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The wreck please

It still amazes me how certain fish get under the skin of anglers on our fishing holidays. In the Florida Keys one of these fish is the amberjack and in the case of Dave and Kevin they have caught it bad. On their penultimate day the weather was fine and the whole sea was open for business but the order was put in the deep wreck please so off we went. On his first drop part timer Chris again showed us all beginers luck and a hard fighting tuna was landed.

This one was a little tunny not the best eating tuna but still doing what all tuna do that is not to give up and fight like crazy, well done again young Chris. Kevin stayed on the bottom rod with live bait and yes the reef donkeys were still there so game on. These fish are serious puppies and its easy to see why they wanted to go back to the wreck.

 After a good beating up and many nice fish to the boat it was getting very hot so a change. The question was asked are there permit on the slightly shallower wrecks so with the phrase if you don’t go you wont know off we went and some nice 28mph air conditioning on the way. These wrecks were made when the old 7 mile bridge was taken down at the old turntable to allow boats to pass and the wreckage was dumped in 100ft some 8 miles into the Atlantic. This is a top fishing mark and where nearly all the local permit come to spawn so an anglers magnet. Well try as we might no permit but guess what young Chris woke us all up with a stunning 24lb cobia. This is one off the top eating fish in the Keys and we all dined with style that night. Well done Chis again or have I said that before for a part timer who had a PB of 1.5lb he has shown us all how to do it or is it just the magic of fishing.

Boat PB smashed

Its funny out here in the Florida Keys some days it doesnt go to plan but you still end up with a fantastic day. The other day this very much the case at the planning meeting it was the goliath groper wreck and the big on for Chris little did he know what was going to happen on the last day. At the wreck all baits out but it was a shark frenzy all the grouper hooks gone so it was a case of enjoy or move and when I told the guys the boat PB for shark was 32 it was game on.

Dave had the most including a bonnethaed shark these are not baby hammerhead but a true species and a gamy little fighter. Most of the shark were blacktip and spinner which are two different species. The spinner making many jumps during the fight in between the long hard runs.

A nice one for Chris and these fish come aboard with no problem I was shown how to do this some years ago and it always comes as a bit of a surprise to the angler after a very spirited fight. Well the numbers were mounting up and soon 32 was passed and still they kept coming. Kevin had the biggest on a live bait on a tarpon rod the line was just screaming of the reel and after 300yds had gone we had to mark the anchor and follow. A long drawn out fight started but Kevin had this one beat and after nearly 1.25 miles a 120lb blacktip was released by the boat.

Well the new boat PB is 48 shark to the leader or landed and this was with just 3 anglers, me thinks this will stand for sometime. No grouper but a boat load of happy but very tired anglers.

A VERY VERY Special day

Well my friend Lee Jasper emailed me saying this wish list might become a stick to hit me with and I think he could be right. On arriving Kevin said on his wish list could his son catch a 100lb + grouper. On our first trip to the goliath wreck it was shark city we smashed the boat shark PB and got through a box at $48 of grouper hooks but no big grouper to the boat. Sorry this blog is out of order but you will realise why at the end. So at our planning meeting for the last day the wish list had an empty box under 100lb grouper so of to the wreck once more. After going nearly 20 miles it sucks to find a boat on your chosen mark so with heavy hearts we dropped anchor half a mile away and decided to catch some grouper bait and watch the other boat. Luck was on our side and after about 2 hrs the other boat left so game on. After a couple of drops we had the perfect anckor set and baits down, yes the shark were still here but Chris started off with a 120lb + hammerhead the smile says it all.

Then Dave started us all of with a nice 50lb + fish, this is small for this wreck but it meant two things the grouper were on the feed and we were in the right spot. Then the box was ticked and young Chris had a 150lb+ grouper a fishing holiday at Fish the Dream had delivered again.

Then it was Kevins turn on the big rod despite a small bait only about 4lb, I have used baits up to 18lb, he had a big and I mean BIG fish on it took two of us on the rod but we got it out of the wreck and to the boat. A near 400lb fish the only problem with very big fish its hard to judge the size by the boat so I said how about going in and swimming with the fish for some amazing photos and Kevin jumped in. Well the resulting photos show just how amazing these fish are and all this is happening in just 10ft water.

You know what its like when you have reach a point that you think cant be bettered well this day just got better. Chris high on adrenaline after his dads fish wanted a bigger one but we were running out of tide and bait so a small 2lb bait was sent down to the wreck and what happened seems like a dream this morning. Well before the wreck a slow bite and thinking it was another shark we sett the drag and let the circle hook do the rest. The water erupted and a near 7ft Tarpon jumped clean out of the water we were all speechless just the magic of the Florida Keys. Despite being on the 80lb grouper rod this huge tarpon put up an amazing fight long hard runs a big jumps WOW. At last the fish was by the boat this was one big puppy the biggest tarpon I have seen in over 13 years fishing in the Keys. We were able to get accurate measurement and using the calculator at the bonefish and tarpon trust this fish came out at 209lb YES 209lb. This young lad came here with a PB of 1.5lb and has left with a catch list many men spend all there lives trying to get. You will all have to wait for the photos of this fish as they are on a card I cannot read so Dave will email them to me, me thinks they will be back and young Chris will smile for ever more.

Dorado please ?

It seems that everyone who comes on a fishing holiday with us reads the blog about the wish list and thinks I can tick the box well I think I do pretty well but they call it fishing not catching. This day dawned flat calm seas and on Kevins wish list was dorado it is still a bit early in the season but boats were catching but the Atlantic is a big ocean and some days a very empty one. At the planning meeting, Helens Florida Fry, it was also said on the way can we have a go at those amberjack as well. We decided to put Chris on a jigging rod as this with a spinning reel is more balanced to a novice fisherman, Kevin was going down with a live bait and Dave was jigging as well. What a difference a few days make flat calm seas would they still be there. Well they were from 120ft to the bottom at 200ft wall to wall amberjack first on was Chris with a loud WHOOOOOO the reef donkey was taking him on a ride. He managed a nice one in the 20s and Dave had a nice one as well. Kevin was having a little harder time on the bottom for such big fish they have soft mouths and with the long hard runs many come off. At last Kevin had the big one in the boat near 50lb a cracking fish well done. It was getting very hot and with no wind wrecking was taking it out of all of us big time so trolling for the elusive dorado was the next plan.

It is a big place but we were lucky to find a small piece of wood in about 700ft as we were heading to the tuna humps for the afternoon bite and it was game on with some schoolies what fun, jumps runs and the colours are just amazing. Take three nice eating size fish and put the rest back. If you have the time Google up life of the dorado they only live 2 to 3 years grow to 40lbs in 12 months and breed at 12 weeks old mad or what.

Well all getting to hot and no tuna and dinner on ice so back home for a cold shower and and even colder beer box ticked yet again, now there talking about a 100lb grouper for young Chris why do I do this to myself.

PB or what

Its great so see Kevin and Dave back they were here only 5 months ago some people just cant get enough I am only to pleased to oblige. This time Kevin has brought his son Chris to what all this fuss is about. Chris is apparently what you would call a casual fisherman and when they told me his PB was only about 1.5 lbs it was game on but 1.5lbs in the Florida Keys that would be to small for some of our baits. They arrived early and found me cleaning the boat for there official start the next day but persuaded me a dirty boat in the bay fishing was a better option. Well I pride myself on my clean boat but they won and we all found ourselves on a general mark catching snapper and mixed fish and Chris breaking his PB on nearly every fish. Enough I cried big bait in lets do this the proper way and half a mackerel went in on the shark rod you should have seen poor Chris worried or what. Well the float went under in a nice slow way so time to explain it all to an apprehensive Chris then fish on and a somewhat gently fight. Now I knew this was a nurse shark a bag of s****  to hardcore anglers but just what the doctor would order for someones first shark. When the fish was by the boat it was O MY GOD from poor Chris and when I said would you like it on your lap for a photo the poor guy was wondering if he had done the right thing coming on a fishing holiday with his dad. Well fish in and a silly photo but on he will remember for a long time. PB well and truly smashed from 1.5lb to near 150lb on his first day just wait till we get him to the goliath grouper wreck.

We were running out of daylight so back to the dock and on the way home a Chamber of Commerce sunset in fact I stopped the boat for the green flash, has anyone seen this mythical green flash.

Back at the dock all the talk was about the amberjack of last week and any chance of dorado and what about some tuna. Seems this blog is a doubled sided sword good but it comes back to haunt me but I say BRING IT ON.

The tale of two sharks part two

They tell us that shark numbers are on the way down this might be a global thing but here in the Florida Keys the numbers are very high some days to high unless you like shark fishing. The last day for the Bromley boys funnily enough it was can we go back to the AJ wreck for a start as I say the anglers control what we do so off into the Atlantic we went again. On getting to the wreck we all realised that we should not be here, big seas 5 to 7 ft waves and the odd 8ft one the boat is ok  but when fighting big fish you need two hands on the rod so it was challenging to say the least but we were here so lets have a couple of drifts. Well the fish were still there and soon it was fish on and trying to jam your body somewhere to fight the fish. Then Graham shouts I just cant stop this one and his fish was heading down big style, then a change of fight and he started to gain line. Then the fish was by the boat well just the 13lb head, a 40lb to 50lb fish had just been sharked so what shark bites a 50lb fish off well a big one.

It was to rough to stay and once the men in grey coats have arrived its time to go so head the boat north through the 7 mile bridge and a nice smooth spot to finish the fishing holiday. On Daves wish list was a king mackerel so out went a live blue runner on the kite but the chum slick meant for the macs will bring in the shark as well. Big explosion on the surface and fish on Dave was running out of line and the first run was over 300yds so throw the anchor and follow. Long drawn out fight in fact 59 mins and over 1.5 miles from the hook up and a nice near 200lb lemon shark by the boat well done Dave or is it sharky Dave.

So its bye bye to Graham, Dave, John and Steve for an other year as my wife pointed out they have come every year since the start of Fish the Dream fishing holidays in the Florida Keys and have booked for 2012, so we must be doing something right.

Wrecking big time

Here at Fish the Dream fishing holidays I pride myself in being able to adapt and change at short notice to give the complete Florida Keys fishing adventure. The boat helps fantastically being  just as happy 30 miles offshore in big seas to drifting the flats in less than 2ft. The other day proved the point again, we started off at 7 mile bridge and Dave had a nice near 20lb permit but the tide slowed so it was decided to go offshore trolling for dorado. On the way out about 8 miles offshore we were near on of my 200ft wreck so a brief stop was planed. This wreck has produced some good amberjack this season so down went to live baits and two rods were sett up for jigging. Dave was on the live bait and the second his bait touched bottom bang fish on. These ambejack are localy known as wreck donkeys and are very hard to move and just like doing long runs back to the bottom. It took Dave some time but a stunning near 50lb ambejack was boated and after a few photos was put back. Its nice to see these fish return despite coming up 200ft they go back just fine and there weight means to much food to keep so they all go back.

Next it was Johns turn and using Snowbees travel combo rod and a butterfly jig and other amberjack was soon in the boat for its photo session. The rod was amazing its so light but so much power I don’t know how they do it but Snowbee has a winner here.

Its nice to be on a mark when every one hooks up sometimes an angler can miss out but on this day everyone had fish. Graham and Steven soon had fish in for that photo that proves you can fish the dream, so I have said before don’t just dream come and fish. The trolling offshore well the amberjack put pay to that some very tired but happy anglers headed back with smiles and grins.

The tale of two sharks

This blog is about two sharks one good and one bad. It starts the other day in Florida Bay and like many days in the bay we tend to end up on the mad shark mark. Long 100yd + runs jumps and not getting beat up tend to tick a lot of boxes which is why wego there and not being an exact mark no problem with other boats. This day not a good tide run so a little slow for here so a big rod and bait was put out just in case a big shark was putting off the smaller ones. Well we were right, the take of a big shark is different to the smaller ones a slower take and fish on. Young Dave as we all call him was on big time and seemed to be in control, an age thing, so no need to follow. As I say a this stage the first hour is the worse and the first hour came and wen,t gain some line and lose some line the joys of fishing in the Florida Keys. The fish even came to boat to let us all see it and touch the leader and yes it was a big hammerhead about 450lbs nice. On touching leader the shark as is often the case went away again. Graham jumped in to give young Dave a bit of a brake and as I had touched the leader the fish was caught so well done Dave. Shortly after the fish was by the boat for release these fish are just so amazing with the hammer head and long dorsal fins well done Graham as well.

The next shark was the bad one, this story starts on a tarpon morning. We all arrived at the 7 mile bridge at 4.30 am and all was going well. Graham had the first fish on and it was text book throw the anchor back down between the bridge piers on the old bridge spin the boat before the new bridge a few big jumps then out in to the Atlantic to enjoy the fight. Well some one had to say it isn’t this where the big shark are and if by que the water erupted. This just so mind blowing its hard to put in words a 100lb+ fish is just destroyed on the top of the water and in seconds it all back to calm but fish gone Graham was gutted he was doing so well. This happens every year and can be a big problem as once these monster shark over 1000lb get an easy meal they don’t want to leave the area, one has to live in hope.

The wish list

This wish list thing is getting very spooky. The Bromley boys are back, Graham, Dave, John and Steve are here for there annual fishing holiday in the Florida Keys. After getting them in there private flat the first thoughts  lets catch an other big grouper and after coming here for many years some new species would be cool as well. Its a good job I don’t let pressure get to me game on. I am a very lucky guy and have caught many big and small fish all over the world and now just get as big a kick ticking someone wish list. First day just a go into Florida Bay a bit to much wind for the Atlantic ended up on new grouper mark and yes they upset me with lots of big keeper grouper that all had to go back. Then Dave saidthis a new one on us, this is the magic of the Florida Keys you can come for many trips and still catch new fish. Well this little beauty was a hog snapper and a keeper and is on top of my wife’s eating list. All the rest of the crew said that’s Dave just sucking up to Helen for a bigger breakfast.

 

Fish in the cooler we went to the mad shark mark for some light tackle fun and the surreal moment of the trip on day one. John was doing a fantastic job on a lemon shark about 80 to 90lb then the water went dark under the shark a big splash and swirl and lemon gone scary or what. All on board were gobsmacked what the hell just takes a 80lb fish. Well the answer is a BIG and I mean Bigger fisha 1000lb + tiger who wanted and easy meal or a big hammerhead. There is no rule for deep water and big fish in doing fishing holidays for 8 years now our biggest fish a hammerhead 1000 to 1200lb was caught in just 10 YES 10 ft. Second day was a trip to the goliath grouper wreck and Steve managed a near 200lb fish. Notice the circle hook neatly in the corner and it is a 22/o to givesome size of the fish and that’s me giving a  100lb lift as well and only the head out.

Just before we left we were stopped by a Everglades Park ranger in his patrol boat. What a nice guy check all out licences, fish  and safty gear. Just doing his job and keeping the fish stocks the best in the world, the Bromley boys said if only this happened in the UK.

Jane’s tarpon

Well last day in the Florida Keys for Jane and Richard up early and at them. Arriving at 5am at 7 mile tarpon and a big one were on the shopping list. So when we found no current and as they say no run no fun we went to a near by bank to sit out the slack. We put the baits in as there is always a chance and some times the fish don’t read the rule book. After a few minutes Jane’s float went down, pheromones again or what. Then fish on and this puppy was big but no jump and as there was no bridge to worry about I let Jane fight this from an anchored boat. The advantage of crab baits for tarpon is no toothy critters and the only by catch is permit so I called a permit. Skip right again and after a very hard fight a trophy 25lb pemit was in the boat no match for Jane. We jumped a tarpon and missed a few bites and as it was getting light went to get some jacks for sharking later.

Well guess who had the first jack and the biggest yes dear Jane is this getting spooky or what. Then just to prove all the rules wrong Richard hooked a very large tarpon. It was just a joy to watch Richard fight this fish his slow smooth style from carp fish just the right way to fight a 100lb+ tarpon. This fish was a good tarpon did a few jumps in full sun a joy to watch and a run away from all the hassle of the bridge. Soon a very large tarpon was by the boat and leader touched job done and an other one ticked on Richards list.

The rest of the day in somewhat windy conditions was going to be a shark hunt. Despite trying many different marks and lots of small sharks we were pestered by huge nurse shark 100lb+ but a pain and a bag of poo. Well we all know what you will have to do Richard just join the long list of people who come back for an other fishing holiday. A last day with a trophy permit, 100lb+ tarpon, and jacks to 10lb not to shabby look forwards to seeing you both again.