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Review of the year part one B. F. H

Well in running our Fishing Holidays in the Florida Keys now for over 12 years  2015 has been one of the toughest years ever nothing to do with the fishing which has been of the charts and seems to get better every years but on a personal level.  This year as many of you already know I have had not one but three heart attacks but the good news all now under control with medication and will see about a heart opp in the middle of next year.  I have been more than lucky to find and get the help of Capt Mike Sovay who has become my right hand  (  and arm and leg  )  man and is settling in to far better than I could have ever hoped doing all I can no longer do with ease thanks.  So back to the review of the year part one B. F. H  (  before heart attacks )  stunning start to the year the wrecks in the bay alive with cobia and for the first year a mass of African pompano which were taking everything from small jigs to lures and live baits and more than once has us thinking what the hell is that till we could see the large silver sides as the give away.  Also at the start of the year far more bigger sharks than ever before and big over 400 lb bulls in the bay and around the bridges having to throw the anchor and chase many times.  Big kings around the wrecks as well their first run just goes on and on and of course our friends the goliath grouper stopping a near 500 lb fish getting back to cover a feat done by many anglers.

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It is always fun waiting for the first tarpon which as normal came in March this year the first of the new tarpon regs and all fish over 40 in having to stay in the water so no more slime on the lap photos but that is what the boffins say. Over the years we have taken hundreds of photos but this year one very cool one of a tarpon in full flight a first and I have never seen one like it.  Also with the tarpon but a bit later the permit spawn and yet an other fantastic take of fish one of the hardest fighting fish that take just feet from the surface then on the first run straight down to over 100 ft deep and often more than once.  Also a good run of near 30 lb permit on new wrecks in the bay this can be true sight casting as good as it gets.

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Along with the normal mix of other fish taking up to 50 species during a weeks fishing holiday a start to the year as good as we have ever had with no idea of what was going to come !!

The sunshine state ?

I always feel so sorry for guys who have bad weather on their Fishing Holiday in the Florida Keys but it does happen but our last guests of 2015  Michael, Jim, Philip and Frank I think had our wettest trip ever in over 12 years of doing holidays.  It is often a shock to be told the Florida Keys has over 42 in of rain a year twice that of London and poor Philip’s party had over 7 in for their week and one day due to a massive amount of lightning our first and only no fish day of the year.  Maybe there was a reason ” the curse of the banana ”  yes on the first day Capt Mike screamed from our small cabin  ” who the hell brought bananas ” very much not welcome on any boat in the Keys I have even been told of old Capt’s even coming back and canceling a trip.  On the first day poor Capt Mike was having one of those days when it was not all going to plan so into the cabin and all the bananas over the side to get the curse away.  The one joke I always make about the rain if you are a fish it is always a wet day and when we got to our marks even in the rain the fishing was on fire.  One joke Capt Mike is making now he is settling in is to ask the weight of each guest then he is on a mission to catch them a fish bigger than they are and most trips he is doing this with ease.

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mikes crew

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We see fish over 300 lbs every week so get used to it but like in the case of Jim who’s biggest fish before he came was a salmon of about 10 lbs the first sight of a fish which has abused him like he has never known then way bigger than himself comes as bit of a surprise to say the least see photo !  With the now massive shoals of mackerel its often hard to get guys of the bait grounds again see photo but with the mackerel shoals come the shark and top of the guys fun list was our blacktip hard fighting and a proper shark. Fish of the week was a double figure jack what a fight and on a light spinning rod it was an age before we even saw the fish and played like a true pro.  Well the curse even stayed to the last day my beloved hand built custom spinning rod went over side with its top of the range titanium anti tangle guides it was also the most expensive rod on the boat.  As the say shit happens its not the first rod and reel we have lost and it will not be the last but so many hours went in to making that rod that I have used all over the world even taking a near 30 lb cod in Norway GRRRR !  So guys hope you had a good time and you are all welcome back but Capt Mike will be doing a full body and cavity search for bananas before your next trip !!!!!!!!!!!

Rupert’s week part two

Every once in a while we have one of those special days and if you are on your first Fishing Holiday in the Florida Keys I kind of think it will remain in a very happy place for a very long time.  Well on Rupert’s last but one day we all had one of those days as I said in the last blog the pressure for me was very much on to pay back Rupert for all the many great days and fish I have had on his boat in the north of England.  Very much on the top of his tick list was one of our goliath groupers and the bigger the better yes we catch a lot but so many things have to be right and a massive dose of lady luck has to be thrown is as well.  So with a far from perfect wind day off to our top wreck we went on days of strong wind you only get one tide fishing even in just 12 ft of water if it is wind against tide it just does not happen.  Not sure if it was first or second cast but Giles was soon being well beat up but a strong fish who was taking him round the boat and it was a long time and many hard runs before we all even had a look and then wow a very large African pompano.  A stunning fish which looks like it has had a session in the chrome platters and in the bay has stunning streamers which make it look like a rooster fish and it is even a fantastic table fish so dinner taken care of as well.

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Now on to the major part of the day whist we still had the tide out with the big rod and it was soon fish on but we lost the first two not even with our gear and Rupert on the rod in all fairness some of the grouper on this wreck will be near 1000 lbs yes 1000 lbs and they go any where they want.  The third big fish on Rupert gave it his all and yes we won a fish well over 400 lbs to the boat loads of OMG’s and for me all the weeks pressure off and smiles all round.  Giles was heard to say  ” well that looks like a sack of potatoes ” so now it was time to put the hurt on him as well.  It was so funny when the hook took hold we so nearly lost Giles rod and reel over the side the force the fish slammed him against the side of the boat was awesome and have a look at the photo the fish is just saying  ” what sack of suds am I ? ” Rupert’s luck was riding so high he even had a bull shark again of over 400 lb on a trace with no wire just a very lucky hook hold on mono.

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Nick was moving his ledger rod when out of nowhere two keeper cobia gave chase of the bait and right by the side of the boat his bait was taken and the normal I don’t want to come out of the sea battle started Nick won so diiner was now going to be a mixed grill just how good does it get.  With Mathew joining the party and few blacktip shark and stunning big mackerel, african for all and even one on the fly for Rupert the day was leaving a fixed smile on all and the biggest one on me.

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So there you have one of those weeks that make what I do very special a massive thanks to Capt Mike who after my heath problem has made all this possible and has even added tech support to his long list of titles.  It was also his duty as Fish the Dreams entertainments office to show the guys round Key West on the last day not sure what went on but guess they all slept like babies on the way home.  Kind of think teal Pelagic will be back again stunning week guys.

Rupert’ week part one

Well at last after many years of trying I have managed to get one of my best friends from the north of England Rupert Dury to have his first Fishing Holiday in the Florida Keys.  Over the years I have had some fantastic trips on Rupert’s boat in the North Sea having my first porbeagle shark about 250 lbs, my personal best tope a stunning 63 lbs, bass on live baits. crash diving pollock on lance and a whole host of other fish.  Despite my long  ” sorry Rupert ” stories about the Florida Keys he was not for coming over then last year he said  ” I think for my 50 th I need to come to see you and the Keys ” so game and pressure on.  Well after doing the holidays for 12 years blowing him away was never going to be a problem if the weather gods were on our side so the nearer his week came more than a close eye on the weather and rats it was not looking good.  This session has been up and down one day flat calm then near 30 mph and Rupert’s week started with winds over 20 mph every day but as they say when its tough the tough get going.

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So the first few day hiding behind bridges and banks but with our first cold front I had high hopes of our first run of mackerel and all the big boys who chase them.  In all fairness the boys were having the time of there lives and Rupert is on of those guys who likes to make it even harder with the fly rod so game on bendy fly rod as well and the other guys were having a ball with light spinning rods.  Some days I feel sorry for all you guys who love lure fishing in the UK when the likes of our jack crevalle are on fire it is a fish a cast and the sight of a shoal of fish chasing down your lure and then one nailing it will live with you a long time.  Well after for me a very long three days we were at last able to hit a bay wreck.

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Now those of you who know wreck fishing even more so in the Florida Keys if you want our monster grouper you have to get the anchor right and with still a strong wind our first trip it was not going to happen.  With wind against tide it was even worse but what saved my bacon was the biggest mess of jacks I have found for many years and yes the first of our winter mackerel.  On Rupert’ wish list were two fish a large shark of course and a large grouper now when you have a massive shoals of jacks and mackerel the big boys are not far behind.  So out went the shark rods and to my relief yes a big shark on, a near 400 lb bull for Rupert and yes we took a lot of crevalle but all were on ice and with the winds dropping and bait box filled the next day just the other box to tick for Rupert.