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Archive of entries posted in the year 2014

The tale of two sharks

This blog is way out of time order but what happened yesterday was way over amazing and just two special to keep on ice so our second trip of the week to the tuna grounds will wait a few days.  Now Brian like most guys who come on fishing holidays in the Florida Keys way back had a wish list and in over 7 years of coming on our holidays has ticked off most of the list but one fish had been missing the very special tiger shark.  Most mornings he would look at the rouges gallery pics by the breakfast tables and looking at the many tiger pics I knew what he wanted so like a good skip for years I have been trying my best.  Sadly we don’t have a tiger spot they are found from way offshore to all over Florida Bay even the granders fish over a 1000 lbs are often in less than ten feet of water.  So yesterday Brian was attached not to one but just like buses two came along at the same time.  First was one of the most brutal shark attacks I have ever seen in over 15 years fishing in the Keys, we were having way to much fun for old guys with a huge pack of near 100 lb blacktip shark when Brian was playing a very good one and had it near to the boat.  Then the water behind the fish went  dark and a very, very large tiger decided he wanted the shark more than Brian just one bite and it was all over none of us saw the entire shark but by looking at the bite mark radius I am more than sure it was one of those 1000 lb + fish.

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We were all a bit shaken after that  and newbie Bob was not at all sure about being in a small boat with those around but the remaining pros put down an other shark rod and we waited but he or she did not come back for seconds. Then the weather turned bad and we fished a few spots on the way home finding a good mackerel mark but with the rain and winds getting stronger we all had enough.  But after the shark rods had been brought in Brian shouted above the wind something very large has just taken my mackerel bait.  I moved over to his side of the boat just in time to see the tale of a near 10 ft tiger go past the boat, we had to throw the pick and chase this one but on a none shark rod this over 500 lb fish was always going to win this one.  Brian did as always a fantastic job but in the end the way to light rod’s line gave way, Brian just turned and smiled and said  ” guess I will just have to come back again ” hope you do mate.

Fun in the bay

Now my oldest and best fishing buddy has arrived the crew is up to three and the fun factor way over 10 with over 50 years of fishing together the memories and tales just keep coming back I am sure Brian and Bob both think we are crazy but then we are.   Not sure why Martin packed a few windy days, sucks leaving the dock with a GPS with over 300 fishing marks only for the weather gods to cut 200 of the best off but as they say you have to do what you have to do.   We will always find fish and the joy of a fishing holiday in the Florida Keys you by the nature of the islands find shelter, great fun with the yellow jacks the other day right under the 7 mile bridge and dont half hang on.  The day before Martin arrived Bob was star of the show when we had one of those I am running out of line moments grouper fishing when a rather large shark had picked up the bait and next stop was Cuba.  So pick up and off we went in hot pursuit the only problem at this time of year is the thousands of pot markers in the bay, so three times we had to untangle his line but Bob is now becoming a Keys pro and we soon had him boat side and you can see in the video a very happy angler.

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Not sure why but regular Brian has a thing with big stingray and at the same mark he had two the best just over 55 lb and boy did it give him the run around.  I will always keep just one they are the top hammerhead bait by a long way not sure why but in the past we have had hammerheads to the boat with many stings stuck in their faces the pain must be worth the pleasure.  Thanks Brian we now have over ten baits in the freezer and I am sure you will be the first to put one down as I wright this in the dark at 5 am we have plans for a deep run into the bay to do just this.

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The other thing that floats a lot of peoples boat when they are in the Keys is the wild life the other day while finding shelter in Vaca Cut the channel that is the start of Marathon a young osprey came and sat in the tree less than 20 ft from the boat.  You think of all the people who in the UK would die for this and it is a regular thing to have manatee at the boat in the dock, yes I am avery lucky guy. Oh by the way the shark was yet an other fish nailed by a Release Reel as they say the proof is in the eating and these reels love fish.

Brian’s back

Brian is one of the many guys who years ago came on one of our fishing holidays in the Florida Keys then has been coming back ever year and I hope I can say has become a true personal friend as well.  With him this week we have Bob who’s first trip was in March and just had to get back ASP the Florida Keys kind of does that to you, gets under the skin.  First day wrecking in bay had to jump around a bit but with over 300 marks in the GPS found them on wreck two Brian having one well over 300 lbs and Bob getting beat up as well, love it.  Next day off to the humps Brian is still a tuna virgin a bit lumpy on the way out but sadly not a bird in the sky when we got there.  Now on the tuna grounds birds means tuna and tuna means shark so plan B which out there means live bait in fact the record tuna was caught on a live pinfish in 500 ft near the bottom.  So down goes Brian and it is along way down first one after some time dropped the bait but number two as they say did not half hang on and it hit the bait well over 600 ft down but the smile says it all.

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Not the tuna we had all wanted but one of the biggest almaco jacks any one here has heard about a very solid  46.75 lbs yes we got it weighed.  Bob had a smaller one then Brian stuck a silky shark near 300 lbs fun in 700 ft it always comes as a surprise how hard it is to fight a fish straight under the boat.  Yesterday then wind had us close in but some near double cero mackerel that always pull the string and it is harder to find a better fish on the dinner plate.  My best friend Martin is coming out to join us today not sure it is the best way to get over a hernia opp but he has a bad case of Keysittuse so needs the cure (  a rod in the hand )

Ultimate game fish ?

After doing our fishing holidays in the Florida Keys for now over 10 years and fishing here for over 15 I am often asked the question ” what is your all time best fish to catch “.  Well when one thinks of the Florida Keys tarpon is often the first choice then maybe permit sailfish and bonefish are well up there as well.  So what makes a top game fish, well I think it must fight hard long powerful runs the type that gets you thinking have I enough line and will this sucker ever stop.  Jumps are good, nothing gets the heart going like seeing your fish airbourne and the feeling am I attached to that !  So when you put that lot into the equation you come out with tarpon and sailfish, both are seasonal and sails can be hard to find and tarpon which are night feeders more than often come off.  Well the other day with Kev’s party it came to me here in the Florida Keys we have a true game fish that ticks all the boxes the good old blacktip/spinner shark.  These near 100 lb fish are here 24/7 do all of the above, easy to find, feed all day and stay on the hook for the most part and just look at the anglers smiles makes you think doesn’t it.

Last week not only did the lads want to let Sid feel the pain of goliath grouper but asked could I get him an amberjack  as well so like a good skip I ticked that box not a monster but at near 20 lb bent his rod as they say.  Cool little vid of Kev no wasting time just catching one fish at a time when you can do two at a time.  We had one of those sessions where it is a fish a cast this is often a shock to UK lure anglers, I have often seen guys cast away from the fish just to see the whole shoal turn and fight to be the first fish to get to the lure awesome or what.

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What a day !

Well its great to be back in the Keys and for our first Fishing Holiday in the Florida Keys for this session it is good to have back Kevin and Dave who have brought newbie Sid just to show him all the stories are true.  The only problem with this trip we are having an unusual wet spell, yes the sunshine state does get rain but even for us this this is not the norm but when you have a day as we did yesterday you just dont notice it and it was very warm rain.  So Sid had been told all the stories about our goliath grouper so yesterday despite the rain we had calm seas so it was of to my gulf wreck that always has goliath and is also the one that has barracuda so lots of action.  On arrival it was no time at all and the barra rods were on fire in fact the best day we have ever had on cuda , best was Kev’s at near 30 lb.  The best thing was they were taking all different methods from metal jigs,  poppers, lures and live baits some of the runs and jumps were off the scale so lucky to have this mark.

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So on to the Goliath and again they did not let me down, I been doing this now for over 15 years but it still comes as a hell of a shock to a newbie.  First the 22/0  hook then the bait then the bait any thing up to 10 lbs is fine but me , so much drag it takes two hands to pull the line off on free spool.  The takes can be right at the boat in fact the further away from the wreck the better, then the fight not a long affair but I just cant put the power into words but often three grown men are slammed into the transom with nothing you can do to stop the fish.  Lost count yesterday but fish of the day was Dave’s well over 400 lbs and Sid was just left speechless all the stories were very true.

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Some other good fish yesterday were African pompano again to Dave and one of the hardest fighting jacks I have seen for a long time to Kev but with Kev on the other end the fish was always going to lose.  So to days float plan is an other gulf wreck start with maybe a couple of grouper then a serious go for big shark but looks like an other wet day but if the drags are screaming who cares.

 

Back for the mac

Well this time next week I will, after what seems a long summer break , I will be back  doing my normal day job of giving Fishing Holidays in the Florida Keys.  After fishing the Keys for over 15 years we start our 11 th season of doing  custom fishing holidays and as we have a party coming for their 10 th trip maybe we are doing something right.  One of my personal favourites of the autumn and winter fish is the trio of Florida mackerel the Spanish, the Cero and the King.  Apart from jumping out of the water they all seem to tick all the boxes of the traveling angler.  All are very free taking, around sometimes in massive shoals and what ever floats your boat as a method they will take.  Live baiting tends to pick out the bigger ones of all species, the speed of a near 50 lb king hitting a live bait just has to be experienced.  Then that first run, the line just peeling of the drag the look on the anglers face as if to say when or if it will stop always makes me laugh.

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The other big bonus with all our mackerel is they are a top bait, whole or flapper for the shark which are never far behind and cut or strip for nearly all our other fish.  On again an other personal note yet an other bonus they are top tucker, yes I love my fish and during the season very few weeks go by without mackerel being on my menu.  In fact a few years ago with the start of the sushi crazy we had ago and I have to say fresh cero mackerel is right up there with tuna.

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So as I start my 60 th year on this planet the last ten years has gone way to fast it seem like yesterday I was having my 50 th in the Keys,  in fact some one pointed out ten years is as long as I have ever done one job but every smile on every anglers face has made the best ten years of my life so roll on the next ten.

Room for one

We have a very rare and special opportunity at our Fishing Holidays in the Florida Keys for a single person to join two others on holiday this winter.  Dates are arriving 28 th October  fishing for 12 days  (  or less if he or she wants  )  and leaving on the 10 th November as this trip was planned for just three anglers and not our normal four there is more room on the boat and you will get a private room in the villa.  The other two guys have been many times before so I can help a newbie out pretty much one for one all day if you want.  Often I hear I would love to come but it is always hard to find three other guys who have the time or money so this is your big chance.  So how much will it cost well as I have already take money and it is a very late cancellation  (  an opp that cannot wait ) we can also offer a very special price of just  £ 1000 for the 12 days fishing and breakfast, one day   B + B first and last day, use of the free rental car and the private room in our waterside villa.

 

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So what will the weather be like and what will you catch, just as the weather in the UK starts to go belly up the weather in the Keys will most days be in the 80’s and as the hurricane season comes to an end the storms and humidity start to drop way.  The water temps will dictate what we will catch, if is stays warm all the summer fish will hang around dordado, wahoo ect but if it cools off then are winter mackerel and sailfish will start to push through.  On any normal week we will catch up to 40 + species and very few days go by with out a 100 lb + fish, shark or goliath grouper which are always there .  So if the Florida Keys are on your bucket list or  ” I have always wanted to catch a fish bigger than me ” now is the time get in touch as soon as you can, I am still in the UK for two weeks so phone 01668 216173  up to 9 pm please or email on rdngd@aol.com  if you snooze you will loose.

Yorkshire Bass

Well just a few more weeks and I will be back doing what I love most, Fishing Holidays in the Florida Keys and we have an action packed and full autumn/early winter to look forwards to.  Its going to be fun to have the top UK shark skipper Andrew Alsop who runs Whitewater Charters out of Milford Haven and is having one of his best shark years ever over and if there was ever a crew to take our boats PB shark day,  63  its got to be them.  Back here in the UK had my now annual bass trip out of Bridlington Yorkshire, yes we even get bass up here in the frozen north.  First stop fill up the live well with launce some even being too big but I have never seen so many, 6 at a time one sabki’s and yes yours truly had a tiny prick from a weever yes I felt like a tiny prick as well.  So under my direction’s we stayed on the sandell mark to try for bass not a touch thanks Rodney let’s go to where we normally catch them.  Then I did something I dont understand I went off piste as they say the other two guys on the boat were soon into bass on float fished sandell but I was not having a sniff on plastics no matter what I tried not a touch.  Moral of story do what the locals do and if it aint broke dont try to fix it, some plastics look so good and dont get me wrong they catch lots of bass but at the end of the day the best imitation of a sandell is a live sandell.  So at the end of the day skipper Rupert felt sorry for me and gave me a bass , yes we all took a fish I have no problem with taking a bass I would never kill a female big fish but one just big enough for two once a year OK by me.

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The guys at Release Reel sent me over photos of the new composite handles and boy they look good made from coloured composite they will not scratch, fade or corrode an other big positive.  I know so guys dont like bling on a reel but have a look at the photos and even I have to say they are way too cool.  I am not keeping big stocks as there are way to many colour, handle, left hand, right hand combinations but as I have done this week tell me what you want the factory makes it and sends it the same day, good or what.  Rupert was using his SG Release reels this week on pollock to 14 lb and even had to post on a local forum the smoothest drag he has used and when a big fish makes that run the drag has to work.

Release Reels

Whilst at the moment and for the foreseeable future I am making my living from doing Fishing Holidays in the Florida Keys and yes it is going very well with nearly 80 % repeat bookings we must be doing something right, nearly all 2015 has gone best tarpon dates 2016 also gone.  However when a business opportunity comes up I like to think I am still able to take it on so when after dealing with Release Reels for nearly two years the chance came up to be a dealer in the UK  I just had to say yes.   I first came across Release two years ago when they launched the SG  ( small game multiplier ) two things grabbed my attention, Made in the USA and lifetime warranty, the handle looked kind of funky as well.   After many long chats to CEO and inventor Wes Slieger he sent me one to put it through real fish testing and boy did we give it a work out, in all fairness way beyond any thing it will ever have to do in the UK, and I even took it to the cold and deep waters of Norway.  Wes is on very clever man and way he has built the reel just shows he is a fisherman foremost but a thinking engineer as well, the reverse gearbox ( to stop winding wobble ) has a patent as does the new anti-reverse pawl system and the handle.

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Its the attention to detail that just shows the class of this reel, reel base and cage bars are convex to give more line capacity and no worry about bunching.  The new longer and thicker reel foot is knurled to hold the reel better and on the reel clamp a hook holder so no need to scratch the reel at all, the whole reel is now assembled with grease from the aerospace  industry. The SG holds 300 yds of 50 lb braid and the LG holds 500 yds of 60 lbs both have ceramic spool bearings and carbon drag washers with a drag of 30 lb + for the SG and 40 lb + for the  LG and a good  6:1 gear ratio.  If you want bling Release can do it with many colour combination, different types of handles  ( and yes the strange one is amazing ) and of course left hand wind for all you leftie’s .

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So whats it going to cost you here in the  UK well I have come up with   £ 269  for the  SG and  £ 399  for the LG but remember it has a lifetime warranty which we will deal with here in the UK so that is all you will ever have to pay, you will not find this on any other reel which just shows the faith Release have in there reel.  There is so much choice with colours, handles, left and right hand wind that all reels will be imported individualy so just get in touch  01668 216173  or email at rdngd@aol.com to experince just how far reel development can go. The video shows a SG taking on and wining with a near 400 lb bull shark enough said !

The reel has just a very good review in this months magazine Boat Fishing Monthly by well known and respected feature writer Jim Whippy as Jim said fighting a big bass   ” in fact I had to look down at the spool sometimes to see if line was coming off the reel it is that smooth ” praise indeed.

Keys update

As I woke up today to a chilly 4 degrees after a long chat to Capt Brent the other day I found out that at a very warm 34 degrees in the Florida Keys there was a 30 difference in our temps.  Capt Brent is having a ball in the Keys this summer with all the normal summer species but top of the list as it is ever summer is dorado or dolphin fish as it is known in the Keys.  The growth rates of this fish still blow my mind as I have blogged before in their short life often less than 3 years they can reach 40 lbs yes 40 lbs in just 12 months.  Where they really tick the box as a sport fish is you can catch them with so many different methods, livebait, deadbait, troll, spin or fly then hold on jumps a plenty and normaly all the other fish come to the boat so sight fishing is so cool.

 

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Capt Brent is also a master of the dead boat method of fishing in deep water, this is the killer way to catch mutton snapper and a few years ago he was very close to the state record.  This works by keeping the boat stationary in the tide in water even up to and over 200 ft by use of the motors often in reverse and sometimes kicking the boat in and out of gear.  This allows you cover a lot different marks with out putting down the pick and you can even move the bait over the ground as a bait fish would swim.  So if you find yourself in Florida this year and fancy a day or even a week get in touch with Capt Brent or if you need accommodation in the Keys me  Brent  305 481 9018  Rodney 01668 216173.