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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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 )