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Archive of entries posted in the year 2016

Neil’s week

Sorry yet again for lack of blogs back in the UK and it has been a constant round of doctors tests more doctors and more tests.  As many of you will know my three hearts attacks last year has left me a very broken man and on heavy meds any fish over 1 yes 1 lb a no go, very hard after 50 years of chasing and catch big fish all over the world.  Pushing very hard for the open heart surgery that should put me back on track and having it sooner than later.  Sorry about that personal rant but it is pissing me of more than you can realise so back to Neil’s week.

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DSCN5928Neil and Doug were back on their second trip and this time bring Keith who just seemed to fit in and after all the years of doing Fishing Holidays in the Florida Keys ticking boxes for newbies still gives me a fantastic kick.  Well glad to report the permit were still on the wrecks while Neil and Doug both had fantastic fish poor  Keith lost out to the shark.  What did make up for it was yet again fantastic barracuda fish and thanks to Capt Mike’s northern pike trick , very sort and noisy figure of eight action on less than a foot of line, right by the boat fish nearly every time.  Neil had one of the bluest fish in the Keys a blue parrot fish and we all had a laugh he had a very blue shirt on at the time.

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Tarpon on the other hand not sure why maybe the very big tides but more likely the massive full moon proved a bit harder than normal.  The numbers of fish at Bahia Honda just of the charts but even with up to 30 boats just a few fish caught not in my opinion bangs for bucks.  So it was back to old school up at silly o’clock and back to 7 mile and yes the same channels I have fished for over 15 years.  Guess what fish every morning what do they say if it aint broke don’t fix it, first boat there and 2 for 2 before an other boat even turns up works for me any day.  The biggest kick I always get Neil booking for his next trip on his last day, rebooking always keeps me going in these dark days of my personal life.

Lee’s week

I suppose it is still a bit surreal for me to sit here in the Florida Keys and do this blog on my 62 nd birthday.  As they say old age is a privilege not enjoyed by everyone and many a dark night during my three heart attacks wired up to god knows what and trying to sleep with all the monitors bleeping this all seemed that it would never happen again.  Well it did and yes I am back doing what I love hosting Fishing Holidays in the Florida Keys OK I can not reel in a big fish again or run my beloved boat but I can still watch people fish their dreams and with the excellent help of Capt Mike running the boat it’s not a bad option.

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The other thing that kept me going during those dark days was the memories of fishing with the like’s of Lee and John who a long time ago went from customers to true friends giving me so much to look back on.  Will never forget Lee’s epic 2 hr 23 min fight with a 1000 lb plus shark or him dragging a monster bull shark up from over 500 ft on the tuna grounds.  John’s near 100 lb grouper on a fly rod or his lesson thanks to Skype putting a new starter on the boat when he was running my holidays.  This years fight with that 45 lb permit will also be a memory that will last for a very long time.

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As is the norm with Lee’s weeks we have so many high points Ben’s fight with an over 800 lb 14 ft hammerhead.  That shark attack on Steve’s high 100’s tarpon and all on video just so cool.  Lee being shown the figure of eight way to catch barracuda and yes it does work they just go on and on.

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Just have to say a massive thanks to the likes of Lee and John and all my customers for giving me the reason to fight and carry on.

Permit madness

It’s always been the case that guys on our Fishing Holidays in the Florida Keys once they have ticked the tarpon box the next fish is permit.  Now normally this means staking these spooky fish in the very skinny waters on the flats and sight fishing not easy even on a flats boat and very hard in mine but for about two months of the year we have lady luck on our side.  This is when the permit spawn and this they do on the deep wrecks in the Atlantic so with the weather gods on our side we have managed two trips during Lee’s group stay.  What happens is that all the permit from our local flats make the trip to series of wreckage where they took parts from the old 7 mile bridge and dumped them in just over 100 ft of water.  When their numbers get into the hundreds they shoal and swim in a 100 ft cone and do a mass spawn I have spoken to divers who say it is just amazing.  So us lucky anglers can throw their faveroite food a small crab over the wreck where there is no natural permit food and bang fish on.

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Sounds easy but you have many problems these fish are just so powerful hard to put into words so when they do their power dives back to the wrecks it only takes one touch of the wreck on the line and it is game over.  First trip was special not one but two life time trophy fish over 30 lbs one 31 lb and on 33 lbs fish of a life time but even more pleasing to me all anglers had permit back to the boat. Not only do you have the wrecks to take off fish but sharks can be a problem but this was one of those days when it all went right happy anglers and happy guides.  No surprise on the last day all hands went up for a tarpon morning then back to the permit wrecks.  Poor John lost a very large tarpon so I tapped him on the shoulder and said don’t worry you will just have to catch a 40 lb permit.  Guess what that’s just what hid did after a long and hard fight he had our second largest permit ever a slob of 45 lbs in the boat epic !

Awesome !!

Very quick blog one of the most amazing mornings I have ever had in the Florida Keys a stunning 1 hr plus fight with a monster near 200 lb 7 ft tarpon then from nowhere an attack by a hammerhead over over 12ft  and we guess 1000 lb plus the good news it hit the tarpon more than once but it got away as it was just too big.

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DSCN5750If you watch the video and yes sorry for the colourful language but it was all very dramatic we broke the line on purpose better to have the fish get away than get eaten still speechless.

Moocher madness

Strange blog title but let me explain.  Our Fishing Holidays in the Florida Keys have always been about doing what the customer wants not what we want and with guys coming over 10 times it appears to work.  On our last trip we have had regulars Rodney Rigby and his friend George Keywood now on past trips Rodney especially has most of the fish in the Florida Keys so on this trip his plan was to catch as many as he could on his beloved Moocher reel.  The Moocher is near enough a centre pin reel and is made by Shimano but for Key’s fish has a couple of basic problems one just 14 in of line back for on handle turn and just a max drag of 5 lb yes just 5 lb of drag.  So after we had tick their boxes in the bay and offshore with my  ” normal ” the last few days Rodney wanted a permit and tarpon on his Moocher reel and ugly stick rod so off we went.

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First the permit while George was having a blast with Permit on our normal gear spinning rods with 40 lb braid and drags up to 15 lb Rodney was on the long waiting game on the Moocher rod.  Then it happened  ” fish on ” and yes a permit was on the Moocher  oh dear the drag was under pressure from the start not only is it just 5 lb but smooth it is not just on and off.  Then after a long fight it all went a bit strange the fish rushed to the top and we all saw a near 30 lb permit but the reason it came up was a shark and when you have a shark on a permit it only ends one way. So no permit on the Moocher but Rodney showed it could be done and with no shark it I an sure would have come to the boat.  Last morning and George had the first tarpon which took his bait in less than 20 seconds and on our normal gear to the boat in less than 30 now out came the Moocher which I had put 50 yards of 30 lb mono on then the normal gear to give Rodney half a chance.  Soon it was fish on and on the Moocher so started a long fight which took us from the dark through dawn and into the day. Now as regulars know we chase down all tarpon but this was the chase to end all tarpon cases and I have to give full marks to Capt Mike his work when the fish was under the bridge was amazing.  How ever after well over an hour and the leader touched so fish ” caught ” it was not the reel but the rod exploded.  So Rodney proved you can catch fish on none normal gear god knows what my next challenge will be next year yes I worry but it keeps me going.

The Keys on fire

Yes I know I have used that title before but after over 12 years of running fishing holidays in the Florida Keys and lack of sleep  (  thanks tarpon  ) sometimes at 5 am the brain is a little tired and guess what with the tarpon running, massive permit on the wrecks and the tuna grounds loaded I reckon it is.  The bridges are loaded with the annual migration of tarpon through the Keys and this year as most its not only the tarpon there but an ever increasing amount of big and I mean over 1000 lb sharks who let us poor anglers do all the hard work then take your fish.  Yes I know its all natural that big fish eat smaller fish but when you have worked your butt off and fought the fish all round the bridge and got it into open water its just not cricket ! Photo shows the end of poor George,s first tarpon of this trip its not the first and certainly will not be the last such is tapon fishing in the Florida Keys.

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Even lost a huge permit yesterday on the deep sea wrecks to a shark good news so far this week both Rodney ( an other Rodney ) and George have both had good permit to the boat.  There is this year enough tarpon at Bahia Honda bridge to fish and catch all day is you want and no crazy early starts in fact a first for me we had a tarpon the other day a long way away from the bridge in the open sea.  The strange thing about the fight was the fish went all the way back to the bridge much to the amusement of the captains fishing there with a  ” where the hell did you guys hook up ” my new secret spot.

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The good news about the Keys it is just a week to go to the end of our closed season for all grouper maybe four months is a long time but boy am I looking forwards to those big creamy white fillets its been to long for me.  Just to rub it in one of George’s first fish was a keeper black grouper bet he went back telling his mates  ” bet that pissed them off ” guess what it did try you luck again next week my ice box awaits.

My Bromley boys

Sorry yet again and it is still thanks to Windows 10 my blogging is way behind and a very short tip back yo UK to see my 34-year-old son get married on very proud and happy mum and dad but boy the weather up in the far north of the UK not good at all but back in the Keys nice and warm again.  So with the sage of Windows 10 and being told at a well know computer store to get the wrong new laptop  ( now on  number 2 ) it’s a shame that my oldest group of anglers My Bromley boys  Graham, Steve, John and Dave have missed out on web time sorry. As normal with them it’s so much more than the fishing and so it should be they are my number one banter crew and I just smile all the time.  Weather not perfect and our struggle with conditions but we fish ever day and Capt Mike even got them a four rod hook up at the Tuna grounds Mike is learning so fast cant praise enough.

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John even tried and had success with a UK pike float rig that takes the bait on wind drift away from the boat and even against the tide and photos to prove it.  If you take the time to think about it the wind does take all the smells and good stuff away as much as the tide so it makes sense to have the wind take away a bait away as well, well  done John. Still more than impressed with Dave’s battle with that monster bull shark at near 500 lbs Dave at over 70 yes 70 had it all under control from start to finish at boat side top marks and old guys rule.  Waiting on some more photos from the guys so hopefully there will be a Bromley boys part two and yes I am still smiling.

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One thing did happen on their trip species number 126 came to the boat but we are having to wait on an official ruling to see if it counts.  The problem yes the fish came to and on the boat but it was in the mouth of an other fish said poor pipe fish’s day was just not getting any better first eaten by a grouper and then dragged on to boat will keep the world informed.

Big baits big fish

The one thing I love about our sport is how it evolves over time in now 12 years of running Fishing Holidays in the Florida Keys we are doing things we would never have done all those years ago. Take baits for instance one of our much-loved quarry is the goliath grouper reaching near 500 lb of raw power a feared opponent indeed.  Strange but true the bigger the bait the bigger the fish baits of over 5 lb are common and a few years ago we due to the lack of big baits we tried a small shark.  Now before all the tree huggers jump on me in the Florida Keys despite what you read we have huge amount of shark and two of the smaller species the blacknose and the sharpnose can reach plague numbers and the Florida regs say I can use them so we gave one a try.  Well just yards from the boat float under and massive grouper on in fact it is such a good bait it is now the number one go to bait if you want a truly big grouper.

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The way we fish for shark baits can also be a problem with all the chum, oil and blood over the side often we are surrounded by fish which just tear the baits apart before anything big will even see them most of these being small shark which destroy a bait a bite at a time.  So as Baldrick said a cunning plan not that cunning last year we started to use the small shark as bait and guess what it worked better than ever, here you have a bait that stays on the hook and is left alone by smaller shark and if you cut one in half the trailing guts send all the right smells out.  However at Fish the Dream it is all about the guests and before I kill and use a shark we always ask them if it is alright to do so and if they so no we dont.  My Bromely boys were more than happy to use half  shark and a few days ago had one of the biggest bull shark of the year an over 400 lb fish that took us on a near half mile trip before coming in for a photo shoot and well done Dave showing old guys still can get the job done.

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With big fish you need a safe pair of hands at the boat and I have to say Capt Mike is proving yet again to be more than capable of handling these big fish I must admit he is turning out to be a very capable and able captain and an asset to Fish the Dream.  Not sure if it is the steely stare or just his power but the big fish just seem to give up well done.

Beware !

Sorry about the lack of blogs this time we have those kind guys at Microsoft to thank.  After their many pop ups and pressure from all around I gave up and did the free upgrade to Windows 10 well I have to say for a few days I was impressed and my old lap top was working great and for the first time in ages very fast indeed.  All was fine or a few days then for no reason it failed to start but with the help of Fish the Dreams tech support  (  Capt Mike ) I was up and running again.  However Capt Mike was worried and he backed up all my files on an external hard drive and boy was I a lucky bunny as the next day it crashed again this time Capt Mike decided to wipe it and take it back to complete reset.  Fine again but a pain to reload all my files ect but we were back running again then guess what down again and this time it would no longer allow a reset.  Many long calls to Microsoft who said I would need to get soft ware to take it back to pre Windows 10 so many days offline and all for nothing. I am on a short break back to UK so I decided just to get a new lap top and with all the Easter deals I think I have got what I want and most important back on-line and blogging again.

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Interesting last few days with the Jersey boys and did we break a State record, in all the years of doing Fishing Holidays in the Florida Keys we have only come close to record once this was a very heavy and pregnant blacktip shark.  Both myself and the angler were not going to kill said fish which you still have to do to claim a record which still seems wrong but it is what you have to do to get the record both of us being more than happy to see the fish swim away and pup. The fish the Jersey boys caught was a blue runner a fish we use mostly for bait but they pull way above their weight and we once had a fly angler who was just trashed by blue runners in the near 2 lb bracket more fun then he had ever had on a fly rod.  It was Chris who had the big one unfortunately I was in my shut down mode due to my heavy heart attack meds I go into shut down and just have to sleep a pain but I have to.  So photos were taken and the fish put back again thanks to Capt Mike and he also took the very moody shot of Rob just at the start of our epic day on the tuna grounds.  Back to the huge blue runner state record is 8 lb 5 oz was this bigger was it a record we will never know you will just have to come back and catch it again, great to fish with you guys yet again and as to Rob  ” I don’t want to big ” enough said.

An other great start

Well its always welcome to see my boys from Jersey and this trip was trip down memory lane as Rob brought Chris, Glenn and Matthew who were the original crew who first came on one of our Fishing Holidays in the Florida Keys over 12 years ago how time flies.  Over the years we have all changed Rob and Chris have now retired Glenn and Matthew have new jobs and me well lets not go down that route but one thing has not changed we all love to fish and the boat is a laughter factory as it should be.  Not only did they all bring their smiles from Jersey but a touch of good weather luck as well and just by chance I traded some wreck numbers so it was off to a new wreck in the bay.  Just as we were getting our bearings on the mark an other boat appeared but on very nice young captain said alongside its yours you were here first and left us to sett anchor going a good distance off.  What a day we had it all macs, grouper, jacks, bluefish and many more but best of all the first tiger shark to the boat for the Jersey boys and to round the day off  a hammerhead and the fattest black tip I have ever seen.

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Next day with a flat calm day forecast I suggested as I have an old school party how about an old school tuna trip by this I mean getting up at silly o clock 26 mile trip in the dark getting to the tuna grounds in the dark and being the first boat.  This was how we used to tuna fish and with no other boats it was always so much better so a group of older  guys with sleep very much in their eyes arrived at the tuna grounds but we were boat number 2 a long line boat was already working the deeps for amberjack a good sign.  Strange no birds or fish on the top so after a few trolls out came the jigs and boy did we find the tuna at about 200 ft they were thick and soon the crew was bent double and the wake up medicine was taken by all fun, fun, fun.

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Now as I have said before one of the reasons people come back time and time again is we let you the anglers make the call so the night before this trip I asked the boys does any one want to do big and deep meaning the famous humps amberjack in 500 ft and I got a NO been there done that years ago so the big rods were left at home.  So how shall I put it I was little surprised to see Rob with a monster shad he had used in Iceland going down to the bottom.  Guess what as it got down the 500 ft  BANG rod buckled over and this over 60-year-old was in a lot of pain but I have to say he played it like a pro and after a long time and heaps of abuse and mirth from the crew he had a near 80 lb amberjack on his lap unable to hold fish for photo well done that man.  Matthew on the other side of the boat let his jig go a little deep and guess what bang AJ number two the during the fight this very big fish got even bigger as a monster shark decide it wanted it to.  Not such a good out come snapped light jig rod and one of the most amazing things I have ever seen on my boat Capt Mike handline the fish and broken rod up 500 ft to save some very expensive line epic !