August 22, 2012
“KICK BACK” TIME!
School started last Monday and that usually signals the end of my “fishing year”.
This year is no different. The week before last, I had 6 trips, last week I had 4 trips and this week, only 2 trips. I’m not complaining, it’s been a great year.
I’ve been very busy with new and repeat customers and I’m actually looking forward to a few slow weeks. It’ll give me a chance to get a few projects done, both on the boat and at my house. There is an old saying, “Houses and boats are never done” and it’s true. There is always a project to do. I’m very thankful for all those customers, both repeat and new, that put their confidence in me and my mate to show them a great day on the water and I think, for the most part, we did. Fishing wasn’t always great, as a matter of fact; this was one of the toughest years I can remember. But I believe that most of my customers walked away from the dock happy. I truly hope so because I do care. I know how lucky I am, I have the best job in the world. I make a living taking people out on the tropical waters of Key West and having fun with them catching them fish. My customers and I get to see things most people only see on the National Geographic channel. I’ve seen huge leather back turtles, whales and whale sharks, tiger sharks, marlin, Cuban rafts, some with and some without people and much more. That’s the great thing about the waters of Key West; you never know what you’re going to see during a day on the water here.
I’ve been fishing these waters for almost 30 yrs and I never get tired of it. I do get tired, getting up every morning a 5 am and often not getting home until 5 or 6 pm makes for a long day, but truth be told, I can’t think of anything else I would want to do. So from now until probably October, I’ll chill a bit, putter around the boat a little bit and play a little bit.
So Thank You to all those who fished with me this past year. I truly appreciate your faith. Hopefully, the coming year business will be as good and fishing will be better.
I’ll keep you posted
April 14th, 2012
It’s been a very “up and down” year. Dolphin fishing has really been a “lifesaver”, or maybe I should say a “trip saver” a lot of days. Unusually warm weather all winter has kept the water temps up. I don’t think the water offshore has been below 74 all year and the water in the harbor hasn’t been below 70. Great weather for living or vacationing in Key West, but it’s made the fishing a little crazy. Live bait has been very hard to come by and ballyhoo have been scarce also. We’ve had a few days of good Black Fin Tuna fishing, but by and large, not what it should have been. Lots of calm days have translated into more boats going out deeper than normal looking for weed lines and debris and dolphin. It hasn’t worked every day, but more often than not, if you find something floating out deep, there would be fish on it.
Mid-April is right in the heart of Sailfish season. Conditions are lining up the way we want. We are seeing a very strong east current and sharp color change in the last few days. All we need now is some wind and that’s coming the next few days. It will make it rougher, but with a strong east wind and a strong east current, the sailfish should get up and tail along the surface and allow for sight casting live bait,(if we can catch any) to the sailfish as it heads down sea. It’s an exciting way to fish and one of my favorite times of the year.
Although the reef fishing hasn’t been “normal” this year, by that I mean we haven’t seen the Cero mackerels we normally see, nor the sailfish feeding on the schools of ballyhoo we look for. This is basically because there haven’t been any schools of ballyhoo to speak of. The Yellow tail snapper fishing has been pretty good all winter. The water has been warm, but not overly clear, and if you chum heavy, some good yellow tail fishing has been available when needed. April is the time of year when the wrecks are loaded with Amberjacks. It’s the time of year when they gather to spawn. Fish from 25 to 50 lbs are common with an occasional bigger one being caught. Because these fish are spawning and also because they tend to be wormy in these waters, we release all the amberjacks we catch. The only time we will bring one to the dock is if it is unable to swim back down. Amberjacks bloat when brought up from deep water wrecks and usually must be vented so they can swim back down. They don’t all make it and rather than watch one float away, if we can’t get it to swim down after about 3-4 attempts, we will bring it in.
March 8, 2012
It’s been a strange year! I guess when someone living in Key West says that, it might seem a bit redundant to most others. After all “Key West Normal” = “most other places weird”, But that’s a good thing, its part of the attraction of Key West for both visitors and residents alike. But for fishermen, weird makes life tough on us. Nobody wants to come to Key West and have cold, (by our standards) weather. If you’re coming to Key West, you want warm and sunny. I do to, that’s one of the reasons I moved here 30 yrs ago. But every place has weather cycles, some nice weather, some not so nice weather. Key West is no different. Nobody comes here for the cold weather, but it’s a part of life, or at least if should be. This winter has been different. Like a lot of the eastern seaboard, it’s been a very mild winter in Key West. Normally in February, you can expect daytime temperatures in the mid to low 70’s on a nice day and evening temperatures in the mid to low 60’s. A cold day is usually only in the 60’s, sometimes the 50’s and during an extreme cold snap, the 40’s. For most people, in January or February, even 45 degrees can feel balmy and if you’re coming from Upstate NY or Wisconsin or North Dakota, the 60’s feels like swim suit weather. In weather like that it’s easy to tell the visitors from the residents. Visitors are the ones wearing flip-flops, shorts and a t-shirt. Residents are wearing socks, shoes, long pants, a couple sweatshirts, and if it’s in the low 50’s or 40’s, a ski cap, gloves and a parka. Yup, that’s right. There are people in Key West that own and occasionally wear a ski cap, gloves and a parka! I’m not one of them, (OK, I’ve got the ski cap, but it was a gift and it’s a NY Giants ski cap, so it’s sportswear). I do have a long underwear top, but Hey! It’s colder on the water. This year, my “sportswear” NY Giants ski cap sits proudly in my closet, as do most of my sweatshirts and my long undies. It hasn’t gotten cold enough to wear them. Yea, we’ve had a few mild cold fronts and a couple mornings in the mid to high 60’s, but not too often this year. Most days the temp is in the low to mid 80’s.We’ve needed air-conditioning in February! And that’s about 8-10 degrees warmer than normal and that’s just wrong. This is the time of year when we’re supposed to get a break from the heat, we count on it. Yea it’s great if you’re on vacation, but I’m going to sweat enough in April-September, I don’t need it now. More importantly, from a fishing standpoint, we need the cold weather to cool the water off. This causes the bait fish to migrate south and with them come the predators – otherwise known as “the fish I’m trying to catch”. Sailfish, Wahoo, Cobia, Kingfish and Black Fin Tuna are like all creatures, they gotta’ eat. Usually the more bait, the more predators. This year has been tough. Oh, we’re catching fish most days, and generally sending people home happy, but it ain’t been easy. The only fish that has been better than normal has been the Dolphin, that’s a Mahi- Mahi to you west coasters or a Dorado if you’re south of the border. While the cold weather normally pushes many of our target species south to our waters this time of year, it also pushes the warm water fish like dolphin south away from our waters. Because the water hasn’t cooled off, we’ve been catching Dolphin all winter long. Thank Goodness for the dolphin. Fishing would be even tougher without them. I guess that’s really one of the reasons why fishing in Key West is so great. There’s (almost) always something to catch. A lot of places have an offseason, When the weather turns, the fish move and nothing else moves in. But Key West just has a different fish that is “in season” at different times of year. Cold north winds, Kingfish, Sailfish, Cero Mackerel, Black Fin Tuna, and more can be expected. Warm south or east winds, and we get dolphin. This is not to say, you can’t catch dolphin on a North Wind, I have. The wind and water temperature is only one factor that affects the fishing. The current and water color also has a big affect. Sailfish, Dolphin, Wahoo, Tuna are all considered “blue water” fish. So if you have blue water, as opposed to the green inshore waters from the gulf, Odds are there will be more blue water fish around. And, although it’s been a bit of a struggle so far this year, we’re coming into the time of year when the blue water starts to move in and (hopefully) we will start to see the offshore fishing really turn on. We had a late season cold front this past weekend and there is another one headed our way this Sunday. It might make the conditions a bit unpleasant in the short term, but that, along with the strong east current associated with the gulfstream moving in closer to Key West, should help the fishing a lot. Only time will tell, but it feels like things are lining up for a good run of sailfish and maybe some late season Wahoo and tuna. We’re booked quite a bit over the next few weeks, so we’ll find out. Stay tuned
January 28th, 2012
It’s been a busy season so far and I really haven’t had time to write anything here, My apologies. This report isn’t about fishing either. As most of my regular customers know, I’m a big NY Giants fan. My team is in the big game again, so naturally 1st mate Ben,( A Patriots fan and self described Masshole) and I have a bet. My brother in law, (another Masshole), hasn’t answered my text yet, but he knows he’ll have to bet me or never hear the end of it. We’ll keep it friendly, a bottle of his favorite Vs. a bottle of mine. But we gotta’ bet on the game! My neighbor across the street is also a Patriots fan. Yesterday I came home and found a Tom Brady doll wire tied to my fence post. In the interest of historic accuracy in advance, we sent it back to here side of the street the way Tom is going to look on Monday morning.