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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.





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.







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 !

Weather gods again

Well it had to happen John’s week started just to good and we had  a right good spanking from the gods for the last few day of his Fishing Holiday in the Florida Keys but as I have said many times before one of the many pluses of a trip out here we can find some where to fish and fish on even the poorest day.  We have found some new marks in the many channels that run north to south north of Bahia Honda and some of these go as deep as 20 ft nearly twice the depth of the average in Florida Bay but some run just feet away from banks of less than 1 ft.  The resulting shelter always seems strange to fish in near 30 mph winds and some 15 miles into Florida Bay but waves less than 1 ft but it works and some very and I mean big fish live in these channels.  Take the other day we were having a reasonable day in said channel good mixed fishing macs, ladyfish, snapper and shark when I just had this feeling there might be something big under the boat so over went the grouper rod and straight away Dereck yes lucky Dereck as the boys now call him was into a fish.  This was no monster and Dereck soon had it all under control but as he had this I would say about 40 lb fish near the boat we had a  O M G  moment the water under Dereck fish went very dark as a monster maybe pushing 500 lb + came up from the bottom to have a look at Dereck’s fish.  Well true to say the whole crew went very quiet with a  ” did you see the size of that ” I know of one guy who comes in May who just might spend a day or two there.





Well the annoying wind turned for the last day a bit more to the south which made even these channels unfishable so we had to tuck in close to the island in the north shore to get any shelter which we found in my tarpon hole.  We found this a few years ago after having to hug the coast on a run to the tarpon when from no where the water dropped from 6 ft to 14 ft a hole about  50 yds across.  Now anywhere in Florida Bay that sort of depth change means fish and this hole always seem to produce and on John’s last day it was full of pompano.  Now these little fish a cousin of are beloved permit while they do no grow to the same size fight just as hard and on the dinner plate right up there near the top.




Have to say just how much Capt Mike and myself enjoyed fishing with  John, Ian, and Dereck way to much fun and despite for John’s first time in his many trips nothing big to his near 500 lb standard we all had fantastic time and they are all already booking next years trip see you soon.

Great start and no 126

When your local friends come from the UK it is a different kind of pressure I find myself under now John, Ian and Dereck are always happy with anything they catch but I am more happy if it is good as it can be.  Now my many regulars to our Fishing Holidays in the Florida Keys know just how big a part the weather gods play so you can imagine just how happy I was to see the first few days it was going to be a case of go anywhere you want.  So the first day it was lets take it when we can and of the near 30 miles to the tuna grounds we went and for the first time in ages no tuna but we still had a fantastic day.  Fish of the day had to be a near 30 lb almaco jack that Dereck took on the jigging rod at well over 200 ft first thing the jack did was take an other 200 ft of the reel so started a long dogged fight but in the old experienced hands of Dereck the fish was never going to win.  Then on the way home we saw fish feeding on the small fish that live under the larger man “o ” war jelly fish so out with a lure and dorado on  yes it was turning out to be a Dereck day but that’s just fishing.


dereck 2

Day two was again offshore but not so far and with over 50 ft water visibility stopped of on the reef for some barracuda fun and yellow jacks.  Not sure why but this year the yellow jack have been awesome and on the right light tackle fight like any jacks but a big plus on their side just as good on the diner plate. No apologies for taking about eating fish we only take enough for a meal and always follow the strict Florida fish regs and I just like eating fish end of rant.  So with the reef cover off a bit deeper and with the pick down in about 150 ft some fantastic bottom action the biggest jolthead porgy I have ever seen and poor John lost what would have been the biggest fish of the trip just unable to make any line that’s why its called fishing not catching.  Before we left the reef Ian had species no 126 to the boat in the 12 years we have been doing fishing holidays,a box fish mother nature was having a fun day when she came up with this on the hard skeleton is on the outside like a turtle and the fins poke out and not sue why but the skin has an amazing hexagonal pattern.

box 1

box 2






Yesterday we went back to what this group likes rod bending in Florida bay wreck hopping with goliath grouper and shark on top of the list.  Well the bay did not disappoint and we went 2 for 4 on grouper and the biggest blacktip shark we have had for years so big we had to throw the anchor and chase but again with the steady hands of Ian on the rod it was soon fish to the boat and the now getting better all the time Capt Mike on the leader it was fish for the photo shots and then off to fight again.  So I think we all have to say a big thank you to the weather gods to fish with friends and have fun in the Florida Keys is more than I could ever ask for.




Yes by the way I do let my Captain fish and he is turning out to be an outstanding  Florida Keys fisherman it is just an other way of finding out what the fish our taking making it a better day for our guests our main job.

The lady get’s it so right

Not sure why or how but females on our Fishing Holidays in the Florida Keys do rather well maybe its the special female pheromones or the  Ballantyne effect  ” the young lady who caught the UK record salmon ” but they just do.  Last week it was a pleasure yet again to fish with Paul and Carol Constable both have a UK background of freshwater competition fishing and this trip Paul proudly told me of a recent match where Carol was placed right next to top UK Match angler Bob Nudd and soundly beat him.  The weather gods still not on our side this year making it harder than it should be but we found and caught fish every day and yes most days Carol did best.  After many years of watching Carol fish, she came to fishing late in life not to be left at home decided to join Paul on his weekend trips, I think its the female style that brings in the fish not the male  ” battle ” more of slowly, slowly, catchy monkey well what ever it is it works and Carol is one of the best.


paul 1

gary 2

gary 3

So half way through our now annual four-month Grouper ban and as an avid fish eater the original organic good for you food I tell you it sucks having to put back fish that taste so good.  Just like you guys in the UK having your first bass ban its tough going and I have to ask my self have the boffins got it right and are total ban the way to go. personal I think it’s better to alter the slot take zone always putting back the large egg bearing female fish and maybe altering the keep number one nice fish for the pot seems to be the way to go.  Nearly all large fish are female and on the cooking side of fish biggest is not best anyway and over here in the US the use of the slot system has worked so well on bass and snook its got to be the way to go to keep all sides happy in the mean time roll on May and grilled grouper.