Wednesday, July 19, 2017

People like Pictures, I like catching fish

After three trips where my cellphone battery died pre-maturely I have mental pictures but not real pictures to post.  A couple of customer promised to email me photos but that is pretty unlikely.

Yesterday, we did a combo offshore and reef trip on the Lady Catherine.  but we only put a handful of keepers in the box.  Offshore was slow for big dolphin even though we found a prize floater.  Lots of undersized fish.  On a full day offshore we probably would have found some bigger fish a little deeper, but  we can back to the reef.

The reef proved to be interesting.  There was a big shark encounter that blew wind up a few skirts plus some nice 'tailing.  One 26 inch Yellowtail and we lost a few that were bigger thanks to the bottom and Mr. Shark.  When your biggest dolphin and biggest Yellowtail are the same size, it was an interesting day. 

Prior to yesterday we had a few family fun trips and fishing 101.  Good fishing with 'cuda/shark encounters that made a few people's day.  Not lots of big bragging fish, but solid 'tails, Porgies and Mangrove depending on the location. 

It is just a bit hot out so plan on bringing plenty of water and me talking you into heading out early and getting back early.

Marathon in the Florida Keys should be your next fishing vacation destination. Join us for charter fishing, fishing guide trips or our fishing 101 so you can fish on your own with better success.

Tight lines,

Capt. Dallas

Thursday, July 06, 2017

Hogfish and Porgies are playing again

 Ldy Catherine in booking more family fun half days than anything else lately and luckily, the Hogfish and Porgies are back to normal along with the mystery fish that get new comers to the Keys excited.

This was a pretty good catch considering we had a few barracuda and big shark changes during the morning half.  Had quite a few not quite legal mutton snapper releases that would have been legal last year.  Good thing they haven't raised the Hogfish size limit or these would have been released.

Speaking of regulations, the kindhearted idiots are back in action wanting to "protect" more species that aren't in any particular danger.  This "legacy" style of regulation, you know getting your name on some piece of crap that costs working folks money while proving to the world you are a visionary, needs to be nipped in the bud.  If species are doing fine without regulation, then leave them alone.  Hook and line isn't depleting Hogfish, spear fishing is depleting hogfish, so I think we should make the Keys a no spearfishing zone if spearfishing start impacting my livelihood.  Ouch right?

Marathon in the Florida Keys should be your next fishing vacation destination. Join us for charter fishing, fishing guide trips or our fishing 101 so you can fish on your own with better success.

Tight lines,

 Capt. Dallas

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Its 'Tailing Time




Yellowtail Snapper bite all year long but in the summer you have more calm days to get out there plus most folks have vacations in the summer.  Most of the time, catching more than enough "tails for dinner is a piece of cake, but they can make you look bad and like doing it.  So basic refresher course tips are in order.

Clear line/fluorocarbon -  when visibility may be over 100 feet you get the opportunity to see the fish that aren't biting.  Clear line tends to spook fish less and while fluorocarbon isn't required it can make a difference on clear, calm days.  Avoid braid and colored lines unless you are trying to make a sales pitch.

Smaller hooks and baits can make a big difference and help combat the Filefish.  For some reason people like to protect things that drive other people nuts.  Scrolled Filefish are one of those things.  They aren't endangered, but since small ones look good in aquariums, the FWC has size limits for aquarium collectors.  Filefish over 20" are common on the reef and officer friendly might think that they are illegal to keep he/she is confusing hook and line fishing with collecting tropicals.  So if you keep filefish, which are pretty tasty if you like trigger fish, the guys in polyester may or may not cite you for illegally keeping oversized tropicals.  Yes, this is one of the main reasons I tend to be politically outspoken, because the brain dead have become part of the system.  Extremely nice and caring folks without a clue irritate the hell out of old farts like me when they can write citations without using common sense.

Oats -  There is a lot of confusion about chumming with oats.  Dry oatmeal floats more and sinks slower so the fish tend to get closer to the surface.  Wet oats since faster and create a little cloud of oat milk that people like to hide their hooks in.  In the summer on a calm day with clear water I want the fish near the top and close to the boat so I use dry oats.  That way you can bail fish without them taking you into the coral.  Wet oats make a spectacular mess in the boat which some people like.

Cheap or not Cheap -  legal to 15 inch 'Tails are easy to catch so you require less chum, so you can probably catch your limit with two blocks in a half day using a medium mesh chum bag.  Hero 'Tails or flags, are fish over 20 inches and are typically found in deeper water requiring more chum in a landing net size mesh chum bag.   You will probably burn a case of chum at around $7.50 times 6 = $45 for about 6 hours of fishing time.  A 15 inch 'tail makes a good filet and is pretty tasty, just not very impressive at the cleaning table.  If you want impressive, it will cost more and require more attention to details like fluorocarbon, steady line release, various hook, jig and bait combinations, and something that is more difficult to find, patience.

Marathon in the Florida Keys should be your next fishing vacation destination. Join us for charter fishing, fishing guide trips or our fishing 101 so you can fish on your own with better success.

Tight lines,

Capt. Dallas

Saturday, June 24, 2017

What a difference a few knots makes

 The winds are still a little high for small boats on the ocean side, but at 16 to 20 instead of 20 to 25 it is a lot easier to find fish on the bay side.



This is from this morning's half day on the Lady Catherine just fishing a couple of spots near banks.  With the lower winds we were able to hold anchor most of the time and the ballyhoo actual came close enough to the boat to hook and line a few for bait. All of these were caught on fresh ballyhoo and pinfish chunks to avoid the thousands of tiny fish in the chum slick.

This catch doesn't come close to what is going on ocean side but we picked up a crew that had already got beaten up chasing dolphin and want something a little less adventurous.  Now the Cindy has been given a name and moved north, the weather should be back to normal this week, so ocean side here we come!

Marathon in the Florida Keys should be your next fishing vacation destination. Join us for charter fishing, fishing guide trips or our fishing 101 so you can fish on your own with better success.

Tight lines,

Capt. Dallas

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Wind woes

 Given the option, it would be more fun doing laundry.  25 knots gusting to 30 doesn't make for a full fish box.  Well, unless you are into barely legals.

First problem is holding an anchor and the second is mobility.  On a calm day you can say goodbye to the mini-mangroves and cover some ground to find better conditions.  In any case, my guesser appears to be broken.  Not really skunked in two days of fishing but close enough for me.  One nice Hogfish was the showcase along with mainly gut hooked barely legal snapper. Normally, June is frolicking fish time with nice photo ops back at the dock.  It calmed down enough to sneak out to a rock pile, but no luck on the one I picked.  

Sadly, quite a few folks picked a bad week to visit the Keys for fishing.  Wind surfing though looked fantastic.  All I can say is I sucked this week and am looking forward to some redemption once the winds drop below 20 knots.

Marathon in the Florida Keys should be your next fishing vacation destination. Join us for charter fishing, fishing guide trips or our fishing 101 so you can fish on your own with better success.

Tight lines,

Capt. Dallas

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

In the Reef to 250 foot range






This trip yesterday could have been fantastic if we had not managed to miss two really big fish.  One was big bull dolphin which we got a good look at and the other was most likely a really big tuna.  By really big, I mean over 25 pounds not a giant or any thing.  We fished all day in the 100 to 250 foot depth range right off the reef.  Most of the tuna were smaller lil Tunny which some folks like and some don't and one was a respectable black fin.   There were tons of peanut dolphin with about half legal, but when you have bait size dolphin you always have a shot at the larger fish that likes eating them.   So working the peanut schools can produce trophy fish provided you manage to not lose the $%stard!



These are from a June 1st trip in search of Muttons.  The bite sucked as soon as the current shifted but we did manage a nice black grouper and porgy on the first two drifts before the shift.  I like porgies so I drop a chicken rig with shrimp while my clients drop live bait for the big fish.  We did get one undersized Mutton, which is abnormal when dropping on the deeper wrecks, so we tried a couple of patches for the Mangroves.  The three we caught were in the 17" to 18" range to provide some perspective on the grouper.  That grouper was a personal best for Manny who fishes the wrecks all the time.

We will have a bit of rain for the next few days which is much needed down here then I should have more fish to show off.

Marathon in the Florida Keys should be your next fishing vacation destination. Join us for charter fishing, fishing guide trips or our fishing 101 so you can fish on your own with better success.


Tight lines,


Capt. Dallas