Jose "Pepe" Lopez - 16lb Bonefish, Wind Knots, & Cracked Crabs
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Jose "Pepe" Lopez is a legendary big bonefish catching giant. He learned his craft from many of the old school, iconic guides such as Harry Snow Jr., Billy Knowles and Timmy Carlile. His family, like many other well know angling families (such as Chico Fernandez’s,) left Cuba in 1959 when Castro became the infamous nightmare he evolved to. Pepe was one year old at the time and ten years later his Dad built a house on stilts near mile maker 17. Sugarloaf and its surrounding water would become his playground. With a 15 foot Mitchel boat he named "REEL THING" and a 40 Evinrude, this young man was destined to become the man to beat in the All Tackle Bonefish Tournaments many years later, which he won five times with the late Capt. Billy Knowles. He also won the IGFA (International Game Fish Association) World Championships and The Redbone Series. No one cares how many times you get second, but there were plenty of those for this driving force of an angler. All Tackle tournaments are just that. You can use bait, jigs, flies, spinning reels, bait casters and fly rods. To win these things you need to have a vast spectrum of skills as an angler and as a guide. The points per each division vary with the difficulty of options. The biggest bonefish in the world lived in the Florida Keys at one point, and the All Tackle Tournaments caught the largest ones because of the option of bait; crabs and shrimp were the food of choice for these dinosaurs. Yes, they caught large fish on fly and jigs too, but believe me, those monster fourteen and fifteen pound bonefish loved meat! On today's podcast, we hang with one of the most driven people I know. His business acumen is international, expanding on what his father did for a living which was electrical distribution. It’s hard to believe he’s an introvert when you're around him but he is, and his time whacking trees and pulling weeds in his yard is what he cherishes most. His privacy is his home water now, a self proclaimed loner. The drive down from his main home in Miami is daunting with terrible traffic but his heart is in the Keys, always will be. Unfortunately, his fishing days are all but over. It’s sad, here’s a man who’s caught over 200 thirteen pound bonefish, won all the great bait tournaments, was raised during the prime decades of the Florida Keys fishery and now at 64, Pepe lives a fishing life through his vivid memory bank filled with stories mostly dreamers see. He said “When the big bonefish left with the freeze in 2010 my heart went with them!” Here is Pepe Lopez everybody, one of the greats!
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