Monday, September 11, 2017

Irma was a bitch

I don't know if y'all have heard or not, but hurricane Irma paid a visit to the Florida Keys.  My first rule for cat 3 and above hurricanes is plan a spontaneous vacation.  So Michele and I vacated on vacation and have had a lovely tour of Florida rarely seen by others. 

Back in Marathon, it appears our stuff also planned a spontaneous vacation not long after we left.  Since communications are down and a little over half of Florida is without power, it might take us a few days to finish vacationing.  We are probably homeless which means a bit of shopping for new to us digs.  Not to worry, this is not our first natural disaster.  We'll be back.


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

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Rain, and More Rain

 August and September are the prime rainy season months in the Keys so nothing very unusual about all the rain.  As long as there isn't a named storm, you can normally avoid most of the worst stuff and catch fish.  Right now, Mangrove Snapper are moving back to their usual spots so there are more opportunities to catch dinner when the weather doesn't look great for running offshore or fishing the reef. 

Hogfish is closed in Federal Waters but you can still keep one per person over 16 inches in state waters.  Over 16 inches though is going to be tough.  Hogfish are way to delicate for catch and release, even with circle hooks, so I am not sure how this barrage of new Hogfish regulations is going to play out. 

Mrs. Cathy of Lady Catherine Charters is having a tough time battling the big C right now so I want to steer more traffic to their charter business.  Lots of people I know are battling, which is just a reminder that anytime you can is a great time to go fishing. 

Texas is getting more than their fair share of rain thanks to a stalled Harvey.  When the skies clear, they will clean up and get back to business, so planning a fishing trip there can help get the local captains back in the black.  You can donate to plenty of charities, but getting people back to work is the best way to get things back to normal.

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

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Yep, Fish are still biting

While I am screwing around with domestic nonsense and plumbing repair, David has been fishing is the light and variable conditions offshore.  David Heberholz is the lead captain on the Lady Catherine and also does a little fishing consulting on private boats.

A 54" bull dolphin is a solid 30 pound fish and called a slammer down here.  The 53" cow dolphin should be between 25 and 30 pounds.

Other boats have been getting good numbers of gaffer fish and the occasionally Wahoo.  Not bad for August.

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, August 10, 2017

Windy Full Moon

 I had three days with a crew I have fished with for years and of course the only time they had available was on the full moon with 15 to 20 knot winds. 


 Everyone had a fairly good time but when Grant's bragging fish is a Nurse shark, fishing was off.  We did manage a keeper Red Grouper, some nice Porkies, a few Cero Mackerel, Yellowtail Snapper and some Mangrove snapper, but the bites were short lived with the full moon current often against the wind. 



The boat they rented was a Sea Fox from All Aboard Rentals.  Pretty nice new boat, 24 foot with a single 250 Yamaha.  All Aboard has moved to the end of Avenue A and has new owners who are Sea Fox dealers.   Since the windy, full moon fell on the the first week of lobster season, they had the only boats left in Marathon to rent.  They had just moved in to the new place and had lots of work going on.  I should have taken more pictures, but the boats are rigged for fishing and cruising around.  Good size live well and fish boxes plus lots of seating in the back that really wasn't in the way fishing.

Now that they are back home, the winds have laid down and the offshore bite has picked up.  There is a storm that may develop over the next week, but after that fishing should be good and the buggers will mainly be gone.  

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, July 29, 2017

The secrets of successful offshore trolling

 A full day of offshore trolling on a charter boat is expensive.  On the Lady Catherine, it costs almost as much as a ticket for drinking coffee or soda while operating a vehicle in New Jersey.  So a smaller boat offshore trip cost about as much as a liberal's idea of a fair traffic ticket.  On a large sport fisherman, you might be set back two traffic tickets.

To avoid the same emotions you might have after paying an $855 dollar fine for having a sip of coffee on the way to work, you need to think of the overall experience of sport fishing.

Since it is rare to have trophy Marlin bite every hour of a sport fishing trip, refreshments, music and cleaver banter are common on offshore expeditions.  Instead of planning on a meal at some traditional time of day, consider grazing.  Finger foods and salty snacks increase the odds of having an enjoyable day. Munch often,

First, according to Murphy's Law, fish tend to bite at unexpected moments.  Every time you open a drink or grab a handful of chips, the odds of a fish striking increases.  Set out a party platter of cheese, fruit and crackers and it is almost guaranteed the boat will be mugged resulting in fish in the box and food on the deck.  However, if bananas are part of the fruit tray, it is more likely that there will be food on the deck and stories of fish that got away. 

Second, select a productive play list.  Classic rock mixed with some newer country and a splash of "who the hell picked that" is great for a mixed bag catch.  For billfish only you can try classical music and opera, but avoid blue grass and rap.   Fish will bite while blue grass and rap music are playing, but finding a crew help land the fish becomes an issue.

Third, don't get in a hurry.  When a larger fish pulls line off the reel, that is the fun part or the "Sport" in sportfishing, savor the moment and don't wind against the drag.  If a smaller fish happens to strike, casually bringing the smaller fish in might inspire a larger fish to munch.  In the case of Dolphin, aka Mahi, the whole family of fish might visit the boat if you don't rush the first fish into the boat. 

Fourth, for some odd reason, Mozzarella cheese, summer sausage and Ritz crackers tend to produce more Dolphin, while ham and cheese mini sandwiches produce more tuna.  Cold pizza tends to be more of a bottom fishing menu.  Cover all bases and have a good mixture :)

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 27, 2017

What mini-season?


 Mini Lobster season is a zoo which I try to avoid each year.  This year though Lady Catherine booked a couple of family fun half days.   So Wednesday we fished a couple of hours and caught dinner including two nice Hogfish and then let the crew snorkel at Sombrero Reef for a couple of hours.  Today we did the same thing on the Bay Side but let the crew try their hand at chasing bugs after putting a dozen Mangrove Snapper in the box for dinner.

The buggin' newbies managed three keeper spiny lobster, which isn't bad for a couple of hours in the water.  All in all it was a pretty good week.

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