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Archive of posts filed under the Grouper category.

101 Not Out

Strange title for blog, but with the recent cricket scores from down under and yet another new weird and wonderful fish, I put my research hat on.

Great to see Dave, Leslie and Stuart again for their second trip this year and Brian, another regular, came with them. During a windy day we found ourselves deep in the mangroves and Leslie found herself attached to a strange fish. Not long before, I had seen a picture of a guitar fish in a mag so, sounding like a prof I declared, “Oh, that’s a guitar fish”.

We have always been lucky with strange fish and, with the reference books, I decided to count up all the different species we have caught. It came as a big surprise that the total is now 101. Foot note to the guitar fish: if we had got it back live it was worth $500+.

The rest of the week the fish was good as normal, nice to see the fly rods out again, and Brian certainly had his fair share of good fish including a 150lb+ stingray (full story next blog) shark and mac.

Back to the capture of the guitar fish – Leslie always does well, and the way she handled probably the biggest bull shark I have ever seen was top notch. Well done.

Back in the UK for the holidays so if anyone wants to phone, please call on 01668 216173.

Stay warm,

Rodney

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

It was good to see the Keating brothers at last this year. Their first trip this year was cancelled due to the ash cloud. Mixed feelings about this, but I suppose unlike a boat or car you can’t just pull over.  Back to the Keatings’ trip, like I have said before the first few trips to the Keys tend to just blow people away, then comes the wish list. On one day Alan said, “I have always wanted to catch a big Dorado”, so game on.

I love it. Well, first day we found a textbook mark 600ft colour change and a few birds, and we even had live ballyhoo baits, but no Dorado. Next day still on a small weed line in 250ft but this weed line had a bit of bait, so slow speed trolling with just hand held rods. Then, as is often the case with trolling, BANG – fish on and a big Dorado for Alan.

Hence the blog title The Good, Alan’s Dorado. The bad a Scorpion Fish, spines with venom. The Ugly everyone fish to hate – a Catfish.

So, Alan, what’s the next challenge?

Stay lucky,

Rodney.

Tiger Tiger Burning Bright

Last week’s guests, regular Eric Muench and friends, achieved a new boat PB. We have always been lucky with tiger shark, catching more than our fair share. Most captains in the Keys only rarely see tigers but we catch may be 4 or 5 a year, but Eric topped this with 3 in one trip.

Eric takes the self drive option and now with many trips under his belt is really doing well. Don’t worry about me having a few days off – my darling wife finds plenty for me to do. You know the score guys, do one job on the list and two more appear.

Back to the fishing, I took the boat one day as Eric had things to do and we nailed a good black grouper. It’s amazing that after 12 years we are still finding new ways to catch fish and my new method of grouper fishing has yielded blacks to over 50lb.

Back to the tigers, in my opinion the nicest looking shark in the water. A few weeks ago a large group were seen around a dead whale near Key West. In fact the world record was caught feeding on a dead whale but the record was thrown out as they deemed the angler was using mammal chum, bet that sucked.

Stay lucky,

Rodney

3 2 1

3 2 1 doesn’t refer to Dusty Bin but the number of times my first party this session have been fishing with me.  Kevin: 3 times,  Dave: twice and, newcomer to Fish the Dream, John.

Maybe a better title for the blog would be: “It all comes to those who wait”, and we had to wait when, after a promising first afternoon with a 200lb+ shark, the weather turned a bit windy.  I always tell guests, if you imagine a flat calm day I have 200+ spots to take you to but as the wind speed gets up the number decreases.  It’s also very hard for people who have been before, as they just want to get back to a favourite mark.  Well this was the case this week, when 20mph winds from the north kept us tucked in on the south side of the island and in the mangroves.   Plenty of small fish and always the chance of a big one but it was not where we all wanted to be, and newcomer John was wondering what all the hype was about.  But I suppose we were catching.

Last day and the pressure was on, so we just went for it.  I am lucky with my boat as big seas are no problem, so north 20 miles into the bay to a favourite wreck.

Well she did not let us down and the weather gods smiled as well, with dropping winds it was full on ’till dark.  Goliath grouper to 150, spinner shark to 80, keeper snapper and gag grouper.  Soon in the chum slick we had ballyhoo, the candy of all the mackerel in the Keys, and when a 7lb cero hit the deck out came the sushi kit and shore lunch at sea – YUM YUM.

To finish the day and trip off, it was fitting that newcomer John found out what the Keys is all about and after dancing around the boat a 30lb+ king mackerel was boated.

Well done John and all.  I hope to see you all again for the 4 3 2 trip.

Rodney

PS Thanks all for letting me do no lifting to aid my hernia recovery.

Keys on Fire

Wow!  What a week!  Despite fishing here for nearly 12 years and running Fish the Dream for more than 6 years, some weeks blow me away.

Neil, a regular from Ireland, came with 3 newcomers and what a week they had, starting with a giant sawfish in the 700 to 800lb range and taken just yards from where we caught one last year.  A once in a life time experience, twice in two years.

At last the water is back to normal temps and the tarpon are running big style.  The biggest this week broke the boat PB fight record – 2hrs 35mins and took our boat 3.49 miles.  It was too big to get in, probably near 200lb.  So big you could have put a saddle on it.  Grouper to over 300 on the gulf wrecks cobia to 25 and permit over 20.  Also this week a fantastic tiger shark over 200lb, in my opinion the nicest looking shark in the sea.  And to mark the reopening of grouper season a stunning 35lb black on a deep atlantic wreck.  Also the start of the dorado trolling offshore.

What a week and despite the worry of ash clouds on the way home Neil and his friends headed home tired from big fish and a bit sunburnt, but with memories that will last a lifetime.

All the local guides reckon that the tarpon season will last well into July – a good opportunity to take advantage of our summer specials – JUST £55 PER PERSON PER DAY and only a few dates left.

Cheers, Rodney.