!
Bar Jack (Carangoides ruber) - new hook & line species #251
Sand Perch (Diplectrum formosum) - new hook & line species #252
Puddingwife (Halichoeres radiatus)
Planehead Filefish (Stephanolepis hispidus)
Pinfish (Lagodon rhomboides)
The variability in the doctorfish was really interesting. I'd never seen one colored up like the second one below.
Doctorfish (Acanthurus chirurgus)
Scrawled Cowfish (Acanthostracion quadricornis)
Lane Snapper (Lutjanus synagris)
Ruoxi had a great day as well. She definitely caught more lifers at this bridge than anywhere else.
Sand Perch (Diplectrum formosum)
Bandtail Puffer (Sphoeroides spengleri)
Porkfish (Anisotremus virginicus)
Bluestriped Grunt (Haemulon sciurus)
Redtail Parrotfish (Sparisoma chrysopterum)
Southern Puffer (Sphoeroides nephelus)
The last excitement of the day occurred back at the base of the bridge. Kayla was using a scrap of fish on a hook to lure crabs towards shore. Much to her surprise, a nurse shark came just a few yards from her feet and grabbed the bait! With only 6 lb mono line and no leader, her odds of keeping the shark on were not good. However, Kayla manged to keep the shark under control long enough for me to run to the end of the bridge and walk out in the shallows to grab it by the tail. She caught her first shark!
Nurse Shark (Ginglymostoma cirratum)