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We finished the year with a long day on the water.

We fished a 6 hr trip in the morning and a 4 hr trip after that. That means it’s dark when we get to the boat and dark when we leave. Charter boat crews sleep very well this time of year. This was a pretty good year for the Southbound so I was glad to spend all the daylight hours of the last day of the end of 2019 on the water. It’s what we do

My first group has had pretty good luck catching dolphins with me in the last few years, even though this is definitely not the time of year when we expect to catch them. One of the group had been snake bit. He has lost the dolphin he has hooked and he wanted another shot. There had been some nice dolphin caught the last few days, so I thought it was worth a shot and they were up for it. I was wrong

I was not alone. There were a lot of boats offshore with the same idea and with the exception of one boat that found some debris with a few fish on it, everyone else was wrong too. It didn’t make me feel any better.

Barracuda caught and released in Key West fishing on charter boat Southbound

As I mentioned it was only a 6 hr trip, which gave me enough time to get out deep. We were about 17 miles southeast of Key West and fishing in almost 800 ft of water. Unfortunately, although it was calm and beautiful,  we were not getting any bites. So with about an hour of fishing time left, I bailed out and ran inshore looking for bites. I did not want the end of 2019 to be a trip where we got “skunked”. We managed a couple of fish inshore. Nothing too exciting. A small mackerel and a Barracuda. Not an epic day and I’m sure some websites would never admit it, but I always tell the truth here and its what it is. A tough morning on the water.


In the afternoon we decided to keep it inshore. We only had 4 hrs and we knew well from the morning trip that going deep this time of year was risky. Actually I knew it all along, but my morning customers wanted to try. So we trolled the reef just looking for bites. We got some bonitos and Cero Mackerel along the reef and outer bar. The Bonitos are fun to catch and the Cero mackerel are both fun to catch and good to eat. Once we had plenty for them to eat, we decided to head offshore and look for a Black Fin Tuna.

The Tuna tend to bite just before Sunset and we were going to be on the water until about the same time. We went out to 230 ft of water and headed east to give us more fishing time. I heard on the radio that a couple of other boats had caught a Tuna or two in that depth. Nothing crazy, but we already had dinner in the boat. Catching a nice Tuna to go with the Cero mackerel would have been a good way to end the day.

We had a couple of bites. One, in particular, was pulling a lot of drag, but it got off. Time was running short and I really wanted the end of 2019 to be on a good fish. Just before it was time to pull the lines in, we hooked a decent Black Fin Tuna and this one stayed on the line. It was our last fish of 2019 and not a bad way to end the year.

One of the things I do like about having a late trip this time of year is that we are running in as the sun is setting. I get to see some spectacular sunsets somedays. The last sunset of the year wasn’t one, but it was the best sunset all day so I enjoyed it anyway

Sunsett at the end of 2019 in Key West fishing on Charter boat Southbound