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Archive of entries posted in the year 2014

Review of the year part one

2014 was a fantastic year yet again for our fishing holidays in the Florida Keys as we start our 11 th year and with the species count now 124 and many boxes ticked for our guests I always wonder if it can get better and it does.   The learning curve never stops and the list of marks just gets bigger so roll on 2015, will start the review with the two iconic fish of the Keys the tarpon and permit.  In all fairness the tarpon season was a bit quieter than normal whether it was the new tarpon regs  (  all tarpon over 40 in have to remain in the water so no more on the boat photos )  or the early starts 4 am or the fact all my regulars have ticked the 100 lb tarpon box but less trips than normal.  The  FWC  ( fish police )  now have a dedicated internet unit for what they call brain dead law breakers who take their own photos of the crime then post it on social media, dumb or what.  The permit season was to make up for it, off the charts  offshore spawn fantastic with those over 30 lb fish at sunrise when we are normaly the only boat there but best of all we now have a wreck in the bay with permit.  At just 10 ft deep it is possible to sight fish to again near 30 lb fish who use their massive tail to see just how good your drag and knots are a true find for 2014.





A massive plus for 2014 was more wrecks in the bay for our goliath grouper with fish near 500 lbs I still don’t have the words to put over the power these fish have bringing big men to tears and we have found by chart works an area of under water caves with goliath.  So no more depression when we get to a wreck with an other boat on it just put a new number in the  GPS and off we go, an other first for 2014 we have found by accident the new top bait, small shark, not sure why but it just works.  All the wrecks in 2014 had the best show of cobia for years an other fish you can sight fish for and the bonus one off the finest table fish in the Keys.





One of the stand out fish of 2014 has been the african pompano a member of the jack family just as hard fighting as any of the jacks and again an out standing table fish.  One wreck in the bay had them on nearly every trip and they did not seem to mind the odd cold front so many day saved the trip and with their streamers and silver colour just photogenic. There pals the normal jacks made many a drag scream in 2014 not good food fish but a top bait to see them hunt down top water lures will be the take home memory of many an angler.





Part two sharks, macs, tuna, rays and a few more


Season’s greetings

Fish the Dream’s  fishing holidays in the Florida Keys wishes all our past, present and future customers a very merry Christmas and a happy new year.  2014 was a fantastic year ticking the boxes and trying to make our fishing holidays even better nearly all 2015 has been booked with an over 75 % repeat and now running two boats on our prime weeks.

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Full review of the year will be the next two blogs always hard to do to try and pick out a top ten, best year ever for tigers and at last a large permit mark in the bay that I can do with my boat seeing the guys casting to 20 lb + permit and seeing the fish take the bait just awesome.  Personally I want to do more with sails next year and my new neighbour is maybe the top sail captain in Marathon so I am booking a few trips there is nothing like seeing and learning  (  even at 60  ) from a top pro.  So have a fantastic time and get ready to shed the pounds with our battling fish in the Keys

£ 100 Off

As you may or not know Fish the Dream’ Fishing Holidays in the Florida Keys was chosen by Garmin ( UK ) as field testers for their new action camera the Virb Elite for my full review go back to the blog post on 12 th Aug.  Even an old guy like me has found this very neat camera very easy to use and their editing software just as easy since they sent me the camera the price to the public has just gone down by a £100 to a very reasonable £ 249 maybe a selfie present.  Next year I plan to do even more with it I want a more stable under water mount and the fairies have told me santa is bring me a Quadcopter to video fishing from out side the boat and with the play back screen looking for weed lines.  A very good underwater video of the massive coral head in Hawks Channel with this blog, this feature comes up from 40 ft to just 23 ft always very fishy and you can see just why we lose so much tackle and what a Hog snapper.

tig 1

tig 2

A few more pics of Andy’s tiger shark to let you see way up there in my personal top shark just so awesome and they often get to over 1000 lbs.  Had a long chat to Andy in the week to mull over what might have been and it seems despite the poor weather he has seen the stunning potential of the Florida Keys and this is with out once being in the deep water on the Atlantic.  So much more to show him if there was ever a guy I want on the tuna grounds it is him not for the tuna which are always fun but what feeds on them.  If there is ever a place to get the  (  Jaws ) experience with the click click of a reel as a very big shark takes it is there and I can just see his face as he knows what has taken his half tuna could be way over 1000 lbs.

White Water round up

Now back in the UK for our Christmas break I have had a few days to reflect on White Waters trip.  The problem that I get when it is a partie’s first Fishing Holiday in the Florida Keys with us that most guys have rather large wish list which is the norm and I understand. After fishing in the Keys for over 15 years and doing the fishing holidays for 10 years it is not to hard for me to tick most boxes but one thing I have no control over is the weather.  The day the White Water crew arrived was a record high of 88 and the entire week had been very warm and sea temps had got to a near summer high of 76 and as can be seen from our first day the fishing was on fire, shark and grouper to 300 lb and plenty of action on all the big rods.  Early on the second day a very deep cold front hit the Keys and with strong winds and night temps in the low 60’s the water dropped 6 degrees in the first night then 5 the next night and the winds stayed strong all week with water just 64 all week.  The only fish that took all week was our mackerel with spanish nearly in double figures and the stunning run of pompano stayed on the feed but the big boys had the week off.  I have to give to White Water crew they stuck to the task of big not a species hunt in sheltered waters but tough it out on wrecks in the bay but the big did not want to play ball but catching bait was fun.  Talking to local captains most who just tied up for the week the bigger the fish the less it has to feed so a week off the feed is no problem at all as was the case with our week but the smaller ones have to feed so at least we had action on the smaller rods.





After fishing with Andrew Alsop for the week I can see just why he is Britain’s top shark captain he just gets and understands  shark and if you have a look at his website  or his facebook page you will see he gets results big time and this year has been his best so far.  If you want to tick shark of your wish list then I suggest you get in touch on 01446 710815 or 07970936443 or email on but he is very busy but will get back to you.  So reality check for White Waters trip not what they or I wanted but totaly out of my control but we did have 7 species of shark up to 300 lb and a total species count of 27.  Most of all I hope Andy realizes just how lucky he was a big tiger shark on his first day of his first trip I have many regulars who would have paid me a large premium for his trip.


Putting the fun into fishing

Have to say it this week has been one of those tough ones after a very deep cold front the sea temps have dropped 11 degrees and the winds just have not stopped.  Many local captains have cancelled trips but my White Water crew have stuck to the task and we have been out ever day but big have been very hard to find.  Not the shelter of the mangroves and the creeks with a small fish species hunt but these boys just want big and the policy of our fishing holidays in the Florida Keys is that the anglers call the shots so wrecks it has been.  On all but one day bait has been no problem this being our mackerel season plenty of spanish mackerel everywhere and a lot of fun on light rods but the big boys have just stayed at home.  In all fairness we have lost a lot of big fish this week with Andrew having the worst luck losing three big grouper one just a train, one a 380 lb clip broke and on took the end of the trace over some coral that’s why they call it fishing not catching.  I had been warned strange things might happen this week and how do I put they did the crew have a thing about dressing up and masks certainly put a smile on my face and the many locals who saw them.


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mask 4

mask 1

The other day we stopped at a local marina to top up the petrol and while I was inside I heard some noise and the marina owner said wait I have to get a photo of your boat, yes there was chicken at the helm !! Then many times when I went to get blog cam the angler had gone and it was Porky or Spider who had the fish and I was laughing to much to get a good photo.  The best had to be the full fancy dress crew shot yes White Water had come to Florida and despite the bad weather they were here to have some fun.

The White Water way

I still think the way we run our fishing holiday in the Florida Keys has been the reason for its success for now over ten years the one thing that works is that the anglers make the calls.  Over the years we have had big sharks on the boat but last year after an angler was hurt three broken ribs we decided to call it off bringing the big ones in but yesterday as they say rules are ment to be broken so when the crew wanted to bring a big lemon in I said OK.  It was young Andy again he used to be Mr Mako but now over here he cant make his mind up first a tiger now a near 200 lb lemon which I have to say nearly spooled him on its first run and did some fantastic head out of the water action till it gave up and went for the White Water way.  Yesterday started of windy so a spot of grouper fishing in the lee of the island then back into the bay where it all kicked off.





First we had some fun with are blacknose shark then still finding places to fish in the wind Andy had the fun with the Lemon but the trip to our first grouper wreck the water after the blow was way to dirty.  So plan F or was it G not sure but an insane stop for macs on the way home and right up to sunset full on action and the boys got to see the air show of a blacktip shark the first of the trip, shame it did not stay on but I am sure one will this week.  Have to say you are never to old to learn but Andrews Vulcan death grip does seem to work on our frisky blacknose shark and you do get a much better photo not sure a 60 with a broken hand can do it but I can tell the anglers what to do thanks Andrew.

White Water’s road trip

It is fantastic to welcome Andrew Alsop of White Water charters to Fish the Dream’s Fishing Holidays in the Florida Keys.  Over the years Andrew has become Britain’s top shark skipper operating a very fast Cheetah Cat out of  Milford Haven Pembroke on the West wales coast.  This year has been his best year ever with porbeagle to 300 lbs and many near 200 lb blues so it seemed the logical choice to come to the Florida Keys to tick a few boxes in his  fishing wish list.  With him he has brought his boat man Mark and two regulars from his charters Simon and (Mr Mako ) Andy who had that stunning mako on White Water in 2013.  First day was fantastic here in the Keys with grouper over 300 lbs taking my best bait a small shark and I think its fair to say I made Andy’s day with a beautiful tiger shark near 300 lbs. The first time you see a tiger close up the teeth and the markings are very special and must hurt my regulars who have been trying for years for one that on Andy’s first trip and first day he is lucky, we also had a 100 lb + bull just to break the guys in.








Day 2 we knew the weather was going to break so an early start to hit a bay wreck  when we got there and Mark soon had a screaming run the african pompano were still there and it was soon followed by a 21 lb hard fighting cobia .  Then poor Andrew repeated the lose of a big grouper that he did on day one the first one was a broken 380 lb clip then the second was one of those monsters well over 500 lb which we all thought Andrew had under control.  Alas as these giants often do it found a piece of wreck and did the 300 lb trace but the power of this fish was immense and might have been one of the granders that make the wrecks their home. Then the cold front hit us and a bit deflated after Andrew’s lost fish the guys had the rest of the day shopping rather than fishing on the sheltered side of the island.

When it gets tough

As the saying goes when it gets tough the tough get going and I have to give my Jersey boys 11 out of 10 for the last few days.  Not what you expect on a Fishing Holiday in the Florida Keys but the one thing I have no control over is the weather and the weather gods have given us a right royal spanking for the last three days.  The only saving grace is that the Keys will by the nature of the Islands always give you some shelter and the fish still have to feed in fact we nearly had the biggest fish of the week in winds over 20 mph the other day.  The long hard run to Bahia Honda’s bridges nearly paid of Chris was attached to a very large bull shark but after an age the shark played the bridge game and went round the piles game over but it shows what you can do on a crappy day.







Last day before the weather broke was on the bay wrecks fun for all as they say again it was Chris’s day the best African of the trip and a cobia that was just half and in to short to keep looking at the pic it seems strange that a fish that big is to small but them is the rules and they do go to over 100 lbs.  Nigel joined in the fun with one of our bully boys of the Keys a rather good blue fish they look like bass but with a sett of teeth that a piranha  would be proud of and a brain that says they must kill.  Barracuda were picky staying in the shade under the boat and sometimes coming out to nail an incoming blue runner but boy have they got good eye sight put a bait down and they just look at it saying ” you must be kidding “. I know this is a fishing blog but we found this moth with a wing span of 8 in in the bait room the other day cool or what.

The Jersey boys are back

Well as they start their 10 th fishing holiday in the Florida Keys with us it is great to see Rob, Chris, Nigel and Matthew back yet again and this time as we all get a bit older  ( but not wiser  )  I have been told no Goliath grouper fine by me my hernia gets a week off.  Been a mixed first few days bay still fishing its head off from 200 lb + shark plus the fantastic run of African pompano keeps on going, stacks of jacks, blue fish, runners and some snapper to keep the drags screaming.  Cobia are back their as well but with a very large 33 in to the fork min it seems strange to tell a guy who has just been beat up by a 15 lb fish that we all know is fine table fare that it is to small to keep but as they top out at near 100 lb the smalls have to go back.





After the guy over the canal had a 7 sailfish day they all decide to have a day offshore, the locals are more than happy to watch trolled baits for hours but very few British crews will and in less than an hour it was back to plan B.  I fully understand you come 4000 miles and want a bend in the rod and this I think after 10 years of doing the fishing holidays this is why people come back as you the anglers make the call.  So the next two days back in the bay where I can report all rods bending very well.



I will always try to get the hook out of a shark’s mouth but I am from the camp by using steel hooks that rust quickly you do less damage than ripping the hook out.  Have a look at the mouth of a blacktip shark we had the other day.  You can clearly see the rust makes of where a hook had been and the flesh has completely healed up being in warm salt water does the job and no stainless hooks ever on my boat. Interesting on the second video to see how hard the remora has to work to keep up with its host.

Last week round up

Well as they say what a week as the guys said if this had been our first fishing holiday in the Florida Keys we would not be sure if we had been fishing the dream or dreaming the dream.  Just so much going on that shark has become a local celeb and crated a bit of a stir between the ” only a dead shark is good shark ” and the ” all sharks must be protected ” camps all I say is that I am happy to have sharks on my guys lines at any size 1000 lbs to 10 lbs.  It was great to get to the tuna grounds again and bring back plenty of fresh blackfin one of the best sushi grade tuna what was a surprise was what we caught them on old fashioned dexter wedges, they cast a long way and the action as good as it has ever been.  This was on Brian’s wish list so at least skip ticked one box and as for the tiger as Arnie said  (  I will be back ) or as Brian said in his thank you email next year.







Well the mac are back last week we had a mess of spanish and cero and the first be king of the year soon they will be all over Florida Bay and catching bait as much fun as any one can want with a rod in your hand and I would like to spend a bit more time on the fly rods this year for them.  Had a couple of fun days on the bay wrecks which for the first time are loaded with African pompano screaming first run they fight so hard we had one die but what a table fish yum, yum.  First time this year we had a huge cobia at the boat this fish well into the 50’s came up the chum but despite a frantic crew did not take but there is good chance it will stay so maybe next time.  New boys this week are the Jersey crew one of our oldest parties and this being there 10 th trip to Fish the Dream enough said.