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” Shark “

Now there’s a word that sparks a whole host of emotions for different people in different situations around the world.  From pure panic for the surfers and swimmers on warm water beaches,  to utter disappointment and frustration for an angler who has done everything right for over an hour to see his trophy tarpon devoured in seconds by a fish well over 1000 lbs.  To the utter delight of an angler who knows he is about to start the spectacular fight with the fish of his choice and his bait and tackle has proved right. Well over the more than 12 years of running Fishing Holidays in the Florida Keys we have been more than lucky with our shark fishing having fish to over 1000 lbs, 12 different species and one stunning day when four very tired anglers boated 63 shark.  Bangs for your buck as they say the shark in the Florida Keys tick all the boxes, you get them to come to you plenty of chum and oil you don’t have to get up at 3 am they run and jump to give you a very full on fight.  Take freely and very rarely pull the hook and are more than happy to take just about any fresh or frozen bait doing all this all year-long no high or low season.

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dscn4155Over 12 years the way we fish has not changed much and the very cool thing about shark fishing in the Keys most of our fish come from very shallow, less than 12 ft water which mean long instant runs.  It is often the case we will run two long rods well back in the tide which look after themselves allowing anglers to fish for other fish and have plenty of time to change rods.  Often it is the case with the bigger fish  300 lb plus we have to follow to get line back again this can be very exciting and a challenge having to go round some of the thousands of pot markers that seem to litter Florida Bay.  The one thing that has changed over the years is our bait of choice whilst mackerel and jack will always catch shark often it will be demolished by smaller fish.  Dont get me wrong blacknose and sharpnose shark along with smaller blacktip on the right light rod and reel are as much fun as you want but if they are hungry it takes then no time to devour any size bait.  Not sure why bit in recent years we have lost lots of these smaller shark to guess what bigger shark so why not use these smaller shark as bait as we do for grouper.  Game on as they say and when the rod goes with a 10 lb shark on as bait on you know its going to be into a monster, we have no problem using shark as bait it is all legal and there are days when these small shark are in plague numbers.

The Whippy Walk

Just finished the Facebook challenge of 10 fish or fishy moments in 10 days having run our Fishing Holidays in the Florida Keys for over 12 years and fishing for 55 years guess it was more about the fish to leave out rather than the ones to post.  Despite Windows 10  ” Upgrade ”  costing me many photos, yes I should have done more back ups, still fantastic fun going back through old photos.  Still amazes me just how much our fishing in the Keys has changed in just 12 years, methods, baits and tackle just goes to show you can teach an old dog new tricks.  None more so how one of our favorite targets the goliath grouper has changed now reliably giving us fish to 500 lbs and I still have to give the credit for this to one man Jim Whippy.  When Jim first came out to do a magazine article on us the way we used to fish for goliath was to drift across the wrecks which were nearly all in very shallow water and with the power of these fish most just turned and went straight back to the wreck and game over.  Jim came up with a plan this being to anchor up tide get the fish to come out of the wreck then with no drag just locked up use the full length of the boat to drag the fish back never letting off, no pump and wind so the fish never could turn and get back to the wreck.

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Also the hooks have changed we now use massive 24 / 0  circle hooks all debarbed you can see just how well these work from the photos.  As has the bait now our number one bait is one of the numerous small shark in the keys we have three species we can use not sure why but again have a look at the photos they just love them.  We have to say we were the first in the Keys to start the swim with grouper way back in 2011 young Kevin jumped in and started a craze that is spreading to other charter boats for that photo of a life time a bit mad maybe but one of my top photos.