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Some days are better than others

Sometimes the fishing is good, Some days  – Not so good. Some days the weather is fantastic,(more often than not here in Key West), and some days the Weather is not so good………………………………and some days the weather is really, really bad!!!

Today was one of those really, really bad weather days!!

I knew there was a cold front approaching and it was going to be strong. But my initial reports indicated it would get here later in the day. I thought we could get the bulk of the days fishing in before it hit. Often, right before the Cold Fronts, the conditions and the fishing are both very good.  sometimes the fish can sense the impending pressure change and know it is time to feed while they can. I expected It might be “sporty” on the ride in, but I was hoping to catch a few fish early.

Unfortunately, It didn’t work that way!

The front picked up speed as it approached. It moved faster and the winds increased. The day before, I heard the wind might blow up to 30. That’s usually not fun, but I have fished in winds that strong more times than I wish. So I figured if we could get a few fish in the boat into the afternoon. IF the front did hit and we had to come in a little early, it wouldn’t be the end of the world

On the Southbound we like to leave early.

I’m usually one of the first boats off the dock. Unfortunately, the Weather updates didn’t come through until I was almost to the reef. At the time, they were calling for winds up to 40 kts. That is getting into the unsafe realm, and I knew we would have to make a run for it at some point in the day. The leading edge was getting closer, bigger, and darker! Bigger and Darker is not good and this one was getting really dark. My 1st mate informed me that she just got a weather update. Now they were calling for wind gusts over 50 kts, Time to go! We have a real-time wind gage on Sand Key Light so we can get an accurate reading on the wind on our phones

I took a picture of the leading edge at 9:18 am

and started turning toward the north. It didn’t look like we were going to get much fishing in before it hit. One of the other boats that was inshore of me called me on the radio and said it was getting nasty, so I told my 1st mate and my customers that I was making an “executive decision” and we were going to call it a half day today. I figured by the time, we could wind the lines in, and start running, we would be most of the way to the harbor before it hit us. NOPE!! it didn’t happen that way.

At 9:35 am

Just 17 minutes later, we were in a gale! The temperature dropped about 10 degrees in just a few seconds and it was raining so hard that I could not see more than 100 feet in any direction. After having fished these waters for about 37 years,  I knew where I was and where I was going, and I knew we would get in OK,  but in those conditions, you have to pay very close attention. There was no shallow water between myself and the harbor, but there were channel markers, lobster buoys, and possibly other boats. I slowed down to about 9 kts. to give myself time to react if needed and kept my head “on a swivel” looking for anything in my path. The gusts were so strong that they kept turning the bow and I had to pay very close attention to the compass and the chart plotter.

I did take a quick video, but I didn’t want to divert my attention from looking forward for more than a few seconds.  Click the link above to see it. We made it in without any issues. just a bit colder and damper than when we left. My customers had 2 other days scheduled so I knew I had a chance to make up for today

Just another day of “Living the Dream”!!