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Archive of entries posted in the year 2015

Shark attack

Decided to do a blog on our toothy critters after watching that amazing video of the world’s most lucky surfer who nearly became toast of live TV.  The words shark attack mean different things to different people to the general public images of jaws come to mind but if you are a fishing in the Florida Keys it takes on a whole new meaning.  I consider myself very lucky that most guys who are on a Fishing Holiday in the Florida Keys are more than happy to go shark fishing but it’s when you don’t want them they can be a right royal pain.  So you have come over 4000 miles then dragged out of bed at 3 am managed to get your 150 lb tarpon out from the bridges into open water and all is going well then out of the corner of your eye you see a point of a very large fin.  Well 9 times out of 10 its game over call them lazy or opportunist but big shark know it is tarpon season, why chase your meal when an angler will do the hard work for you.  The same on the permit spawning grounds some days there is no way on this earth you can get a permit back to the boat some people say shark numbers are on the decline I have to say fishing in the Florida Keys for over 15 years I see numbers getting bigger.

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DSCN4650One thing this has changed is our approach to shark baits it used to be fresh mackerel or jacks were our number one bait now especially if we see a very large shark we use small shark as bait.  This year we have had some monster bull shark and most of these have fallen to shark baits why I am no sure but it works and if it aint broke you don’t fix it.  Still have to laugh at the day my friend brought his boat over to where we fishing telling me he was being attacked by shark under 7 mile bridge and the exact spot.  His guests saying ” why the hell would Rodney want to know that ” some locals hate all shark but for us it was up pick and one of the most amazing days shark fishing we have ever had.

An amazing week

Capt Brent Kindell is doing an amazing job for me running our Fishing Holidays in the Florida Keys during the summer and the Keatings week was stunning.  Not only that frisky summer sail video shows by keeping the boat moving the fish stays very green and goes back a lot better but an eagle ray for young Harry.  The fish took a shrimp bait on a very light rod but with Harry’s growing skills and an hour of hard work the fish was by the boat well done.  The only one that hurt was catching a monster red snapper only to have to put it back they are not in season and boy do they taste good.  Brent made up for that with a superb snowy grouper we have only ever had one but I remember just how good that tasted yes I love my fish but I recon that if I eat fish five days a week I can have an expensive piece of cow on my meat day.

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I have one regular party from the Island of Jersey who I know are all keen spearfishermen and with this in mind I have decided to link up with a local spearfishing Captain to run spearfishing holidays.   The Capatin’s name is James Simcic and he had a purpose spearfishing boat and has been doing dive trips for many years check him out at www.spearcrazy.com.  You would stay in our flat and much like Fish the Dream just let James know what you want and he will do it, his passion is free diving not sure I understand it but I cant think of a better place in the world to do it than the Florida Keys.

 

Mr Crabtree

I know one of my many faults is my memory but when a guy on one of our Fishing Holidays in the Florida Keys says  ” do you remember when I was last out two years ago that place we had fantastic grouper fishing ? ” more than often I have to say no.  With so many anglers over more than eleven years it is impossible but I do remember a fantastic fishing magazine in the 60s it was call Creel.  Not only did it have a lot of good info for the young newbie I was then but had stunning articles on world wide fishing, I was captivated by a feature on Nile Perch fish at the time often went over 300 lbs.  An other feature that was always a good read was a cartoon Mr Crabtree goes fishing each cartoon featured a selected fish which Mr Crabtree and his son Peter went out to catch and always ended up with a good one in the net.  Well on my first busman’s trip of summer 2015 I felt a bit like Mr Crabtree and crucian carp was my target fish which as a lad was often my quarry and boy did I enjoy catching them.

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So after a bit of web research on the net and we were in the south of England I picked out Old Bury Lakes near Dorking it had a lake which was stocked just with tench and crucians just what the doctor ordered.  What a complex and boy has coarse fish moved on since I was lad a well stocked tackle and bait shop even a full cafe then as much advise as any one need.  So with the right floats bait and even been told which peg to fish of we went and what a  stunning lake perfect fishing platforms and even feeding fish from the word go.  Not easy missed a load of bites and dropped way to many fish maybe it was the barbless hooks or the fact it was over nearly 50 years since I was doing this.  In the end it all came good tench over 4 lbs and crucians over 1 lb not the over 100 lb fish I have to deal with every day in the Keys but I had a smile all day and I am sure Mr Crabtree was smiling as well.

Summer sails !!

The one thing about having a fishing holiday in the Florida Keys you never know what is going to show up and that is even more so in the summer.  While we have had a fantastic winter sailfish season in the Keys during the summer there are fish which how would you say dont read the rule book.  The big bonus of summer sails they tend to be on the big side to say the least and if you watch the video with this blog Capt Brent our summer skip even has a hard time getting this fish into the boat.  It was regulars the Keatings who were out last week only had a few pics back so a lot more to come on their trip but it was good to see Alan’s son with a nice dorado I know this was one fish he wanted Harry to catch.  It also seems they found a large group off summer cobia and as all my regulars know not only fun on the rod but stunning on the plate.

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Getting ready for one of my summer trips loading new 4 lb line on reels and buying 16 and 14 hooks not sure why but they look a lot smaller than I remember back as a boy.  I am one very lucky guy to spend part of the year in Florida where 100 lb fish make daily appearances  on my boat but the kid in me still likes to see a float gently slide away then the line tighten on a fish.  Well the quarry on my first trip are crucian carp I used to love fishing for then over 40 years ago they used to take freely and for their size put up a good fight.  Might be a different matter on a day ticket water and I am going to Old Bury Hill lakes which I have looked up and have been fishing well.  May not be sailfish, grouper or all my other normal big fish but guess what I am smiling already.

Did not see that coming !!

Just need to put the record straight as there a few rumors flying about yes I did have a minor heart attack last week but all OK now.  I was working out side on my new UK boat when heart rate went very high and very strange so inside checked it out I have a small machine rate was 136 and pressure of the scale.  Called a friend and straight to a local A&E but after a few checks it was off to hospital and a major A&E they worked all night but were not able to control heart so booked in for an opp the next day.  The good news my doctor said no knifes but what they were going to do was turn the heart off then hopefully shock me back to life rebooting the heart.  Well it all worked fine just two small burn makes were the shock went in but alas no You Tube clip of me jumping back to life, I did ask a very pretty nurse.  Every one is asking how I feel and the answer is just great, bring on the next 61 years yes I need to take some meds to stop it ever happening again but they said I was a very fit 61 year old and I dont drink or smoke so just carry on as normal.

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Fish the Dream Fishing Holidays in the Florida Keys would like to welcome local Captain and Guide James ” Bucko ” Platt to our list of Captains.  Bucko comes from a long line of local fishermen and is a top local guide who has become a tarpon star this year alone he has won not one but all three local Tarpon comps and the local joke is that if Bucko has entered the event see what they are paying for second as that all you will get.  Last week he took out my party of Scots for two days and despite very wet conditions just nailed the tarpon all day long also killing the jacks and plenty of shark well done Bucko.

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So to sum up a very surreal time in my life I am more than OK my holidays are going from strength to strength all years long and it will take more than a heart attack to put this old dog down.

Back in the UK

Well back in the UK for my summer / hurricane break and yes sorry yet again for the lack of blogs but there is a mountain of work to do before I go and there never seems an enough hours in the day.  As I have said before and a lot of my regulars will know the fact I am in the UK our Fishing Holidays in the Florida Keys are still very much going on.  In fact as I wright this Capt Brent Kindell has a Fish the Dream party out all week the guys are from Glasgow and I am sure are having a blast.  Strange as it may seem as this is day one of a long hurricane season we often have our calmest periods during the summer and if you avoid the heat of the midday then fishing can be fantastic so if you find your self in Florida this summer and even just have a few days or longer in the Keys please get in touch.

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While the tarpon started off the 2015 in a very well behaved fashion I have to say it all got a bit trying as the season went on.  Looking back maybe we should have spent more time at 7 mile bridge but the run and numbers of fish at Bahia Honda were of the charts.  Also at Bahia Honda the fish feed all day and yes we can tie up out side a cafe and there are good toilets etc but as a well known friend always says the bridge just does your head in.  The wide bridge and deeper water is why the fish feed all day but boy the fish know how to work it big time the worst morning was just 2 from 13 hook ups then you have to sett up the rod again new leader, hook ect.  One guy did try to cheer me up after a bad session saying ” there is no where in the UK where I can get 100 lb + fish on my line see them jump and feel the power all day long and maybe get one back to the boat. ”

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I have to thank the permit for saving many a day this year both on the deeper wrecks during the spawn and now on a wreck we have in Florida Bay in just 10 ft of water these fish just do it all.  The power they get from that amazing tail is just so hard to describe you have to get a 20 lb fish to understand why these fish in my opinion are maybe the number 2 fish in the Florida Keys.

Summer fishing

Sorry about the lack of blogs my boat has been out of the water as we were not able to fill a cancellation so I have spent the time doing some improvements and the full pre summer shut down service and up grades.  Way over due has been the painting of a full anti skid surface down the entire walk way on both sides of the boat.  New pumps, filters, dials and all the little things that have been annoying me have been fixed so she can have a summer off in peace.  While I have been off Brent Kindell of Coral Charters has been running our Fishing Holidays in the Florida Keys as he has done now for the last few years.

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It is good to be able to offer summer fishing in the Keys I know some guys can only get the summer off and after a few days at Disney like to come down to the Keys and cash in the brownie points.  You will still stay in our water side villa where you have good dock side fishing and we are a short drive to local shops, beaches and restaurants. Brent runs the holidays just as we do just tell him what time to start what you want to catch and when you want to come back he will do the rest.  He is a master of the offshore and last weeks guys were well and truly beat up by amberjacks and permit and had some fantastic fishing in the bay. Very cool video with this blog of a tarpon release some time ago just show how strong these fish go back after a fight of nearly an hour to come back next year and do it all again.

The Keys on fire !

Sorry its been a while since the last blog but as my regulars know this time of year I hit the alarm at 3 am and in all fairness way past shattered to do much else but I now have a few days off so start with a blog then just the boat, tackle and house to do and get some sleep.  Most fantastic news is that we now have a newly qualified US captain helping run our fishing holidays running the boat takes a lot of pressure of me so I can concentrate on the fishing which at this time of year is full on to say the least.  Last week we had back regular Kevin who just to confuse this old guy brought a Kevin along with a Danny and ” I will not be doing much fishing ” Terry.  What a week tarpon to the boat every morning and smashing permit on the deep wrecks not to mention the shark, cuda, dorado, jacks and a whole lot more as normal.

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Just the best tarpon fishing for many a year all big fish all well behaved and not a shark in sight and all at 7 mile bridge and all on crab just as though you had ordered the week on ebay. What I did find pleasing about last week is just how in 7 short days our non angler Terry turned into season pro and I have a feeling will be back out after catching a bad dose of tarponits.  We even had the perfect tide all week and just lost one morning to weather but boy has it gone from winter to summer temps in a very short time back in the other day and it was 94 at the back door in the shade but at 5 am  the balmy heat and listening to hundreds of tarpon rolling it does not get any better.  Best day last week we went 4 for 4 and I cant even remember far back doing that may be bring a non angler ( what a joke now a pro )  helps still a stunning week.

New regs

I have often said that a Fishing Holiday in the Florida Keys is way more than tarpon but at this time of year they are and will always be the number one with permit a very close second and with 124 species to the boat in over 10 years I think I have a case.  Tarpon are the silver kings and ever time your float goes down or you feel a take on a freelined bait its odds on it over a 100 lbs and is going to launch its self out of the water and it will do its best to get off and often it is still only about one in four that you get back to the boat.  With all that going on and often a battle with a 1000 lb + shark it is still maybe the top sport in the world of fishing and if it is not on your bucket list it should be this year we all have to conform with new regs from the boffins.

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These very clearly state that all fish over 40 in long have to remain in the water this means that special photo of a 100 lb bar of silver on your lap is now a no no so head out and fish body in the water all we can now do.  To me however it is not just the photo we have lost but a very quick way to give an accurate weight.  Using the bonefish and tarpon trust website and putting in the length and girth you had the weight of your fish to the nearest lb and I can still remember the day we put in the numbers 80 in long and girth 44 in yes our first ever 200 lb fish and at 209 lb I think it will be our biggest tarpon ever.  So we are coming up with ways to take measurements with the fish in the water I still think its the way to go rather than ” it looks a good 150 ” much better to say it went 163 on the tables.

Tarpon time

The good old silver kings are back in the Florida Keys and we have had the perfect start.  Our normal tarpon season for the big 100 lb + fish to be sure of a catch in my opinion is April, May and June you can catch tarpon all year but the main migration is during these months.  So with just two anglers we sett out to the old seven mile bridge in the dark to catch the sunrise bite my personal best time of the day.  Just two other boats and in all fairness not a sign of fish so our minds were drifting when Steve had a savage take but no hook up.  As it got light we began to see small schools of fish and the next boat had a hook up on top alert Steve made no mistakes on the next bite and it was fish on.  This was a well behaved fish and with just a few jumps straight through both bridges in to the open sea and with not a sign of sharks we soon had this fish to the boat and as they say here one for one which I would take any day of the year.

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Last week with all the calm weather a trip to my permit wreck in the bay was on the cards and in all fairness we were surprised not to see a boat on the mark.  Light not good for sight fishing as we have done in the past but lots of annoying fish swimming by but soon we had a fish on and I am afraid off.  They dont dive to the wreck but with their long powerful runs close by it often happens the line touches and it is fish off but John stuck at it and we had one on the boat.  If you wonder where permit get their power just look at the size of the tail must be one of the biggest tails to body size of all fish and boy do they use it. The day was also rounded off with a stunning stingray which more than once sanded up but the old guitar trick worked again and a fantastic African Pompano which have been at this wreck all year.