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Archive of entries posted in the year 2010

Up the Creek Without a Paddle

Firstly, a Happy Christmas and a Good New Year to all our past, present and future customers at Fish the Dream. I hope I’ve made a few dreams come true and I’ll do all I can to make new ones come  true.

Weather – back in the UK this sucks big time! Never seen so much deep snow and low day time temps.

As someone said, global warming where is it I want to go. Even had a few cold fronts in the Keys. If they aren’t too long it just fires up the fish and makes them move to find warmer water. With our boat it is always possible to go further offshore and find warmer water and fish.

Bach to blog title, the thing I love about the Keys is it’s always possible to fish despite the winds. It was on on such day recently, to get out of the wind, we went up a mangrove system. As regulars will know, I always like one big rod down in the Keys – there are some VERY big fish in very shallow water. With a live bait down, Brian sat it out while the rest of the party were having fun with the normal run of smaller fish in the mangroves. Then Brian shouts “fish on” and something very large starts to drag him around the mangroves. We had to up tie off and follow.  After a very hard fight we got the fish to the boat, a huge sting ray well into the 100s possible 150+. Well done, Brian, and it’s always nice to prove a theory right.

We have managed to keep our prices down with no price increase for 2011. So, don’t just dream, come and Fish the Dream!

All the best again,

Rodney and Helen

101 Not Out

Strange title for blog, but with the recent cricket scores from down under and yet another new weird and wonderful fish, I put my research hat on.

Great to see Dave, Leslie and Stuart again for their second trip this year and Brian, another regular, came with them. During a windy day we found ourselves deep in the mangroves and Leslie found herself attached to a strange fish. Not long before, I had seen a picture of a guitar fish in a mag so, sounding like a prof I declared, “Oh, that’s a guitar fish”.

We have always been lucky with strange fish and, with the reference books, I decided to count up all the different species we have caught. It came as a big surprise that the total is now 101. Foot note to the guitar fish: if we had got it back live it was worth $500+.

The rest of the week the fish was good as normal, nice to see the fly rods out again, and Brian certainly had his fair share of good fish including a 150lb+ stingray (full story next blog) shark and mac.

Back to the capture of the guitar fish – Leslie always does well, and the way she handled probably the biggest bull shark I have ever seen was top notch. Well done.

Back in the UK for the holidays so if anyone wants to phone, please call on 01668 216173.

Stay warm,


The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

It was good to see the Keating brothers at last this year. Their first trip this year was cancelled due to the ash cloud. Mixed feelings about this, but I suppose unlike a boat or car you can’t just pull over.  Back to the Keatings’ trip, like I have said before the first few trips to the Keys tend to just blow people away, then comes the wish list. On one day Alan said, “I have always wanted to catch a big Dorado”, so game on.

I love it. Well, first day we found a textbook mark 600ft colour change and a few birds, and we even had live ballyhoo baits, but no Dorado. Next day still on a small weed line in 250ft but this weed line had a bit of bait, so slow speed trolling with just hand held rods. Then, as is often the case with trolling, BANG – fish on and a big Dorado for Alan.

Hence the blog title The Good, Alan’s Dorado. The bad a Scorpion Fish, spines with venom. The Ugly everyone fish to hate – a Catfish.

So, Alan, what’s the next challenge?

Stay lucky,


Tiger Tiger Burning Bright

Last week’s guests, regular Eric Muench and friends, achieved a new boat PB. We have always been lucky with tiger shark, catching more than our fair share. Most captains in the Keys only rarely see tigers but we catch may be 4 or 5 a year, but Eric topped this with 3 in one trip.

Eric takes the self drive option and now with many trips under his belt is really doing well. Don’t worry about me having a few days off – my darling wife finds plenty for me to do. You know the score guys, do one job on the list and two more appear.

Back to the fishing, I took the boat one day as Eric had things to do and we nailed a good black grouper. It’s amazing that after 12 years we are still finding new ways to catch fish and my new method of grouper fishing has yielded blacks to over 50lb.

Back to the tigers, in my opinion the nicest looking shark in the water. A few weeks ago a large group were seen around a dead whale near Key West. In fact the world record was caught feeding on a dead whale but the record was thrown out as they deemed the angler was using mammal chum, bet that sucked.

Stay lucky,


3 2 1

3 2 1 doesn’t refer to Dusty Bin but the number of times my first party this session have been fishing with me.  Kevin: 3 times,  Dave: twice and, newcomer to Fish the Dream, John.

Maybe a better title for the blog would be: “It all comes to those who wait”, and we had to wait when, after a promising first afternoon with a 200lb+ shark, the weather turned a bit windy.  I always tell guests, if you imagine a flat calm day I have 200+ spots to take you to but as the wind speed gets up the number decreases.  It’s also very hard for people who have been before, as they just want to get back to a favourite mark.  Well this was the case this week, when 20mph winds from the north kept us tucked in on the south side of the island and in the mangroves.   Plenty of small fish and always the chance of a big one but it was not where we all wanted to be, and newcomer John was wondering what all the hype was about.  But I suppose we were catching.

Last day and the pressure was on, so we just went for it.  I am lucky with my boat as big seas are no problem, so north 20 miles into the bay to a favourite wreck.

Well she did not let us down and the weather gods smiled as well, with dropping winds it was full on ’till dark.  Goliath grouper to 150, spinner shark to 80, keeper snapper and gag grouper.  Soon in the chum slick we had ballyhoo, the candy of all the mackerel in the Keys, and when a 7lb cero hit the deck out came the sushi kit and shore lunch at sea – YUM YUM.

To finish the day and trip off, it was fitting that newcomer John found out what the Keys is all about and after dancing around the boat a 30lb+ king mackerel was boated.

Well done John and all.  I hope to see you all again for the 4 3 2 trip.


PS Thanks all for letting me do no lifting to aid my hernia recovery.

Post Op Blues

Well, the op went OK.  Not the one day key hole surgery I had hoped for but in hospital for three days after open surgery.  It seems the cutbacks are here already, our friends at N.I.C.E. have decided to save money by going back to open surgery if they think you are fit enough.  Recovery going fine, but it was a bit strange to see ones nether bits bald and black and blue.  Had the last visit to doctor to get the all clear to fly and we go back to the Keys on 28th – can’t wait.  The only problem, told no bike or heavy lifting for up to three months, that sucks.

For the first time I will turn left on the plane.  I decided to cash in air miles for the first time and fly in the front.  The hernia is OK but not sure, just weeks after surgery, how being cramped in economy for 8 hours would do so just the one upgrade.

Back in the UK I felt a bit bad about the long lay-off so decided the best medicine was a bit of gentle fishing and went to a day ticket trout lake.  Now grumpy old git rant, WHAT THE HELL IS IT ABOUT BRITISH ANGLERS AND DAY TICKET WATERS!  I looked all over my ticket and nowhere could I find that it was compulsory to litter and leave line and damage fences, but apparently this is what you must do.  Strange, my last day ticket water was in Italy and what a difference – no litter and so nice at the weekend.  Families came down just to barbecue and enjoy the lake.  What a difference!  Further up the coast they even put a skip for the rubbish at the local power station for the anglers (I say that very loosely most just turn undersized bass into curries or cash) but the litter was still so bad as the anglers were incapable of putting it in the skip.  The result – shut the car park near the sea and make the anglers walk, well done anglers.

Back to my trout fishing, they didn’t start to feed till dusk when they came up to feed and had six.  Kept two plump 1.5 lb fish for the smoker, they were very tasty.  What surprised me was how well developed the roe was for a rainbow and how well they fought.  Another surprise was the sweetcorn inside.  (I just love to look in fish guts.)  Apparently this is how the locals poach.

Well, seven days work to do in three days before trip back so must make a start.



Dolphin (Dorado) Madness

Hi all,

Sorry sorry yet again for the long time between blogs.  No excuses, just a mad summer back in the UK for our hurricane break.  Took Helen for her annual pilgrimage to see Andrea Bocelli in Tuscany and being registered disabled Helen gets to go free.  Top marks, Mr Bocelli.  I even managed a few hard fighting carp as I sneaked in a travel rod this year.

The rest of the summer has been taken up with fighting builders as we were having a new conservatory built.  Now it is finished it was worth all the grief and we should have done it years ago.  Also have been battling the NHS to get a minor op done during my summer stay in UK.  Can’t fault the NHS with the way they have dealt with my wife’s MS, but trying to get my minor op done has been a different matter.  But as I go in today – job done.

Back in the US, fantastic news about the new rod I have been developing with Snowbee for the professional kingfish guys.  Snowbee now sponsor a top team which, using one of the new rods, won a major round of the championship – 50lb+ fish and $25000+!  We now have replicas of this rod for sale in US and high hopes for successful sales.

Back to blog title, Dolphin Madness.  It always brings a smile to us to see the look of horror on first timers to Florida at local restaurants to see diners tucking in to fillets of fresh local dolphin.  Fear not, it’s not slices of Flipper and his friends, but just the local name for dorado and jolly tasty it is too.  Whilst we catch dorado all year long we always look forwards to the prime migration time in summer, as this is when numbers peak on their annual migration in the tropics.  The lifecycle of the dorado is truly amazing with a short life span 2 to 3 years, only they reach 40lbs in just 12 months topping out at 70+ in 2 to 3 years, and breeding in just months.  Normal fishing method is open water top trolling but fish are found on weed lines and any floating debris where all other methods can be used, such as fly, spinning, or bait live and cut.

The colours of dorado are out of this world; greens, yellows, blues, etc. and have to be seen.  The fight is also amazing with lots of jumps and runs giving lots of oohs and ahhs.  This year we had a good dorado day with Dave Harris.  Dave and his wife Leslie are regulars at Fish the Dream and this year are coming out twice, and it was nice to take a local friend of Dave’s out for a day’s fishing.  Last year Leslie had a dorado nearly as big as her but it chose the wrong rod if it wanted to get away, as not much gets past Leslie.  Well done.

Lastly must say a huge thanks again to John Aplin for running Fish the Dream this summer.  Praise from all his guests, told you so mate, the only down side being that he is now a marine mechanic, and very good at house work.  Sorry.

Pics: winning kingmac, Dave’s dorado day, skipper John dorado on fly.



When a Dream Comes True part 2

Sorry yet again for the long delay between blogs – tarpon season just crazy.  One party nearly killed me with just short of 90 hrs guiding for the week, and when you add on boat preparation, rods and bait, it’s a long week.

John is doing a great job running Fish the Dream at the moment.  Check his blogs out  It was surreal the other day… John is no mechanic, so when we had a small engine problem I talked him through the repair with the aid of Skype and a web cam.  Well done, John!

Back to the title.  Now that guests are on multiple trips we are starting to get wish lists and one such recent group were Roy and Bill.  Roy has always wanted to catch a big king mackerel so on his last trip this was the mission, and despite going to all the right places and trying all the right methods, the big king was playing hard to get.  You now the saying, the harder you try the harder it gets.  Big kings often stay far back in the chum so with this in mind on our last trip a blue runner was placed way back and the rod just left in a rod holder.  Fishing all day we forgot about the rod but then all hell broke lose, fish on.  Roy has a lovely gentle approach to fighting fish and it works.  After a long fight the fish was boated at over 40lb – a big king.  Job done!

Now back to a more up to date note.  It’s nice after all my years in the Keys to find a new mark and this year we have found a pemit and tarpon mark well away from the dangers of the bridges.  It was on this mark, after a tough week of windy weather, that regular Lee Jasper had a near 30 permit.  Well done, Lee.

Footnote: oil, what oil?  The oil is hundreds of miles away, look at the maps, and is very unlikely to ever reach the Keys despite media scaremongering.  I am very sorry for the people in the northern gulf but luckily here in the Keys it shouldn’t be a problem.

Pics this blog are Roy’s mackerel and Lee’s permit.

Cheers, Rodney.

Keys on Fire

Wow!  What a week!  Despite fishing here for nearly 12 years and running Fish the Dream for more than 6 years, some weeks blow me away.

Neil, a regular from Ireland, came with 3 newcomers and what a week they had, starting with a giant sawfish in the 700 to 800lb range and taken just yards from where we caught one last year.  A once in a life time experience, twice in two years.

At last the water is back to normal temps and the tarpon are running big style.  The biggest this week broke the boat PB fight record – 2hrs 35mins and took our boat 3.49 miles.  It was too big to get in, probably near 200lb.  So big you could have put a saddle on it.  Grouper to over 300 on the gulf wrecks cobia to 25 and permit over 20.  Also this week a fantastic tiger shark over 200lb, in my opinion the nicest looking shark in the sea.  And to mark the reopening of grouper season a stunning 35lb black on a deep atlantic wreck.  Also the start of the dorado trolling offshore.

What a week and despite the worry of ash clouds on the way home Neil and his friends headed home tired from big fish and a bit sunburnt, but with memories that will last a lifetime.

All the local guides reckon that the tarpon season will last well into July – a good opportunity to take advantage of our summer specials – JUST £55 PER PERSON PER DAY and only a few dates left.

Cheers, Rodney.

When a Dream Comes True

As I said in recent blogs, 2010 has been a strange year in Florida with the coldest start to the year for over 100 years.  At Fish the Dream we have been lucky with a boat that’s not restricted to the bay or flats and is just at home 30 miles offshore where we have found warm water and fantastic fishing.  It was on one of these trips we were able to make one dream come true.  Our regulars from Jersey were trashed last year deep wreck fishing  when nearly all the amberjack were taken by shark, and Rob said at the start of this trip “I would just like to get one big one back to the boat”.  Well on one trip this year fishing a 200+ft wreck it was big fish on for Rob and despite many hard long runs we got it back to the boat.  God knows what the Florida record went like at 142lbs – Rob’s fish was probably round the 40lb mark.

If there is anywhere in the world with a heat problem my boys from Jersey will lower your average temps 15 to 20 degrees no problem.  Please, not next year!  Well done to Nigel who came with a PB 4lb, then 65 then a 100+lb hammerhead – check out video clip.

On a more up to date note, the big tarpon have arrived at last and the Summerells, newcomers to Fish the Dream, had a fantastic day on tarpon with 4 fish on and 2 long fights to the boat.  Well done – true pros.  Pic of Stuart getting slimed but smiling.

Cheers, Rodney.