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Busman’s holiday take 2

Last week I found myself in the south of England where I grew up and now over 50 years ago started as my wife says my obsession with fishing. Managed to get two early morning passes so decided to target two old quarries tench and plaice. If you are thinking why would a guy who runs fishing holidays in the Florida Keys want to catch tench and plaice, well to me I just love fishing and yes in Florida fish over 100 lbs happen nearly every day but the sight of tench bubbles then the float sliding away or the rattle of a hungry plaice still excite as the did all those years ago. Also now days it is also not just about the fishing but who you are fishing with in fact now I have ticked nearly all my must have fish it is more about them than the fish. First morning I was on a stunning lake fished by Lee Jasper and to say hopes were high was an understatement. Everything was spot on and as dawn came eyes were pinned to the floats but dawn came and went but old orange eyes was not having it, roach and rudd every cast but that solid strike into a powerful fish did not happen. Normally when I fish with Lee he is bent double into something very big and when he was into that 1000 lb + hammerhead a few years ago his comment ” the second hour sucks as well ” during his 2 hr 23 min fight will be with me forever.



So on to a morning with old friend Jim Whippy with plaice and bream on the to do list out of Eastbourne on the south coast. Jim is a partner in the selfdrive boat hire run by Hartwell and we were using their main boat check the operation out at  the boat was spot on and if you can handle a boat I am sure you will have fish just as we did. Soon the rod tips were rattling to old orange spots and we soon had enough fat plaice for tea then off to Jim’s bream mark. Pouting every drop and Jim even managed two small huss then as the tide picked up Jim had a couple of bream but a very strong tide ended a very enjoyable morning.

More tarpon

At Fish the Dream fishing holidays in the Florida Keys we have become a victim of our own success and for the last few years we have been fully booked for the main tarpon season April, May and June now with taking on a local guide we will be able to offer double capacity during the tarpon run.  Just as I said for our now summer fishing all we be the same just as I have been running for now over 10 years the anglers come first and you just let us know what you want to catch and when you want to start and when you want to finish. In fact if you fish with Capt Brent you will get a bigger boat and his dad is doing the B + B and you will get a bigger room and no doubt a bigger breakfast just love the Americans. Will you get a bigger tarpon we will see I am up for the challenge as his he and yes I am lucky I have guided to a 209 lb tarpon what a beast and lost even bigger !



As I have said before the Florida Keys are so much more than just tarpon but you do have to tick the box and hope you don’t get tarponitus to bad. We have now had 116 different species back to the boat and fish over 1000 lbs if you want big and even 56 species in 6 days fishing if you want variety . I was recently told by a guest why he comes ever year, we are now over 75 % repeat, ” you just get it right and the guest is always number one ” well to me it is not rocket science the guy or girl has come 4000 miles and wants to catch fish and in the Florida Keys it is a no brainer. Talking of ladies fishing if you have a no fishing partner then the Florida Keys is a very good place to take them and I have lost count of the ladies who have come out and gone out for just one trip and then got the fishing bug big time.

The left hand arrives

Those guys at Release Reels are on the ball big time and when we suggested that small multipliers have a very strong left hand wind following in Europe they were on the case. I am pleased to say you can now buy the reel in left hand wind here in the UK just give Snowbee  UK a ring and they will let you know your nearest dealer. I have been helping out Release with the development of the reel and a few small changes have been made to make a very good reel even better. The strange ergonomic rubber handle just not look right and does not take a very good photo but I strongly advise anyone thinking about this reel just try it.  All the anglers on my boat in the Florida Keys where we have been using the reels for some just love the handle say ” wow it just works ” and it does.  However the people at Release do listen and the question was ask ” how about a big ball handle and again in no time the Magnum handle was born so you now have a choice.




If you are new to this reel go to and have a good look at the reel and just see the features and specification for this all American made reel that is taking the market by storm. Please don’t just take my word for I brought back a left hand reel for a friend of mine Rupert Dury who loves his small bait cast rods and just finds a left hand reel works so much better. Read his review on the link below he has been using the reel for over a month and loves it. The one unique feature that this reel has that no other reel has it Release is so sure about the quality of the reel they offer a LIFETIME WARRANTY  this has been taken up by Snowbee so if there is a problem all you have to do is send it to them in Plymouth.

Busman’s holiday

So what does a guy who runs fishing holidays in the Florida Keys do when he finds himself packing to go on a holiday to Tuscany do well of course slip in a travel rod. For the last four years we have been going to Tuscany in indulge my wife’s passion for classical music to see Andrea Bocelli  sing in his now famous outside concert in the Tuscan Hills. Sorry not my thing at all in fact I find it very hard to stay awake and most years towards the end I drop off. Three years ago driving near the venue I spotted what is a flooded quarry which some years ago was stocked with carp and they have done very well and now the place is run as a commercial fishery. The place is spot on, level fishing pegs, seats, loads of rubbish bins, tables and barbeques  a good cafe bait and tackle shop. In fact it is such a nice place locals come for Sunday lunch with table cloths and a spread of food that just has to be seen.  When I was a boy most of my carp fishing was done at dusk or dawn but these Tuscan fish have not read the rule book and feed and feed hard all day long. With temps in the mid thirty’s and not a cloud in the sky my best fish this year just over 10 lb was taken at midday.


Maybe its the boy in me or just bringing back 50-year-old memories but watching a bright float quiver then slide away still very special and boy even the smaller fish here pull very hard. This year I tried for me something radical, pop up baits not sure I was doing it right but I was told to keep the bait about 2 in of the bottom and yes it worked in fact the take was so brutal it came as a shock as my rod was nearly dragged in. This year I took some under water videos which if they are any good will be on the next blog if any one wants any details on the location just get in touch I am sure a better angler would bag up big time.

Summer fishing

We currently do not offer summer fishing it is just to hot and humid for my wife and at the moment she comes first but this is about to change. When we had to leave early this year a local friend of my Capt Brent Kindle stepped in and ran my last two holidays and he did a very good job. Capt Brent has run Coral Bay fishing charters in Marathon for some years now and has become a very successful local captain a not long ago came very close to braking the mutton snapper record. He had such fun fishing with the Brits he has asked me if I can find him any other anglers. He has a bigger boat than me the next size up Pro Kat and at 26 ft a lot more room he has fished the local waters for many years and probably has even more marks than me. He would run the holidays just as I do and you would stay in my house and still get on the boat at my dock and just as I fish you would start when you want, fish for what you want and come in when you want.

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As you can see from the photos it is a very fine boat and Capt Brent certainly can catch fish and I know the only time some guys can get of is during the summer. Also it is a time of the year people often go to Disney then come down to the Keys for a few days. There are nice beaches and parks, you can swim with dolphins and sights to see we offer cheap accommodation and you can stay as long or as short as you want. So now Fish the Dream offer year-long fishing holidays in the Florida Keys please email or phone if you want any more details.

Fish the Dream       01668 216173

New tarpon regs

The 2013 tarpon season in the Florida Keys will go down as one of the best for many years not just in numbers but in average size as well. I know it always seems hard on the other guys on the fishing holiday when one person is on a long fight but most of my regulars are always happy just to watch and enjoy. More than once the sheer power of near 200 lb fish has meant the rod has been shared with the other anglers. With the increased numbers of tarpon this year it was possible to move away from the bridges and fish the banks where the problems in the first stages of the fight are a lot less. I am sure some of the fish we get know every trick in the book to get off and this is sometimes happening in the dark with a strong tide fun it might be but all to often in ends in tears.


For 2014 the tarpon fishing regs have changed it is nice to fish in apart of the world where fishing rules change on a regular basis not just for the sake of fish numbers but the way sport fishing is going down the catch and release route as well. To see and read all the changes go to then look at new tarpon regs, the one that will change the way we fish is the ones with regards possession of a fish or taking a fish out of the water. Unless you are going for a IGFA record which in now 243 lb and have all the tags and paper work all fish over 40 in must remain in the water. Sorry guys I would never kill a big near 50 year old tarpon so on Fish the Dreams boat this will never happen. All big fish that in the past we have taken out I swim with a moving boat till they have full recovered which I know is even more important than just getting them back quickly.


With the fantastic season we had in last year 2014 is booking up very fast I am sure there are many anglers out there that a 100 lb + tarpon is on their bucket list so please get in touch as soon as you can. We will be as we have for many years fully booked in April and May the time when these prehistoric fish migrate in their thousands through the Florida Keys. So as they say when its gone its gone and all I left to say is sorry try next year.

Next generation ?

Sorry about the lack of blogs thank our wonderful BT.  Last Thursday my broadband went down and it was shock and horror when the lady in down town Delhi told me it would be next Tuesday when they could get some one out to do repairs. It did not help becoming Mr Angry and telling her that I would change providers unless they could get some one out before that. It is now the case that Open Reach do all the repairs and connections for all UK internet companies so even if I changed companies the new connection would not be till Tuesday, short and curly’s or what. Strange that when we have problems in the Florida Keys a small chain of Islands of the coast of Florida we have it fixed that day or next at the latest and we have a choice as well.

Back here in the UK for our hurricane and summer break it was great to have my daughter and grandson stay last weekend.  My dad did not fish and my only son did come out a few times but it was not his thing so it has been a great joy that both my grand sons seem to like fishing.  Last tear I even got them out in a boat and we had a blast with the mackerel now there is a fish designed for kids fishing but this trip far to windy for mackerel so just as I have to do on our fishing holidays in the Florida Keys plan B. This was a small local lake that is near a holiday complex that they stock with trout and you can bait fish.


Well plan B worked very well and as the school holidays have just started they have just stocked the lake and as you all know farmed trout are not the smartest fish that swims and in less than an hour and a half he had 10 nice fish. In fact it was a fantastic trip for me as well, yes I love my Florida Keys fishing screaming drags 100 lb fish air born the grunt and grown of guys dragging near 500 lb grouper.  The sight of a bright float slowly slipping under the water then the excited voice of your grandson shouting ”  I have got an other one  ”  just very hard to beat. Well we all had one for tea and they tasted very good indeed or was it the fact the next generation had caught them that changed the flavour