305.747.3668 [email protected]

Monday, December 21st, 2009

Some times life just isn’t fair. After 17 years of getting salt spray in the face on almost a daily basis, I finally broke down and had an Isenglass, (clear plastic) enclosure made for the flying bridge. It was installed on Saturday, just in time for today’s trip. A strong cold front came through Key West this weekend. The air was cold , but it wasn’t real rough. Still, I threw a little water as I headed east this morning. I was really enjoying NOT feeling the salt spray and NOT feeling the cold north wind…………….right up until I ran over a floating rope and got it tangled in both propellers. I tried to maneuver the boat to the reef , but the vibration the rope caused made it unwise to keep the boat in gear. SO we dropped anchor  right where we were and , After staying warm and dry all day up to that point behind my nice new Isenglass, I had to jump in the water and cut the rope out of the props.  Just not fair!!

Sunday, December 20th, 2009

More seasonable weather finally blew through the Keys on Saturday. The artic blast that the upper 48 have felt the last few days pushed our unseasonably warm weather away and temperatures are in the high 60’s today. While it’s not as pleasant as the warm and sunny weather we’ve been experiencing, we do need the cold fronts to make the fishing work. Last week, the water temp was 78-79 degrees. That’s much too warm for mid-December. Fortunately, this cold front is strong enough it should cool the water down relatively quickly. The cold front brought a lot of wind with it. That’s to  be expected when extremely warm air meets artic cold air. So it’s been rough the last few days, but the wind should drop off by Monday or Tuesday and I would expect fishing to be good. There were some  Black Fin Tuna around before the weather changed and cooler weather and water should make them bite even better. There was a fair amount of bait on the reef, (mostly Ballyhoo), but this weather should push even more bait out to the reed and expect the action to improve. There have been some Sailfish coming up on the reef to  feed on the ballyhoo and this weather should bring more Sail in to feed, especially if the schools of bait increase. There were a fair number of Wahoo around on the last full moon, but that slowed down as the moon faded. I think the cooler water may make the Wahoo more active too. I didn’t catch any, but last week I heard of some decent Dolphin, (Mahi or Dorado not Flipper). This weather will have an adverse affect on the Dolphin fishing. But if everything else improves than I’ll take. Fishing tomorrow, we’ll see if I’m right

Tuesday, December 15th.2009

Unusually warm weather is taking it’s toll on the fishing. There are a few Sailfish around and some if you’re fishing a full day, there are some Black Fin Tuna down to the west biting late in the day, but other than that it’s generally slow in the blue water. The reef is fairly active, a decent amount of Ballyhoo available, but even the reef action isn’t what it should be. The fish just seem lethargic. The water on the reef is 78 degrees, much too warm for this late in December. I know the central part of the country has had some bitter cold weather, but it hasn’t made it’s way down here yet. Cold fronts are a pain in the butt when they pass through, Cold, Windy, Rainy and just generally miserable conditions for fishing, but you need them because they create the conditions that we need. Besides, after sweating from April until October every year, we need a break from the heat. It will be in the high 80’s today. I’m still using my AC in the house. I know I’m not going to get much sympathy from anyone in sub zero weather, but I’m ready for some cool weather. I hope it’s soon.

Thursday, December 9th, 2009

Fishing has been good most of the week. There have been a good number of Wahoo around and the Black Fin Tuna are biting early and late. The Wahoo bite will probably fade a bit as the moon does, But I expect there to be a resurgence on the full moon at the end of the month. Black Fin Tuna should continue to bite, especially first thing in the morning and right before sundown. Sailfish have started to come up on the reef chasing ballyhoo and hopefully this should continue for the next couple of weeks as long as the bait stays strong. I’ve seen some good size schools of bait, but they’re mostly small baits and not on as many of the shallow reefs as I would expect this time of year. It’s been unseasonably warm, so perhaps a good cold front will push more and bigger ballyhoo out to the reef.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

                  George Boyer

I received sad news this morning. George Boyer, who started fishing with me my first year in business, had passed away. He was 81 years young. George was the first customer to take me up on my 3 day Sport Fishing package and has been back many times since. I still remember him saying he didn’t want any fish for dinner after our first day. He didn’t eat fish. So his buddies only took enough cobia for 3 of them. They made the mistake of letting him try some at dinner and the next day they were all complaining he ate so much there wasn’t enough for them. In later years, George would never tell me when he was coming down. I’d be backing the boat into the slip and look up and there he would be, smiling, but expecting to see some fish come out of the fish box. I remember one time when George was in his mid 70’s. As always, before the trip he told me it might be his last time because he was getting too old to go. But later that day, there he was, off shore in 4 ft seas, running lines up and down the out rigger, bringing in lines that need to be re-baited and generally moving around like a second mate. Oh Yea, I forgot to mention we caught a big Spearfish that day! ………not bad for a guy that was “too old”.  One winter we were fishing for King Mackerel. Trolling along at about 4 knots and a 25 lb King skyrocketed the outrigger. When it was at the top of it’s jump, George pointed to it and exclaimed, “What the hell is that?”   “That’s your fish”, I replied and about that time the rod next to him doubled over with the drag singing his song! I had a lot of good trips with George and caught a lot of good fish with him. I will miss him. Thank you George

Big Black Fin Tuna
Big Barracuda

Wednesday, November 24th, 2009

As I write this, I’m sitting on a jet liner headed to Annapolis Md., for a family Thanksgiving gathering. Traveling was a bit hectic up to this point as our flight from Key West was delayed because of the weather. We sat in the “new improved” Key West terminal for about 2 hours because our flight diverted to Ft Meyers on its way to Key West. It’s has been raining all day and apparently there was too much water on the runway for the pilot to land. In effect, our flight was delayed because of Puddles! Yup that’s right, Puddles. The little “Puddle jumper” planes that some of the smaller airlines fly into Key West made it in just fine. But we were on a big fancy high tech modern jet. I guess you would have to call it a “non-puddle jumper”. Anyway after a two hour delay, we took off and about 90 minutes later we landed in Atlanta about a half hour before our next flight……..plenty of time, right? Nope. we landed alright, and sat on the runway for 10 minutes while the other plane that was using our gate was moved, then we waited while they brought the gantry way up to our aircraft and then we waited while…………I don’t know why we waited, might have been a card game in the cockpit and somebody had a hot hand, or not, but either way, we got off our first flight about 4 minutes before our second flight was scheduled to depart. We looked to see where our next flight was departing from and you guessed it, we were departing from the furthest possible terminal and gate from where we arrived. We busted our butts to get to the next gate just in time to see the walkway moved away from the plane. Three of us, Ema, myself and another passenger from our first flight stood at the window, short of breath, looking at the pilot shrugging our shoulders.
The pilots were looking at us… and shrugging their shoulders. We looked at the ground crew and pointed to the walkway. The ground crew looked at us….and pointed to the walkway. This pantomime went on for about 3-4 minutes. Us staring at them, them staring at us. Pointing, waving, we looked at the ramp and they looked at the ramp. Finally the holiday spirit or maybe a little guilt prevailed and they brought the ramp back up to the plane and we were allowed to board. We just rushed on the plane, very appreciative of the flight and ground crews kindness and we didn’t have time to find out who decided to take pity on us. I wish I had their name so I could thank them in person. We’re on Delta flight 1058 and we left from gate T-1. So, to whomever it was that got us on board and made our Thanksgiving happen, thank you, you just got a whole bunch of karma points from us. Put ‘em in the bank.

Of course, I know that there is no chance my luggage made it too

On to the fishing report. The weather has been pretty nice, but to be honest the fishing has been a bit slow. The water is warmer than it should be this time of year. Its’ still a little over 80 degrees. There are some Sailfish around, but not a lot. We should be seeing Black Fin Tuna and Wahoo showing up. We’ve seen a few, but not like it should be. There is a cold front that is supposed to pass though the keys on Friday and while it might make conditions difficult for a day or two, in the long run it should help things. I won’t be back until Sunday and my next trip is next week sometime, but if the water cools off a bit, as we come up on the full moon, I’m betting we’ll see some Wahoo bite and probable some Black Fin Tuna.  The cooler weather won’t hurt the sailfishing either.  We’ll see. I’ll keep you posted

P.S. Luggage update- I was wrong again, It made it too!

Thursday, November 19th.

Time for TLC!! On a boat, it’s not uncommon for the windows to leak a little. The front windows of the Southbound used to leak quite a bit and try as I might, I couldn’t get them to stop. Finally, I removed them and fiber glassed over the  openings, then I painted them on. Now they don’t leak. It actually makes the cabin cooler because the windows would cause a “green house” effect and make the cabin warmer. Unfortunately the side windows still leaked a little. So on Tuesday, we replaced the side windows and that should take care of any leaks there. Monday morning, I opted to fish and make money instead of paint and spend money, not too tough a decision. But, the painting still needs to be done. The Passenger area of the boat hasn’t been painted in two years and it needed it. We’ve spent the last two days sanding, priming, filling and taping. The boat is all ready to paint, and weather permitting, we should painting our way around the boat today. Should take most of the day, and then about a half day to put everything back together tomorrow, but it’ll be worth it just to see the difference. When you work on the boat every day, you don’t notice the gradual change. Everything loses it’s shine at the same pace. But when you paint, you bring it back in one day and the difference is dramatic. It’s a lot of work to do it right, but it’s worth it.

Monday, November 15th, 2009

Sitting on the dock this morning, getting ready to do some painting and annual TLC on The Southbound when 4 folks from So. Jersey walked up and asked if I could take them fishing. Well I had the choice of spending money and working on the boat OR stopping what I was doing, going fishing on a beautiful day and MAKING MONEY! Not a tough choice 😉

We just fished the reef looking for Mackerels, Yellowtails and  Barracudas. Mission accomplished! We’ll be painting tomorrow. We actually have a few days of maintenance scheduled. I have new side windows arriving today. They should be installed by tomorrow. A charter boat is just constant maintenance. You fix it up, work it all year, beating it up and then fix it up again. Same process year after year.

Sunday, November 14th, 2009

Sailfish are starting to show up in our waters. It’s normal to get a “Fall” run of Sails. It’s different than in the spring because we don’t usually have the pronounced color change and strong east currents we see in April. Also, we tend to see a good number of smaller Sailfish this time of year. We’ve caught two Sailfish this week when only fishing for them a limited time. One was over 7 ft and weighed 40 lbs or better, the other was probably 4 1/2 – 5 ft and probably only weighed 12-15 lbs. Both put on a great show and there is no such thing as a “bad” Sailfish. We should be seeing some more Wahoo than has been the case, but conditions are getting “right” and I think there will be some good catches of Wahoo in the next week or two. I only hope I’m booked so I can be out there catching them.

Saturday, November 13th, 2009

Fishing has been up and down the last week. We started off the week with strong SE winds and rough seas on Tuesday. I knew it was going to be rough, but I hoped after 4 days of strong winds, ( it blew 30-40 mph from Friday to Monday), that there might be some good fish out there. It’s November, but we haven’t had any significant cold fronts and the water is still warm, so I hoped there be some Dolphin around, (Mahi or Dorado, Not Flipper). I went out to 600 ft deep water on Tuesday to no avail. Didn’t see any bait, Weed of signs of fish. All in all it was a very slow, rough day. Wednesday, we changed game plans and went to the reef for action and it was great. There are lots of ballyhoo on the reef so netting them for bait was easy. The Cero Mackerels, Barracudas, Mutton Snappers and Yellowtails were hungry and the fishing was easy. There hasn’t been much offshore besides Sailfish and we’ve gotten on each of the last two days. This time of year there are a fair number of small Sailfish around. We got on of those trolling on Thursday afternoon. We had  just started fishing and barely gotten 4 baits out and one popped up and ate.  On Friday, We got a full sized Sailfish using live bait. We had been live baiting for about 2 hrs and not much was happening. My customers were getting bored and at about 12:15 they asked if we could live bait until 1 pm and if nothing had happened by then, could we go to the reef and try to get some dinner. Patience Pays!! at 12:46 up popped a full sized Sailfish and the game was on! We caught this one on 20 lb Spinning tackle in about 35 minutes and the fish put on a fantastic show. Tail walking, Jumping and just generally going crazy! We got a great picture and sent it on it’s way.  Hope we can find another one tomorrow!!

Wednesday, November 4th, 2009

What a difference a day makes!!! The last two days were great and today was the complete opposite. The wind did pick up a little bit, but it wasn’t rough. The water color looked good. We fished the same area as yesterday, We used the same bait and rigs, We trolled at the same speed – everything was the same…….except the results. Today, the fish did not bite.  It’s frustrating when it happens like that. This morning I was anxious to get out on the water, because I was looking forward to another day like Tuesday. The great thing about being a charter fishing Capt. is that the vast majority of mornings I wake up and look forward to going to work. For me, even after over 20 yrs, it’s still fun. I like the water, the fish and the people. So, when fishing gets good for a couple of days and you get all excited about being out there and then everything goes South, it really kinda’ sucks. I especially feel for my customers, the folks I had today were great. They had fished before and they understood everyday is different and the vast majority of people are the same way,  but as the Capt and owner of the boat, a slow day still  bugs the H€ll out of me. But you’ve got to let go. Tomorrow is another day and it might turn right  back around again and be red hot. Just got to be ready and give it our  best and see what happens. I’ll keep you posted.

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009

Fishing was excellent today. This time of year Wahoo and Black Fin Tuna are normally biting. and that’s been true lately. We got 2  Wahoo yesterday, the biggest was 43 lbs and 1 Wahoo today. Today we got 7 Tunas total, 4 Black Fin and 3 Skip Jack Tuna.  You troll fast for both of these, usually faster than I like for Sailfish, but today, the Sails didn’t seem to mind chasing their dinner because we caught (and released), 3 Sailfish and missed a couple of others while buzzing around at over 7 knots. The weather was beautiful, the fishing was great ! Don’t you just love it when it all works the way you planned ….and then some!

After the day of fishing, I had a Sunset Cruise. One of my best Customers came down to KW for a few days of Birthday Celebration with a group of her childhood friends, so we went on a short Sunset/Moonrise cruise. To be honest, the Sunset was obscured by the clouds a bit, but still beautiful. The moon rise was awesome. My digital camera is not good enough to take a good picture at night from a moving boat, but just imagine a big orange glowing ball ( 1day past full), rising up from the  water. Absolutely beautiful. I was tired after a full day of fishing, but just the sight of the moon coming up made it worth being there. Sorry I don’t have a picture of it, you’ll just have to come to KW and see it yourself.

Celebrating a birthday at sunset in Key West

Sunset Birthday Toast on the Southbound

Saturday, October 31st, 2009

I came home from fishing yesterday and my sweetheart, (who is wonderful) met me on the front porch with a tall cold Rum & Coke. Usually, this means some things up, Last time she had painted the Kitchen without asking my opinion, (she’s got good taste, it looked great), so some sort of major decorating change was my first suspicion. I was wrong. Lo and behold she had acquired two inflatable “fat, pink Ballerina” costumes for fantasy fest and we were going out for the Friday night “local’s parade starting in 45 minutes. There is no doubt that I love this woman. I would not go out in public as a fat, pink Ballerina for anyone else in the world. Anybody that knows me and saw me was surprised as I am known for wearing the lamest costumes if any. Many, Many pictures were taken………………………there goes any hope of every running for political office!

Fat Pink Ballerinas

Friday, October 30th, 2009

It’s the slow time of year in the fishing business so we haven’t been fishing much. I’ve been playing “landlord” and getting a vacant apt ready to rent. We did fish today on a 6 hr trip. We caught live ballyhoo for bait easily and a few nice Cero Mackerels while we were anchored getting the bait. Drifted for a while looking for a Sailfish but never saw one and we weren’t getting any bites from other fish either so we decided to go to the reef and get some action. It was not red hot, but decent, got a Mutton Snapper, some Yellow Tail Snappers, some more mackerels and released some Barracudas and Jacks. We’ve got 4 trips this week so we should have more to report.

Saturday, October 18, 2009

It’s the slow time of year for charter boats, so we haven’t been going out too much lately. We fished yesterday for the first time in a week and had a good day. It started out a beautiful day, light west winds and calm seas. Fishing was slow at first, but we finally got into some Black Fin Tuna around 10:30 and picked up a nice Wahoo too. We finished the day with some bonitos and a Cero Mackerel then had to run through the leading edge of a squall line being pushed by a cold front. There were some impressive water spouts all along the leading edge  and then some torrential rain we had to run through, but that’s what they make foul weather gear for. Gave the boat a good washing and it was sunny again by the time we got to the dock.

Dan, who has been mating for me this summer has finished up his “tour of duty” with the Southbound and I thank him for a great summer. We caught some really good fish and had a good time doing it. Ben, who has been working with me for the last 2 winters returns on Wednesday. He’s been in Portland, Maine since May working his boat and business, Go Fish Charters, catching stripped bass and other “cold” water fish. Usually, Ben’s “summer” is from Oct. – May when he’s in Key West, ’cause it’s warmer here in the winter than it is in Portland most  summers, especially this past summer from the reports I’ve heard. Wouldn’t you know it, but it looks like Ben is bringing the cold with him. We had our first cold front pass through the Keys last night. We needed it as temperatures in the high 80’s and low 90’s is too hot for this time of year even for Key West. Woke up this morning and it’s a “frigid” 68′ outside……..where the hell did I put my parka? The nice thing about “cold” weather in Key West is that even if it’s cool/cold here, it’s still usually warmer than anywhere else in the country.  Looking forward to another great winter of fishing with Ben

Friday, October 2nd, 2009

Been back in Key West a few days and today was my first fishing trip since we returned. I could not have asked for a better day. The weather was beautiful, and the seas calm. We started out fishing for yellowtail snappers and at first I was a little nervous. We could see the bottom in 65 ft of water and usually that’s too clear for yellowtail. Fortunately, we chummed heavy and the fish bit well. We caught over 30 nice yellowtails and also a 12lb Cubera Snapper. Around noon we decided to troll and see if we could catch a Wahoo, Tuna or Sailfish. It was just one of those days where everything worked as planned. We caught a Wahoo, a Black Fin Tuna, 3 small dolphin AND a small Sailfish. If everyday went like that, my hair wouldn’t be near as grey!! It felt good to be out on the water again

Saturday, Sept. 26th, 2009

Arrived in Llafranc, Spain yesterday. We drove from Barcelona. It’s about 90 Kilometers; I’m not sure what that is in miles. Thank god for GPS. We would never have made it without one. Llafranc is a small resort town on the Brava coast in Northeastern Spain. Beautiful rocky shoreline coming down to beautiful blue Mediterranean waters. Our hotel is right on the beach and we could hear the waves from our room all night. I get the feeling this is one of the places where the rich and famous of Spain and France come to play. Many incredible houses all up and down the steep rocky shore line. Ema stopped in to talk to a local realtor just to compare prices to Key West. From what we could tell, it’s still cheaper here.

the rocky coast of North Eastern Spain
View of Llafranc, Spain from nearby hillside
Sunset from castle ruins near Llablanc
Steep rocks going into the sea on the coast

We got up early this morning and drove to the town of Cartdedue to go on a Globus, or as we call it,  hot air ballooning. It was great. Perfect day for it. We drifted gently from one end of a valley to the other, at times we were treetop level and at another point we were over 2,000 ft high.  It was a great way to see the Spanish country side after spending most of the earlier part of our vacation in Madrid and Barcelona.

Inflating the balloon
Looking down from the gondola

The balloon is starting to inflate Ema and I are ready to go!

just before liftoff
Spanish countryside as seen from hot air balloon

Here we are as we’re preparing for takeoff.

This is the view from the balloon at the highest point of our trip

Going Diving this afternoon. Looking forward to it, but the water is cold by KW standards.

Tomorrow we got to the coastal town of Sitges for our last night in Spain

Friday, Sept. 25th, 2009

Leaving Barcelona Today. We’ve been here for 3 nights and it’s a great city. It’s smaller in terms of population than Madrid, but it feels bigger, more “city-ish” if that makes sense. Our hotel, once again is in a great location. We’ve been walking through many of the old city streets and shops and restaurants. The Food in Barcelona is the best of any place we’ve been so far. Maybe we just got lucky, but we’ve eaten in Tapas bars, the local market counter and nice restaurants near the port and all have been very good.

Segrada Familia 1
Segrada Familia 2

Two views of the Sagrada Familia. This section was done by Gaudi.

You could stare at it all days and keep seeing something new in the details

Small Part of Segrada Familia

Part of the Facade of The Segrada Familia.

We spent yesterday touring some of the more famous sights in Barcelona. We started at the Sagrada Familia, an amazing cathedral that was designed by Gaudi, a famous architect/artist. The building has been going on decades, with long periods of inactivity during WWII and also the 60’s. Gaudi is long dead, but construction is in full swing and I’ve never seen a “half- built” building that was so impressive. When it’s done, and that’s estimated to be another 20 yrs, it will be one of the most amazing buildings on earth. Pictures don’t do it justice, but I’ve got a few anyway.

We also visited La Pedrera, a famous apt building also designed by Gaudi. The man was ahead of his time and had a style all his own. Again pictures don’t do justice, but they help

We didn’t have anything scheduled for yesterday, (no tours) so we took a day trip to Montserrat, a monastery built on a mountain. Incredible feat!! To think of building large stone buildings in the days of horse and buggy or donkey carts is amazing enough, but to do it thousands of feet up a very steep and rocky mountain is simply amazing………..I can’t say Why? But it’s amazing none the less.

Half way up on cable car
Standing at the Cross with Monastary in background

Looking up toward the Monastery as we ride the cable car. Ema and I with the Monastery in the background

View of the cross from Monastary

           closeup of corss

Ema and I at the cross

To give you an idea of the scope of this place. If you look at the first picture,  you can barely see the Cross in the distance. The small center picture shows it better.

We leave for the coast today; we have a hot air balloon ride on Saturday. We should get some great pictures on that.

Monday, Sept. 21st, 2009

Hello from Marrakesh, Morocco!

stanting next old well

We left Spain yesterday, (Sunday) after 3 great nights in Madrid  and arrived in Marrakesh, Morocco around noon. Sunny, warm and dry. I feels like a very nice winter day in Key West. The sun is hot but very comfortable in the shade. My Sweetie and I have been traveling a bit lately. Going to new places and really enjoying it. But Morocco is by far the most exotic place we’ve ever been. So totally foreign compared to living in the U.S. No, I take that back. Living in Key West is foreign compared to living in the rest of the U.S. Morocco is worlds away from anything remotely close to Key West. Different language, Arabic and French. I haven’t found many people that speak English. Different money, still haven’t figured out the exchange rate yet. I THINK its 8 dirhams to the dollar. Only the coins don’t all have numbers you can read, so you have to know the differences by size and color. The bills are Ok, varying in size and value like Euros so they’re not bad. It’s still a bit confusing especially since I was just getting the hang of Euros.  All I know is we just spent 585 of them for dinner!!

variety of treats in for sale in market square
Ema, our guide, Jamil and local pharmacy staff

This is one of the nicer looking market stalls with a variety of treats for sale.

This is the “Pharmacy” The man on the right makes the medicines from the contents of the jars.

Anyway, we spent the afternoon at the central square of Marrakesh. Guys in turbans, women in Burkas, (sp?), Beggars, Merchants, A guy with boxes of live monkeys, snake charmers, real cobras no less. Oh yea, did I mention the people on scooters? They’re everywhere, darting between people in the narrow alley ways between the stalls of merchandise. It’s crazy!! It was very crowded as today is the last day of Ramadan. At 7 pm this evening, after a month of fasting from sunup to sundown, everyone, (Moslem) can chow down again. The Square was bustling with merchants setting up grills and food stands hoping to make a profit when the sun goes down. Everything from oranges to goat’s heads and I mean real goats heads….Yummmmmm!! The mixture of smells of all the different foods with different spices was totally foreign but very interesting.

Old woman
Water merchants
I'm in Morocco, so I'm wearing a snake, I don't know why

Old Woman

These guys sell water to locals and the daring on hot days

Real snake, not a cobra

Not too many Americans around as far as I can see and I get the feeling Ema and I kinda’ stand out as Yanks. (Of course, My NY Giants T-Shirt might have been a giveaway). Definitely got our share of attention from the beggars on the street.  This place like something out of an Indiana Jones movie

On Second thought, Beggars, Street performers, people dressed in bizarre clothes……….maybe not so different from Key West after all?

One more day and night in Morocco and off to Barcelona on Tuesday

Saturday, Sept, 19th, 2009

Hello From Madrid, Spain. Very cool city, We arrived Yesterday, (Thursday) and are still a bit jet-lagged due to the 6 hr time difference. Flights all went well but American Airlines has nothing on Air France. Last May we went to Greece on  Air France and there is no comparison. Seats were big and relatively comfortable, service was great….. and the drinks were FREE!!   American Airlines had a smaller, less comfortable plane, Flight attendants were pleasant and the drinks were more expensive than many bars in Key West. But we made it. Didn’t get much sleep due to the uncomfortable seats so we crashed pretty hard when we got here. Fortunately, Madrid is a “late night” City,  (I’ve heard all of Spain is ) Things don’t really get going until 10 or 11 pm. Many restaurants don’t even open until 8:00 pm. I don’t know when they start winding down, ’cause I’m not much of a late nite person. Too many years of leaving the dock at 7 am I guess.

Spent the day on Friday in Toledo, the original not the one in Ohio. We took the High-speed train from Madrid to Toledo. Europe’s mass transit system is excellent. Clean, comfortable and efficient. Had no trouble finding our way around. Toledo is an amazing little town. We had a private tour guide, only way to go. You would miss so much without a guide and I don’t like being headed around like Cattle. Our Guide, ‘Nando, was incredibly knowledgeable and passionate about Toledo.  Built on the side of a hill and surrounded on 3 sides by a river, the town, had great strategic importance in ancient times. At different times, it has been run by the Romans, the Visigoths, the Moores, (Moslems) and the currently Christians. I’m not much of a church go’er,  but, the Cathedral was breathtaking.  The architecture, the carvings, the artifacts and icons, the art work were all beautiful. I don’t know anything about art, but even I recognized the names of the master that painted some of the pictures,  Rafael, Greco and many others. Unfortunately, your not allowed to take pictures inside, so I can’t show you what it looked like, but I doubt pictures could do it justice anyway. If you ever get the chance to go to Toledo, (again the original, not the one in Ohio), I suggest you go.

Main Gate to city of Toledo, Spain
Our Guide 'Nando and My Sweetie Emalyn at one of the gates to the city of Toledo

Main gate of Toledo, Ancient walled city in central Spain

Emalyn and our guide, ‘Nando, at one of the city gates

Cathedral of Toledo, Spain

Partial view of the Cathedral of Toledo front entrance

Side entrance of the Cathedral known as the “Clock Entrance” because of the clock above the arch.

Unfortunately the city  is so closely built, you can’t “stand back” far enough to fit many of the buildings in the pictures

Saturday Morning- had a guided tour of  Madrid. Not near as old as Toledo in many respects, but a very cool city. Very nice mix of old an new. We’ve done a lot of walking around the area  near our hotel. We lucked out in that regard as we are near many of the shops, squares and sights you would want to see as a tourist. There is some sort of big festival tonight called la Noche en Blanco, or the White Night. Not sure exactly what it’s about, but we’re going to enjoy it just the same. We haven’t been parting very hard at all, but I have noticed that there are not a lot of rum drinkers  here, must  be a tropical thing. Not a big deal, besides the wine is very good 😉

We leave  for Marrakesh, Morroco on Sunday.

Sunday, Sept.14, 2009

Not much going on right now. Business is pretty slow, but that’s to be expected in Sept. There won’t be many fishing pictures to publish for the next few weeks because Emalyn, my sweetie, and I are going to Spain and Morocco starting Wednesday. I’m going to try to keep the website and Blog updated via my laptop during the trip. I don’t know how the internet connections will  be, especially in Morocco, but check back and see how we’re doing

Sunday, Sept.6, 2009

Welcome to a new feature on my website – The Southbound Fishing Report and Blog. I decided to make it both a fishing report AND a blog because I’ve got so many regular customers who want to keep up on what’s going on with the fishing in Key West and also what’s going on in Key West itself.

Fishing has been fairly slow in recent weeks, both business-wise and catching-wise. Business-wise, it was a good season. I didn’t count how many trips I ran, but I know I ran better than most and for that I’m grateful. Many, Many thanks to my regular customers. Your repeat patronage and faith in me has sustained me for another year. That’s good enough for me, in this business, you just gotta’ take one year at a time.

The best fishing as of late has been anchored up and yellowtail snapper fishing. Yellowtails are a relatively small snapper, 3 lbs is a large one, but it is one of the best eating fish you’ll find anywhere, white, flaky and not fishy tasting at all. Sharks have been a bit of a problem because they like Yellowtail too. We’ve had to refrain from using our 12lb spinning rods, they’re more fun, but you can’t boat the yellowtails before the sharks get them. 20lb spinning gear seems to have enough “umpff” to muscle them in …..most of the time. We haven’t been fishing for the sharks much, but if anyone wants to catch a shark, this is a good time to try. Mostly Caribbean Reef sharks, Lemon sharks, and an occasional Bull shark. They are a lot of fun on 50lb tackle.

School has started and Key West is very quiet right now. It’s Labor Day Weekend and I’ve only had one call for one seat all weekend. To be honest, I’ve got plenty of projects to keep myself busy between now and when things start picking up.

That’s all for now. I’ll try to keep posting on a regular basis 😉 promise!