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When I bought the Southbound in 1992, most of the charter boats would leave the dock at 8 am. That is much later than boats in most areas. Key West has the advantage of being able to catch fish relatively close. I’ve caught Sailfish within 5 miles of the beach. Most places you can’t do that. So between the popular nightlife and the short run to the fishing ground, most of the customers and crews preferred to leave at 8. Catching the fish was always important to me, I didn’t care if I had to get up early. I like being the early bird. I always have.

So, I started leaving at 7 shortly after I bought the boat. There were a couple of reasons for this. First, If there was a weed line or a Tuna bite going on, I would prefer to be the first boat there. It was worth it to me to get up a little early. Now as I’m a bit older and I don’t stay up much past 10, getting up early is easy. Back they, I played a little harder and some days it was a bit of a struggle. But It was still worth it to catch good fish.

Another reason I liked to leave early was so I would get in early. Back in those days, we booked most of our trips off the dock and If you got back an hour before the other boats, sometimes you would get first shot at potential customers.

Some days you have to talk my customers into leaving at 7. I understand, after all, they are on vacation. Most people like to sleep in when on vacation, but most of the time I can convince them it is worth it.

Some days it’s worth it just for the sunrise. It can be spectacular on the water. I’ve seen hundreds of sunrises, maybe thousands. I still appreciate the beauty. It still mesmerizes me. Being on a boat, with a good cup of coffee watching the sunrise as we head out fishing.

After 27 hrs, it hasn’t changed. I like being the early bird.

It never gets old