A new saltwater record was made when a 51-pound permit was caught off Big Pine Key by Northern Fisheries president and seasoned fisher, Brian Eliason. The feat alone is worthy of recognition, but what most experts find most fascinating is that he used a relatively unknown fly pattern called the Raghead crab fly. Choosing new fly patterns is usually not done for fear that the change will not be effective. Veteran anglers strictly follow the adage of “not fixing what is not broken”.
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However, during the first few attempts at traditional patterns, Eliason found fish to be indifferent to the bait. He came to the idea that perhaps his technique was valid, but the fish were no longer interested in a bigger fly. He experimented with the Raghead pattern (a notoriously smaller bait) and was happily surprised to find the fish charging aggressively towards it. In the end, it was a tippet that caught on and towed the boat for around 70 minutes – missing several coral heads and lobster pots before being taken.
New research is suggesting that effective angling involves more than following standard protocols. Fish behave differently based on locality and even weather conditions. Competent anglers adjust their techniques appropriately based on what they know and their preference. Eliason’s own analysis of the situation surely endorses newer, smaller baits, but the achievement does not lessen the effectiveness of traditional methods.
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