We at Fish the Dream as proud and honoured to announce that our Fishing Holidays in the Florida Keys have been chosen by Sportsquest holidays to be their chosen Florida destination. After over 12 years of making people’s dreams come true its fantastic to now be linked with one of the UK’s top sporting holiday companies. It will not mean any thing different if you book a holiday direct through us just as normal and yes my new website should be up and running very soon but if you want some one to do it all flights and transfers then they can do it all. The really good news is with their massive 113 different fishing destinations after your trip to us in Florida you will get a discount on any of their trips by booking through me. While we have a massive species list now 127 to the boat I know a lot of you still want a massive cod or a ton up halibut not to be found in the Keys and also long haul flights can be a pain. So why not have a look at www.sportsquestholidays.com and pick you new destination and tick a few more boxes.
Back in the Keys summer fishing is in full flow and whilst the tarpon is our iconic spring fish the dorado, mahi-mahi, dolphinfish is the true fish of the summer. Interesting that mahimahi means very strong in Hawiian, dorado comes from the spainish for gold and of course I still smile at newbies getting worried about the amount of fresh dolphin on the menus in the Keys. The facts around dorado still blow me away after all these years. They seldom live over 4 years reach up to 40 in just 12 months, mature at just 3 months, spawn up to 3 times a year up to 1,000,000 eggs and top out at over 100 lbs. Over the years we have had some very special ones and I still remember an angler telling me that I had ruin all his fly fish the sight of nearly 20 multi coloured fish chasing his fly in crystal clear water will live with him forever. Also one of our stranger fights was when we sight fished a group of larger fish we ended up with two anglers fighting the same 28 lb fish just goes to show even with a hook in it the fish still had to feed or as one Capt said those fish feed 25 / 8 .
Sorry yet again for the lack of blogs my somewhat strange health life has just become even stranger. After last years three heart attacks I have been waiting for open heart surgery to replace a valve and an artery to get life back on track. However the last few months I have been getting weaker thinking this was just heart problems living with it. My doctors had other thoughts as the heart was not that bad so it had to be something else and it looks more than likely that I have contracted LEMS a rare autoimmune disease. Not all bad however as it is treatable and hoping I become well enough to at last have the surgery to get back to full and fishy life. Enough of my life I have to say once more a massive thanks to Capt Mike Sovay for keeping our Fishing Holidays in the Florida Keys bang on track and for the last week has been fishing with Arron Standing, a regular at Fish the Dream and his friend Jake Casson.
The one big advantage fishing in the Florida Keys this time of year is the water temp of mid 80’s 30 centigrade is the water is just so inviting and many times a quick dip is just so refreshing. I will have to ask Arron about the photo of a truly massive lady fish they are so much fun on light tackle and are often called the poor man’s tarpon I hope they weighed it. Also Capt Mike sent photos of the latest craze in the Keys, swimming with grouper, for a few years now it has been illegal to take a goliath grouper out of the water. There never seems a good way to show just how big these fish are however if you swim with one you see just how big they are very cool boys and great photo Mike who also took all the photos in this blog.
So if you find yourself in Florida this summer come on down to the Keys and let us Fish your Dream.
After nearly 14 years of running Fishing Holidays in the Florida Keys circumstances beyond my control have forced us to make some changes and big rethink in how we run the holidays. Firstly as all my regulars now must know after last years 3 heart attacks and being left a broken man on heavy and debilitating medication and waiting for open heart surgery I can no longer run the boat. Also after 7 years we have lost our villa and operating base so as you can say a double whammy. So what to do, an understandable and justified course of action would have been just to shut down but with such a large and loyal customer based we thought it was our duty to keep on going and still make those dreams come true. With over 400 marks in the GPS, 127 different species to the boat, engines still under warranty and a very full next two years of bookings the only course of action I think you will agree.
The last two sessions in the Keys we have had the help of Capt Mike Sovay and what an excellent job he had done as you would say ” like a duck to water ” so I have no worries about running the boat. What we have decided to do and change is the costs of the holidays this change has been brought about by suggestions by customers and losing our villa base. So from now on the boat will be run like a normal charter boat with an all-inclusive price to included guiding, fuel, bait and all tackle. With the exception to carry on beyond the normal 8 hour day if the fishing is good and the bite is hot, the charge for this will be per hour pro rata to the normal day rate. If you have booked for 2016 or 2017 you can choose which rate you want the old paying separately for the costs or the new all in package.
After all the days of number crunching and looking back on all the many years of costs the deal will be as below based on four people sharing and pro rata for less than four and all-inclusive deal
£ 143.75 per day full charter to include free rental car for duration of stay
Next to the accommodation over the years we have been doing this we have noticed as regulars have been getting older and retired with a bit more disposable income would prefer a bit more in the accommodation. However we still have hard-working guys who are hardcore fisherman and fishing is more important than where you stay one guy saying ” I would stay in a garage if it meant an extra days fishing “. So with this in mind each party’s accommodation will be sourced individually from basic twin room motel to 3 or more star hotels up to private villas with pools. I will check out all accommodations will try to get the best deal possible passing on all savings to customers.
So big changes but all out of my control but still my main job to make people’s fishing dreams come true which I will carry on trying to do with my best ability.
Sorry yet again for lack of blogs back in the UK and it has been a constant round of doctors tests more doctors and more tests. As many of you will know my three hearts attacks last year has left me a very broken man and on heavy meds any fish over 1 yes 1 lb a no go, very hard after 50 years of chasing and catch big fish all over the world. Pushing very hard for the open heart surgery that should put me back on track and having it sooner than later. Sorry about that personal rant but it is pissing me of more than you can realise so back to Neil’s week.
Neil and Doug were back on their second trip and this time bring Keith who just seemed to fit in and after all the years of doing Fishing Holidays in the Florida Keys ticking boxes for newbies still gives me a fantastic kick. Well glad to report the permit were still on the wrecks while Neil and Doug both had fantastic fish poor Keith lost out to the shark. What did make up for it was yet again fantastic barracuda fish and thanks to Capt Mike’s northern pike trick , very sort and noisy figure of eight action on less than a foot of line, right by the boat fish nearly every time. Neil had one of the bluest fish in the Keys a blue parrot fish and we all had a laugh he had a very blue shirt on at the time.
Tarpon on the other hand not sure why maybe the very big tides but more likely the massive full moon proved a bit harder than normal. The numbers of fish at Bahia Honda just of the charts but even with up to 30 boats just a few fish caught not in my opinion bangs for bucks. So it was back to old school up at silly o’clock and back to 7 mile and yes the same channels I have fished for over 15 years. Guess what fish every morning what do they say if it aint broke don’t fix it, first boat there and 2 for 2 before an other boat even turns up works for me any day. The biggest kick I always get Neil booking for his next trip on his last day, rebooking always keeps me going in these dark days of my personal life.
I suppose it is still a bit surreal for me to sit here in the Florida Keys and do this blog on my 62 nd birthday. As they say old age is a privilege not enjoyed by everyone and many a dark night during my three heart attacks wired up to god knows what and trying to sleep with all the monitors bleeping this all seemed that it would never happen again. Well it did and yes I am back doing what I love hosting Fishing Holidays in the Florida Keys OK I can not reel in a big fish again or run my beloved boat but I can still watch people fish their dreams and with the excellent help of Capt Mike running the boat it’s not a bad option.
The other thing that kept me going during those dark days was the memories of fishing with the like’s of Lee and John who a long time ago went from customers to true friends giving me so much to look back on. Will never forget Lee’s epic 2 hr 23 min fight with a 1000 lb plus shark or him dragging a monster bull shark up from over 500 ft on the tuna grounds. John’s near 100 lb grouper on a fly rod or his lesson thanks to Skype putting a new starter on the boat when he was running my holidays. This years fight with that 45 lb permit will also be a memory that will last for a very long time.
As is the norm with Lee’s weeks we have so many high points Ben’s fight with an over 800 lb 14 ft hammerhead. That shark attack on Steve’s high 100’s tarpon and all on video just so cool. Lee being shown the figure of eight way to catch barracuda and yes it does work they just go on and on.
Just have to say a massive thanks to the likes of Lee and John and all my customers for giving me the reason to fight and carry on.
It’s always been the case that guys on our Fishing Holidays in the Florida Keys once they have ticked the tarpon box the next fish is permit. Now normally this means staking these spooky fish in the very skinny waters on the flats and sight fishing not easy even on a flats boat and very hard in mine but for about two months of the year we have lady luck on our side. This is when the permit spawn and this they do on the deep wrecks in the Atlantic so with the weather gods on our side we have managed two trips during Lee’s group stay. What happens is that all the permit from our local flats make the trip to series of wreckage where they took parts from the old 7 mile bridge and dumped them in just over 100 ft of water. When their numbers get into the hundreds they shoal and swim in a 100 ft cone and do a mass spawn I have spoken to divers who say it is just amazing. So us lucky anglers can throw their faveroite food a small crab over the wreck where there is no natural permit food and bang fish on.
Sounds easy but you have many problems these fish are just so powerful hard to put into words so when they do their power dives back to the wrecks it only takes one touch of the wreck on the line and it is game over. First trip was special not one but two life time trophy fish over 30 lbs one 31 lb and on 33 lbs fish of a life time but even more pleasing to me all anglers had permit back to the boat. Not only do you have the wrecks to take off fish but sharks can be a problem but this was one of those days when it all went right happy anglers and happy guides. No surprise on the last day all hands went up for a tarpon morning then back to the permit wrecks. Poor John lost a very large tarpon so I tapped him on the shoulder and said don’t worry you will just have to catch a 40 lb permit. Guess what that’s just what hid did after a long and hard fight he had our second largest permit ever a slob of 45 lbs in the boat epic !
Very quick blog one of the most amazing mornings I have ever had in the Florida Keys a stunning 1 hr plus fight with a monster near 200 lb 7 ft tarpon then from nowhere an attack by a hammerhead over over 12ft and we guess 1000 lb plus the good news it hit the tarpon more than once but it got away as it was just too big.
If you watch the video and yes sorry for the colourful language but it was all very dramatic we broke the line on purpose better to have the fish get away than get eaten still speechless.
Strange blog title but let me explain. Our Fishing Holidays in the Florida Keys have always been about doing what the customer wants not what we want and with guys coming over 10 times it appears to work. On our last trip we have had regulars Rodney Rigby and his friend George Keywood now on past trips Rodney especially has most of the fish in the Florida Keys so on this trip his plan was to catch as many as he could on his beloved Moocher reel. The Moocher is near enough a centre pin reel and is made by Shimano but for Key’s fish has a couple of basic problems one just 14 in of line back for on handle turn and just a max drag of 5 lb yes just 5 lb of drag. So after we had tick their boxes in the bay and offshore with my ” normal ” the last few days Rodney wanted a permit and tarpon on his Moocher reel and ugly stick rod so off we went.
First the permit while George was having a blast with Permit on our normal gear spinning rods with 40 lb braid and drags up to 15 lb Rodney was on the long waiting game on the Moocher rod. Then it happened ” fish on ” and yes a permit was on the Moocher oh dear the drag was under pressure from the start not only is it just 5 lb but smooth it is not just on and off. Then after a long fight it all went a bit strange the fish rushed to the top and we all saw a near 30 lb permit but the reason it came up was a shark and when you have a shark on a permit it only ends one way. So no permit on the Moocher but Rodney showed it could be done and with no shark it I an sure would have come to the boat. Last morning and George had the first tarpon which took his bait in less than 20 seconds and on our normal gear to the boat in less than 30 now out came the Moocher which I had put 50 yards of 30 lb mono on then the normal gear to give Rodney half a chance. Soon it was fish on and on the Moocher so started a long fight which took us from the dark through dawn and into the day. Now as regulars know we chase down all tarpon but this was the chase to end all tarpon cases and I have to give full marks to Capt Mike his work when the fish was under the bridge was amazing. How ever after well over an hour and the leader touched so fish ” caught ” it was not the reel but the rod exploded. So Rodney proved you can catch fish on none normal gear god knows what my next challenge will be next year yes I worry but it keeps me going.
Yes I know I have used that title before but after over 12 years of running fishing holidays in the Florida Keys and lack of sleep ( thanks tarpon ) sometimes at 5 am the brain is a little tired and guess what with the tarpon running, massive permit on the wrecks and the tuna grounds loaded I reckon it is. The bridges are loaded with the annual migration of tarpon through the Keys and this year as most its not only the tarpon there but an ever increasing amount of big and I mean over 1000 lb sharks who let us poor anglers do all the hard work then take your fish. Yes I know its all natural that big fish eat smaller fish but when you have worked your butt off and fought the fish all round the bridge and got it into open water its just not cricket ! Photo shows the end of poor George,s first tarpon of this trip its not the first and certainly will not be the last such is tapon fishing in the Florida Keys.
Even lost a huge permit yesterday on the deep sea wrecks to a shark good news so far this week both Rodney ( an other Rodney ) and George have both had good permit to the boat. There is this year enough tarpon at Bahia Honda bridge to fish and catch all day is you want and no crazy early starts in fact a first for me we had a tarpon the other day a long way away from the bridge in the open sea. The strange thing about the fight was the fish went all the way back to the bridge much to the amusement of the captains fishing there with a ” where the hell did you guys hook up ” my new secret spot.
The good news about the Keys it is just a week to go to the end of our closed season for all grouper maybe four months is a long time but boy am I looking forwards to those big creamy white fillets its been to long for me. Just to rub it in one of George’s first fish was a keeper black grouper bet he went back telling his mates ” bet that pissed them off ” guess what it did try you luck again next week my ice box awaits.
Sorry yet again and it is still thanks to Windows 10 my blogging is way behind and a very short tip back yo UK to see my 34-year-old son get married on very proud and happy mum and dad but boy the weather up in the far north of the UK not good at all but back in the Keys nice and warm again. So with the sage of Windows 10 and being told at a well know computer store to get the wrong new laptop ( now on number 2 ) it’s a shame that my oldest group of anglers My Bromley boys Graham, Steve, John and Dave have missed out on web time sorry. As normal with them it’s so much more than the fishing and so it should be they are my number one banter crew and I just smile all the time. Weather not perfect and our struggle with conditions but we fish ever day and Capt Mike even got them a four rod hook up at the Tuna grounds Mike is learning so fast cant praise enough.
John even tried and had success with a UK pike float rig that takes the bait on wind drift away from the boat and even against the tide and photos to prove it. If you take the time to think about it the wind does take all the smells and good stuff away as much as the tide so it makes sense to have the wind take away a bait away as well, well done John. Still more than impressed with Dave’s battle with that monster bull shark at near 500 lbs Dave at over 70 yes 70 had it all under control from start to finish at boat side top marks and old guys rule. Waiting on some more photos from the guys so hopefully there will be a Bromley boys part two and yes I am still smiling.
One thing did happen on their trip species number 126 came to the boat but we are having to wait on an official ruling to see if it counts. The problem yes the fish came to and on the boat but it was in the mouth of an other fish said poor pipe fish’s day was just not getting any better first eaten by a grouper and then dragged on to boat will keep the world informed.