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Archive of entries posted in the year 2015

Review of the year part one B. F. H

Well in running our Fishing Holidays in the Florida Keys now for over 12 years  2015 has been one of the toughest years ever nothing to do with the fishing which has been of the charts and seems to get better every years but on a personal level.  This year as many of you already know I have had not one but three heart attacks but the good news all now under control with medication and will see about a heart opp in the middle of next year.  I have been more than lucky to find and get the help of Capt Mike Sovay who has become my right hand  (  and arm and leg  )  man and is settling in to far better than I could have ever hoped doing all I can no longer do with ease thanks.  So back to the review of the year part one B. F. H  (  before heart attacks )  stunning start to the year the wrecks in the bay alive with cobia and for the first year a mass of African pompano which were taking everything from small jigs to lures and live baits and more than once has us thinking what the hell is that till we could see the large silver sides as the give away.  Also at the start of the year far more bigger sharks than ever before and big over 400 lb bulls in the bay and around the bridges having to throw the anchor and chase many times.  Big kings around the wrecks as well their first run just goes on and on and of course our friends the goliath grouper stopping a near 500 lb fish getting back to cover a feat done by many anglers.






It is always fun waiting for the first tarpon which as normal came in March this year the first of the new tarpon regs and all fish over 40 in having to stay in the water so no more slime on the lap photos but that is what the boffins say. Over the years we have taken hundreds of photos but this year one very cool one of a tarpon in full flight a first and I have never seen one like it.  Also with the tarpon but a bit later the permit spawn and yet an other fantastic take of fish one of the hardest fighting fish that take just feet from the surface then on the first run straight down to over 100 ft deep and often more than once.  Also a good run of near 30 lb permit on new wrecks in the bay this can be true sight casting as good as it gets.







Along with the normal mix of other fish taking up to 50 species during a weeks fishing holiday a start to the year as good as we have ever had with no idea of what was going to come !!

The sunshine state ?

I always feel so sorry for guys who have bad weather on their Fishing Holiday in the Florida Keys but it does happen but our last guests of 2015  Michael, Jim, Philip and Frank I think had our wettest trip ever in over 12 years of doing holidays.  It is often a shock to be told the Florida Keys has over 42 in of rain a year twice that of London and poor Philip’s party had over 7 in for their week and one day due to a massive amount of lightning our first and only no fish day of the year.  Maybe there was a reason ” the curse of the banana ”  yes on the first day Capt Mike screamed from our small cabin  ” who the hell brought bananas ” very much not welcome on any boat in the Keys I have even been told of old Capt’s even coming back and canceling a trip.  On the first day poor Capt Mike was having one of those days when it was not all going to plan so into the cabin and all the bananas over the side to get the curse away.  The one joke I always make about the rain if you are a fish it is always a wet day and when we got to our marks even in the rain the fishing was on fire.  One joke Capt Mike is making now he is settling in is to ask the weight of each guest then he is on a mission to catch them a fish bigger than they are and most trips he is doing this with ease.




mikes crew




We see fish over 300 lbs every week so get used to it but like in the case of Jim who’s biggest fish before he came was a salmon of about 10 lbs the first sight of a fish which has abused him like he has never known then way bigger than himself comes as bit of a surprise to say the least see photo !  With the now massive shoals of mackerel its often hard to get guys of the bait grounds again see photo but with the mackerel shoals come the shark and top of the guys fun list was our blacktip hard fighting and a proper shark. Fish of the week was a double figure jack what a fight and on a light spinning rod it was an age before we even saw the fish and played like a true pro.  Well the curse even stayed to the last day my beloved hand built custom spinning rod went over side with its top of the range titanium anti tangle guides it was also the most expensive rod on the boat.  As the say shit happens its not the first rod and reel we have lost and it will not be the last but so many hours went in to making that rod that I have used all over the world even taking a near 30 lb cod in Norway GRRRR !  So guys hope you had a good time and you are all welcome back but Capt Mike will be doing a full body and cavity search for bananas before your next trip !!!!!!!!!!!

Rupert’s week part two

Every once in a while we have one of those special days and if you are on your first Fishing Holiday in the Florida Keys I kind of think it will remain in a very happy place for a very long time.  Well on Rupert’s last but one day we all had one of those days as I said in the last blog the pressure for me was very much on to pay back Rupert for all the many great days and fish I have had on his boat in the north of England.  Very much on the top of his tick list was one of our goliath groupers and the bigger the better yes we catch a lot but so many things have to be right and a massive dose of lady luck has to be thrown is as well.  So with a far from perfect wind day off to our top wreck we went on days of strong wind you only get one tide fishing even in just 12 ft of water if it is wind against tide it just does not happen.  Not sure if it was first or second cast but Giles was soon being well beat up but a strong fish who was taking him round the boat and it was a long time and many hard runs before we all even had a look and then wow a very large African pompano.  A stunning fish which looks like it has had a session in the chrome platters and in the bay has stunning streamers which make it look like a rooster fish and it is even a fantastic table fish so dinner taken care of as well.





Now on to the major part of the day whist we still had the tide out with the big rod and it was soon fish on but we lost the first two not even with our gear and Rupert on the rod in all fairness some of the grouper on this wreck will be near 1000 lbs yes 1000 lbs and they go any where they want.  The third big fish on Rupert gave it his all and yes we won a fish well over 400 lbs to the boat loads of OMG’s and for me all the weeks pressure off and smiles all round.  Giles was heard to say  ” well that looks like a sack of potatoes ” so now it was time to put the hurt on him as well.  It was so funny when the hook took hold we so nearly lost Giles rod and reel over the side the force the fish slammed him against the side of the boat was awesome and have a look at the photo the fish is just saying  ” what sack of suds am I ? ” Rupert’s luck was riding so high he even had a bull shark again of over 400 lb on a trace with no wire just a very lucky hook hold on mono.





Nick was moving his ledger rod when out of nowhere two keeper cobia gave chase of the bait and right by the side of the boat his bait was taken and the normal I don’t want to come out of the sea battle started Nick won so diiner was now going to be a mixed grill just how good does it get.  With Mathew joining the party and few blacktip shark and stunning big mackerel, african for all and even one on the fly for Rupert the day was leaving a fixed smile on all and the biggest one on me.


So there you have one of those weeks that make what I do very special a massive thanks to Capt Mike who after my heath problem has made all this possible and has even added tech support to his long list of titles.  It was also his duty as Fish the Dreams entertainments office to show the guys round Key West on the last day not sure what went on but guess they all slept like babies on the way home.  Kind of think teal Pelagic will be back again stunning week guys.

Rupert’ week part one

Well at last after many years of trying I have managed to get one of my best friends from the north of England Rupert Dury to have his first Fishing Holiday in the Florida Keys.  Over the years I have had some fantastic trips on Rupert’s boat in the North Sea having my first porbeagle shark about 250 lbs, my personal best tope a stunning 63 lbs, bass on live baits. crash diving pollock on lance and a whole host of other fish.  Despite my long  ” sorry Rupert ” stories about the Florida Keys he was not for coming over then last year he said  ” I think for my 50 th I need to come to see you and the Keys ” so game and pressure on.  Well after doing the holidays for 12 years blowing him away was never going to be a problem if the weather gods were on our side so the nearer his week came more than a close eye on the weather and rats it was not looking good.  This session has been up and down one day flat calm then near 30 mph and Rupert’s week started with winds over 20 mph every day but as they say when its tough the tough get going.





So the first few day hiding behind bridges and banks but with our first cold front I had high hopes of our first run of mackerel and all the big boys who chase them.  In all fairness the boys were having the time of there lives and Rupert is on of those guys who likes to make it even harder with the fly rod so game on bendy fly rod as well and the other guys were having a ball with light spinning rods.  Some days I feel sorry for all you guys who love lure fishing in the UK when the likes of our jack crevalle are on fire it is a fish a cast and the sight of a shoal of fish chasing down your lure and then one nailing it will live with you a long time.  Well after for me a very long three days we were at last able to hit a bay wreck.





Now those of you who know wreck fishing even more so in the Florida Keys if you want our monster grouper you have to get the anchor right and with still a strong wind our first trip it was not going to happen.  With wind against tide it was even worse but what saved my bacon was the biggest mess of jacks I have found for many years and yes the first of our winter mackerel.  On Rupert’ wish list were two fish a large shark of course and a large grouper now when you have a massive shoals of jacks and mackerel the big boys are not far behind.  So out went the shark rods and to my relief yes a big shark on, a near 400 lb bull for Rupert and yes we took a lot of crevalle but all were on ice and with the winds dropping and bait box filled the next day just the other box to tick for Rupert.

Offshore box ticked

Like most guys on their  Fishing Holiday in the Florida Keys the two Steve,s came with a must catch list.  Now this is fine by me and Mike in fact we think its a very important part of our job here at Fish the Dream the only problem we have is the weather gods.  First part of the week was tough to say the least but as the week went on the winds were dying and on top of the guys list was dorado offshore so on the last but one day we rigged and tried but the swells were to bad so we had to come back.  So it was down to the last day which the wind  was looking the best so my cunning plan was an old school trip offshore.  In recent years we have gone down the locals route of a normal start look for dorado heading to the tuna grounds fish the afternoon bite then look for dorado on the way home.  Old school drag the guys out of bed at silly o’clock in the dark a 26 mile run in full dark to the tuna grounds fish tuna then you have all day to find dorado.


So off we went all the crew sleeping like babies more to come on that later not flat smooth but a doable run to get to the grounds at first light, rods in and tuna on !  Not massive fish but to see a trolling rod bend over and the drag scream what offshore is all about the bite was so on fire we only used two rods and we were the only boat there.  So with enough fish for us and a few for the shark next on the list was dorado so with eyes on the sky the search was on.  Some days the Atlantic ocean is a very empty sea and this day was one of those then after many hours of looking a small and broken weed line in about 500 ft to broken to troll so out went some live baits.  It’s hard to describe Irish Steve’s face but with a jumping yellow-green and blue dorado on lest just say happy does not even come close.



Looks like my choice of Capt Mike as my right hand man is way better than I ever expected.  Boating skills I never doubted and fishing skills lets just say he is a quick learning natural but what has surprised me is his people skills.  So now I have a boat man, camera man and to his list he has added entertainments officer so when the guy,s asked a few questions about Key West Mike said  ” if you want to go I can take you and show you around ”  Well lets just say it was the reason the guys slept so well on the way out top marks yet again Capt Mike so even heart attacks have a good side.

Tough start again !

Not sure if it is what you think about when you book a Fishing Holiday in the Florida Keys but this week not only have we been fighting the winds but the other day we had nearly 2 in of rain.  Sorry it’s not my fault and the Keys does have over 42 in per year nearly twice that of the UK does it affect the fishing not really its is just annoying have to take my guys to buy rain ware but as they say you have to do what you have to.  The good news while the weather gods have been giving us a hard time the plan B’s and plan C’s have been giving us plenty of sport and the two Steve’s  yes my two guys this week are both called Steve.  Jacks are so much fun and when you catch one each cast the smiles last a long time mix in a few small shark and you can have a perfect day.




mike 1

Winds not perfect yesterday but Capt Mike and I need to put some big fish on these guys but the tide was running with the wind so a wreck in the bay and an early start was the order of the day.  Yes it was plan A all the way yesterday a bit a pain to get the anchor right in strong winds and we had to use two but we got it right then big bait on that needed sight of a big balloon being taken down by a grouper at last big fish on !!   After two mid 100 lb fish to the boat and some very surprised anglers newcomers to our style of grouper fishing just cant belive what we have to do shark gate crashed the party.  Shark on grouper rods dont work so the only choice you have is to drop back from the wreck and enjoy the fish or move in the wind a move was not on so a drop back and break out the shark rods.  Irish Steve’s biggest fish before he came was just 16 lb cod so when he became attached to a near 400 lb bull shark a whole new game.  I have to say he handled it like seasoned pro but this fish was so big we had to throw the anchor and follow poor Steve was just shaking his head what an introduction to big game fishing beating your PB by a factor of over 20 times.





The other day the young and much better pair of eyes of Capt Mike made our something that was not right and we changed course to have a look.  Not what any one ever want to see or find in a rough and windy sea a nearly sunk sail boat.  No people in the sea and we stopped to call it in to Coastguard, love all the new tech stuff Capt Mike emailed then all the phots and they took down all the GPS details thanked us and told us to go on our way it could have been a lot worse.



Last week

First some fantastic news after a long hard month looking we have found a new home and base for our Fishing Holidays in the Florida Keys.  Good news it is only two blocks away bad news it has not been lived in for three years and is going to need a lot of work but is the only one we have found.  It is water side and has enough room for people to stay but more and more people seem to want the upgrade to their own villa and a pool.  So from now on all guest accommodation will be as you want just let us know in good time and we will sort it out for you.  Back to last week well as I said a few blogs ago it was in at the deep end for Simon and Rob to tell people they will catch fish to near 500 lb in just 10 ft of water and the fight no battle will be nothing like they have ever done with a rod before.




We had one day offshore in search of dorado but some days it is a big empty ocean and after many hours of trolling we ended up on the tuna grounds and then from nowhere a school of near 20 lb dorado.  In seconds it was two on then just as quick two off the norm is to hold a fish in the water to keep the others at the boat but this did not go to plan and both fish were dropped sorry guys but that’s why they call it fishing not catching.  Then to add insult to injury we were trashed by monster amberjack hard on the bottom in 500 ft lost three unstoppable fish not the best day we have ever had so the cunning plan was a last day in the bay on our wrecks.  Well this went far more to plan the guys had been beat up with grouper so sharks were the plan and my toothy friends did us proud lots of hard fighting fish no monsters but in record temps and humidity fun all day action.  Even rounded of the week with a new species a palometa number 125 to the boat and number 39 for the week.


Good week guys and great fishing come back anytime both Capt Mike and myself enjoyed fishing with you and hope you enjoyed the fishing.

Once in a lifetime

Yet again a massive thanks to our new Capt Mike Sovay this sometimes happens in The Florida Keys and ever time very special Rob and Simon will remember this for a very long time so I now have a fantastic new Captain and cameraman !!! Mr Mike !!

The perfect day

After doing these Fishing Holidays in the Florida Keys now for over 12 years I still get that special feeling when a plan comes together as it did yesterday.  So weather gods said go wherever you want and have fun so deep into Florida Bay we went the ask was some shark then an other go at those mad grouper.  Getting to the main wreck tide not at its best but place alive with perfect size jacks so top up the bait boxes with as many jacks as you wanted always hard to leave feeding fish and all the guys were having way to much fun that is the joy of bait fishing in the Keys.  So off the main wreck by a few hundred yards you dont want grouper when you are shark fishing and in a very short time the shout was  ” fish on ” we were in a mess of black tip all I would say just over 100 lbs as much fun as sharking gets.  These fish just scream drag jump all over the place a bit of a pain at the boat but Capt Mike is learning very fast and doing a top job on the leaders he sure is a good find.






Not sure of numbers I think it was about 8 and one very big near 200 lb nurse shark but tide turned and the grouper started to call come play if you dare.  Boy were they on the feed not even the perfect anchor sett but fish right under the boat baits being hit within minutes then as normal all hell braking loose and again Capt Mike doing a fantastic job and when he looks at me and says  ” NO YOU DONT ” I get the message hate getting old.  Best yesterday was way over 400 lbs Capt Mike now doing the 100 lb dead lift and on one not even the head was out of the water and when this fish first came to the boat both Simon and Bob just stared in total disbelief.  Only cloud yesterday was losing a monster shark it took the grouper bait which is on mono and just smoked the 40 lb drag and we had to give chase but lost out in the end but we will be back !!

In at the deep end ( well 10 ft )

At last Simon and Rob have made it to the Florida Keys its been a long time planning but they are here on their first trip to our Fishing Holidays in the Florida Keys.  After last weeks battle with the weather gods it was more than I expected to have a first day go where ever you want deal so north we went deep into Florida bay to one of my big boy wrecks.  First is always fresh bait and Rob came up trumps with a fine about 5 lb mackerel bait not sure how he took that’s going down whole and the 22/0 hook was a bit of shock as well but that’s Keys wrecking.  The first bait went just yards from the boat and bang float down how scary is that but alas no fish on then for the next few hours all hell broke loose, bait on fish on and we went three from three about what I expect from the big ones.  We will never win with the giants and on theses wrecks there are fish to near 1000 lbs but we had two in the 250 to 350 range just jaw dropping power and from the look on my newbies just surreal fishing.






After beating them up on the grouper a more gentle approach to sharing a nice quiet nurse of about 80 lbs a fun fish but no arm breaker bit of a pain to get the hook out of but a nice starter.  The off to the next level with a 100 lb plus black tip and this one for once was well-behaved two massive jumps always cool to see a shark jump then just once round the boat and well over the rope and straight to the very safe leader hands of Capt Mike.  A few very good photos and hook out and back out to chase more mackerel as it should be, not sure when I will teach Mike the shark lift but it has to be done for that  ” you want me to have that on my lap ” look and photo.  So welcome to the Florida Keys and then some just love my office days like yesterday just make it all worth it and after my summer just glad to be still doing it.