Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Permit On Fly: Vieques, Puerto Rico

I was going through some of my old photos this afternoon when I came across this one from my former home on Vieques.  This is an interesting shot for several reasons.  It was taken in 2003 on a windy and stormy day at a place called Purple Beach, located on the island's north shore.  A few years earlier this spot was completely off limits since it was used by the Navy and Marine Corps as a bombing range and to practice amphibious landings.  There's even an old M-60 tank hull sitting up on the hillside past the beach that was used as a target.  

The very tall angler's name is John Dukes and I can't remember where he was from.  To his left is Capt. Franco Gonzalez who, before I moved to Vieques from Key West, was the only fishing guide on the entire island.  The fish John is holding is the very first permit ever caught on fly on Vieques.  It also might be the only one ever caught on a fly down there because in the five years that I guided on the island, none of my anglers managed to land one.  I had several hooked up but they all managed to get free.  Unlike Key West, there just weren't that many permit on Vieques so we rarely got shots at them.  

Finally, if you click on the photo and enlarge it, you'll notice that Capt. Franco is wearing a Green Bay Packers hat.  I kind of remember him being a Cheese Head for some reason, but I'm a die-hard Steelers Fan so he looses a few points in my book for that one.  Either way, Franco is a great guide and Vieques is an awesome bonefishing destination and you might even get a shot at a permit while you're at it.  If you're heading that way give him a call at (787)450-3744.