What is the media writing about Capt. Robert McCue? The answer is far too long to fit on our Florida fishing website, but here are some snippets.
Year 2000 National Geographic
Featured and Ranked (Capt. Robert McCue) as One of America's Top 100 Adventures
| St. Petersburg
Times "Gulf to Bay" Weekend Magazine "Tempted By Tarpon"
...Robert McCue is the undisputed heavyweight when it comes to catching and releasing tarpon....
-Terry Tomalin, Outdoor Editor, The St. Petersburg Times 7MAY10
"Free rides tough to get with McCue"
"A perfect score is rare among tarpon fishermen, but McCue has been able to manage...(his) trips provide a quick sure-fire way to get your string stretched"
Frank Sargeant, Outdoor Editor Tampa Tribune, Book Author, Winner of more than 50 National Awards and World-Renowned Expert in Flats Fishing
"Pasco County boat Captain (McCue) turns pursuit of tarpon into a science"
Warren Hart, St. Petersburg Times
" Tarpon Hunting with the Bounty Hunter, He (we) got our fish"
" ...and they said tarpon season was long over...somebody needs to tell McCue"
Nick Stubbs, Suncoast /Tampa Tribune Publications (former Senior News Editor), Freelance Journalist
"...McCue is a relentless charter skipper that will make you believe he can think like a snook...He's not too modest to admit he has earned a reputation as a fish getter, but not so cocky to concede he's always learning the game...among small circles of fishing he (McCue) changed the meaning of flats fishing in this area"
Nick Stubbs, Suncoast /Tampa Tribune Publications (former Senior News Editor), Freelance Journalist
"...McCue is an
expert on putting folks onto trophy snook, redfish, and trout, it's tarpon that receives
his undivided attention...(McCue) has discovered new wrinkles and has elevated fishing for
tarpon to something approaching an exact science"
Fisherman Magazine (Texas), Nationally Syndicated Author, 30 Year Outdoor Editor of the
"...McCue is an expert on putting folks onto trophy snook, redfish, and trout, it's tarpon that receives his undivided attention...(McCue) has discovered new wrinkles and has elevated fishing for tarpon to something approaching an exact science"
Herb Allen, Gulfcoast Fisherman Magazine (Texas), Nationally Syndicated Author, 30 Year Outdoor Editor of the Tampa Tribune
"...(McCue) who is considered by many as arguably the best snook fisherman north of Charlotte Harbor..."
Ted Swing, Hernando Today Newspaper, Senior Sports Editor
"...many fishing guides have
the knowledge to get you in to and out of these spots...but few have built reputations for
this sport (McCue)..."
Capt. Dave Markett, Florida Sportsman Magazine
"...Captain Rob McCue... Master Snooker..."
Frank Sargeant, Masters Book of Snook,Outdoor Editor Tampa Tribune, Book Author, Winner of more than 50 National Awards and World-Renowned Expert in Flats Fishing
"...it was no surprise when McCue guided me to a grand slam (tarpon, snook, redfish, trout) but to do so for each of the three anglers on board that day, that was something I can say I've never witnessed in my entire career before..."
Herb Allen, referring to "TRIPLE SLAM" featured in 1997 Florida Sportsman Magazine, Nationally Syndicated Author, 30 Year Outdoor Editor of the Tampa Tribune
In The News
PTTS Championship Pattern McCue/Sign Zoo Won After Downsizing Line
Friday, June 29, 2007
He's one of the busiest fishing guides on the Pass, so he knows the water – so cross that off the factors he had to overcome to win. Yet he didn't do so hot in the five qualifying events, and just made it into the championship at 19th in the total points - "very low for us," he noted. So what changed for the championship? Just line size. He downsized from 50-pound-test to 40-pound-test, the minimum line size allowed by the PTTS. (Really it was team member Brian Timmons, McCue's mate on his charters and the main man when it comes to prepping everything for the PTTS tournaments, who did the downsizing.)
Even though the water was pretty clear this year in the Pass, McCue stuck with 50- and 60-pound line. "We fish heavier tackle than most of the of the teams," he said. "I knew throughout this season that we weren't doing as well and knew why, but didn't want to downscale our tackle. If we got a big fish on, I wanted to catch it. I didn't want to change anything that been successful for us in the past."
When it came to the recent past, meaning this year, the heavier line obviously wasn't successful. So he made the decision to "take a chance for the Jim Beam Tarpon Cup Championship and go at it that way," he said. After the tournament Saturday, "I told a lot of teams, 'Tomorrow we're coming out with 40 (pound test) and are going to compete with you guys."
Competition: Weighed Early
Day 1: 131 + 144 = 275 (1st)
Day 2: 131 (plus the 275 = 406)
On day 1 of the championship (Sunday), McCue's team released the first fish of the tournament: an 80-pounder about 20 minutes in. A good sign.
It took them only about an hour to bring their first tarpon to the scales, a 131-pounder. McCue was interviewed by a PTTS TV host at the scales, who asked some version of "what's next?" McCue said: "We're going to back out there and get another one, and come right back."
He was just having fun, but that's exactly what happened. As the Team Sign Zoo boat was heading back out to the fleet, it went across Light House Hole. They saw some fish in there that no one else was on, so they dropped down and 30 seconds later had another fish on. Twenty minutes later they'd weighed that fish, a 144-pounder.
Because of the two-fish limit, they were done fishing for the day -with 3 hours still left in the tournament that day. On the second fish, McCue said: "It was just one of those things - a bunch of fish nobody was on." His two fish were decent, but not nearly as big as the typical fish weighed this year in PTTS events. Why did he decide to weigh them? "I'm a fishing guide out there 7 days a week, so I pretty much know what's getting caught throughout the week," he said. "I knew there was an abundance of smaller fish out there, and I felt confident that a lot of teams wouldn't even be able to get two fish."
He felt the fish would hold up enough that they'd be in the Top 5 after day 1, but was a little surprised they ended up in 1st.
Going into day 2 (Monday), a one-fish day, they only had a 4-pound lead over Team Fastlane, so McCue knew they had to boat another decent fish.
McCue didn't second-guess himself. "It didn't matter to me because we'd made a decision, and I'd been in this position before. Last year in week 5, we had a 170-pounder (when it was) lines out (of the water), and in the next 10 minutes we got beat by a 173 and a 178. That's unheard of.
"It's never over in that place until it's over. Any one of those teams could've done it.
"I have a lot of respect for those guys, but I felt pretty sure nobody was going to be able to do it. Even though that's not necessarily a large tournament fish, I felt like it wasn't going to be beat."
He was also reassured when he saw Marty Scott on the Fastlane boat gaff a fish that he estimated was 90 or 100 pounds. "I told the guys that actually was a smart move because he didn't feel like he was going to get one bigger, and there was still a half hour left of fishing. When I saw that, I knew he was thinking the same thing we were."
It ended up being a smart decision for McCue because his team won by 32 pounds. It was their first PTTS win in 3 years of trying.
The win was "huge because this is the fist year they actually did a (2-day) event," McCue said. "To set that precedent was a huge win."
Main Factor In Their Success
McCue- "My knowledge of the bottom of Boca Grande Pass. I've spent half my life in there, and I think the key there is knowing the bottom."
McCue- "I designed a gaff that has a spring locking mechanism so that once the locking mechanism comes over the lip of the fish, it can't jump off the gaff. Oftentimes when a fish is green, you can put the gaff through its lower jaw but then it can jump and come off the gaff. It's difficult to keep secrets out there, so I decided since the secret (of his gaff) was out, I'd go into production and make a limited number of my tarpon gaffs and sell them this year. Most (PTTS) guys are using them already." (Check them out at www.LockjawGaff.com -Ed .)
McCue has been a full-time fishing guide for 21 years. He guides on the flats for snook, redfish and trout, but guides only for tarpon from April 15 to Sept. 1. Contact him at 800-833-0489 or at GiantTarpon.com.
Television coverage of the 2007 PTTS season begins on the Sun Sports cable channel July 5. The program airs Thursday and Saturday at noon, Friday at 5:00 p.m. and Sunday at 10:00 p.m . The series also airs on various other nationaly syndicated outdoor channels.
1. SignZoo/Gianttarpon.com -- 406 pounds -- 2202 Century Bay Boat w/ F250 Yamaha and aluminum trailer (valued at $50,000)
Day 1: 131 + 144 = 275
Day 2: 131
2. TA Mahoney/Tire Kingdom -- 368 -- $10,000
Day 1: 137 + 120 = 257
Day 2: 111
3. Fastlane -- 353 -- $5,000
Day 1: 136 + 135 = 271
Day 2: 82
4. Famous Craft -- 265 -- $1,000
Day 1: 115 + 150 = 265
Day 2: 0
5. Century/Trolling Thunder -- 251 -- one set of free tires from Tires Plus
Day 1: 133 + 118 = 251
Day 2: 0
Other Stats (over both days)
87 tarpon hooked---52 tarpon released---22 tarpon weighed---100% released alive
The story: Years ago, when jig fishing for tarpon in Boca Grande Pass was becoming popular, McCue said there was a concerted effort by some extremist of the Boca Grande Fishing Guide Association (BGFGA) to have the practice outlawed.
"These are the old-school pass guides who drift live bait to the schools of fish in bigger boats with bigger tackle. In sharp contrast, jig guides — many of whom are seasonal residents of Charlotte County — use a much more aggressive approach, positioning directly over fish marked by sonar in smaller boats. "The two practices just don't mix. And it's created a lot of hard feelings. Basically, they tried to get jig fishing banned, saying we were stressing out fish with too light of tackle and snagging fish."
These charges were taken seriously by the state of Florida, which spent more than a quarter million dollars over three years riding along with guides of both philosophies. Jig fishermen were ultimately vindicated two years ago and old-time live baiters-many of whom were third- or fourth-generation guides- retreated to working the pass at night, when jiggers weren't present.
"They were also losing a good bit of business to jig guides and that went a long way in creating a lot of hard feelings," McCue said. As a vocal proponent of jig fishing, McCue said he was "singled out in a fishery turf war and they picked the right guy".
There's also more than a little bit of irony in the "traditional" live baiters' beef with those who drop hardware for silver kings. It seems that the very first tarpon fishing guides, long before anyone thought to drop heavy balls of lead to the fish, were those who waited for the outgoing tide to go slack and then row their skiffs to the pass. There they held the boat over the holes while clients dropped heavy spoons to the fish.
"It's the same philosophy with what we're doing today. The traditional outfit for those guides was white shirts, bowties and the old Greek fishing hats, which is what we wear during tournament," said McCue. "I'm a proud Irishman and playing the pipes is just another way of sticking it, or I should say paying homage, in my own way. Like a jigger, the Irish have always fought as second class citizens, only to become champions and presidents."
McCue says Will's wife Jen will be aboard their boat in the morning, Will having to be at work.
"She's a good player, too. I think we're in good hands," he said.
Robert McCue and mate Brian Timmons, guiding Don and Angela Hinton of
Gaffney, S.C., brought a monster tarpon to their boat at Boca Grande last
to McCue, the fish taped 87 inches to the fork of the tail, and had a
48-inch girth. Using the standard formula, the fish should have weighed
close to 250 pounds, which might have made it a U.S. and Florida record.
The measuring was witnessed by Tampa captain Don Mason.
McCue said that his mate hooked the fish before handing it over to Hinton,
so the catch would have been disqualified under IGFA rules. Only one
angler can touch the rod during a fight. After a quick photo, the fish
swam away unharmed, McCue said.
Rob McCue of Tarpon Springs and angler Daniel Saey of Charlottesville,
N.C., brought an even larger tarpon to the boat at Boca Grande on
Thursday. The fish measured 90 inches to the fork and had a girth of 46
1/2 inches. Based on the weight formula, that would have put it at about
243 pounds, making it the largest tarpon ever landed at the big pass and
possibly matching the largest landed in U.S. waters. A 243-pounder was
landed at Key West in 1975.
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