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Ruperts back part one

It was great to see Rupert Dury back in the Keys after years of trying to get him to come over it now seems he can hardly keep away. After now doing Fishing Holidays in the Florida Keys for over 12 years we can now see and record changes in the fish and fishing.  Take the African Pompano these used to be rare fish in the Keys and we caught them on the deeper wrecks near 200 ft in the Atlantic. I n recent years we are catching more and more on our distant wrecks in Florida Bay in just about 12 ft of water. Rupert’s party had great fishing for these AP’s as they are now being called even getting double headers not only are these hard fighting jacks but stunning table fare if you like me love eating what you catch. The strange thing about the AP’s they keep their long streamer fins which they are born with in the bay but lose them when they migrate to the Atlantic. In the past for a first timer you will hear the shout rooster fish no its just an African but how cool would it be if we had rooster in the keys.

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They also had fun on our cuda wreck still not sure why but we have one distant wreck in the bay that has a very large population of Barracuda.  The numbers can be so high that on a hot sunny day often the come over to the boat and seek shelter under the hulls.  Talk about frustration to see near 40 lb fish just lying under the boat and not taking anything very annoying.  Also hard to take is the fact they often follow lures right back to the boat and turn away at the last moment.  Often the cause is the angler who slows down the lure as he sees the fish this will make the fish turn away rather than strike.  It was taught to me many years ago why with the example if you are being chased by a lion would you slow down if he got closer, no its the natural thing to do to speed up and try to get away.  Next time you are lure fishing and see a fish wind faster and move the rod tip and your strike rate will go up.

Mac attack

With the Florida Keys having their first deep  ” cold ” front of the year yes the night temps this week could go down to just  72 and highs through the day  78 ,  the first lows lower than 80 brings out the locals in some very funny clothes just have to laugh.  What it does bring on is the first autumn or fall as they say, runs of mackerel and early sailfish offshore. What the mackerel mean to our guys on Fishing Holidays in the Florida Keys is fun fishing on so many levels and the taste if you like of stunning table fish and more important to us UK fisherman a ready supply of one of the best baits in the Florida Keys.  Biggest numbers are the Spanish mackerel if you are very lucky up to 8 or 9 lbs but can be on huge numbers and they once you have them on the feed will take any thing you want.  From dead baits or live to all sorts of artificial and if water conditions are right fly as well.  Strange thing about fly fishing for mackerel we found a deadly method a few years ago by accident when an angler was sorting out a tangle and the fly was just left in the tidal stream bang fish on. We tried this method again this time with no tangles and sure enough fish on in no time I think its your fly looking like it is swimming against the tide and not winning that triggers a strike but hell it works.

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Next is the cero mackerel a bit bigger than the Spanish and the biggest always come to live baits our ballyhoo being the number on bait by far. Once you have a good feeding school of ballyhoo behind the boat its game on with a live one fished just below the surface just behind the main school and looking like a lost fish just way to tempting for raiding cero.  The biggest plus with the cero is that they are way at the top of table fare in the Keys from stunning sushi yes we always have the kit on the boat to any way you want them cooked at night at the many local restaurants.

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Then we have our biggest and baddest mackerel the King Mackerel and it’s not called the King for any reason with the biggest well over 50 lbs and we have them both sides of the Keys and let me tell you a fight with a near 50 lb mackerel in just 8 ft of water will remain with you for a long time.  One very special and productive method is kite fishing if the wind is right it is possible to keep a live bait just on the surface with no visible signs of trace or line.  The take is spectacular to say the least with an explosion on the surface then the screaming drag of the rod which is just left in the rod holder, strange just how many fish the rod holders catch they always do just what we ask them to do.  Nothing till the fish is on lesson learnt you hope so but alas often not the case the angler strikes on slack line and the fish spits the bait.

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So there it is bring on the cold fronts and bring on the mackerel and long live the King.