Thursday, January 21, 2016

Crazy Day

Hey, it's a white boat with a center console.  I started off by stealing a boat from Shelter Bay in mucho frio temperatures.  Well, not stealing, just test driving.  Anyway, I had a boat to pick up and deliver but I jumped on the wrong boat.  I figured out it was the wrong boat, returned and got the right on and finished that job.  The guys at Shelter Bay probably are still laughing.

On the way to steal the boat, I got Captain David to help and we used his van for the road part of things.  His van was having a bad day so after stalling a few times, he made it to NAPA to get some hoses to fix things.

We had a late half day with a crew from China.  Almost all my jokes are not in Chinese so when we hit a slow bite I had to resort to more gestures than normal.  While the bite was slow we caught enough fish for dinner and had a better than average sunset.  That sunset was followed by cleaning the boat and gear in the dark which seems to take a bit longer.

Not much to report other than how easy it is to steal boats down here.  The cold snap has dropped the water temperatures enough to fire off a bit of a sailfish bite if you happen to be able to stand some sporty seas and pushed the Spanish Mackerel down closer to the island.  The Snapper bite inside the reef is a bit slow because of the rapid temperature change but it should be pretty hot on the reef, again with pretty sporty seas.  The shrimp are running so they are pretty much a must have bait to get things started in shore if you want Snapper.  Grouper are of course still closed so expect to hook plenty of them.

BTW, 'spaining to the Chinese that their biggest fish had to go back was pretty entertaining.  They were a good crew though and enjoyed the variety they caught.

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, January 06, 2016

Holiday Rush

I should have posted a couple of days ago but I was bushed.  I fished 10 days in a row which 10 years ago would not have been a big deal, I have done 45 days in a row, but now it is a little more challenging.

I got most of the people in that wanted to go but unfortunately had to pass on one regular thanks to a local captain doing something totally weird and thinking he was entitle to a little vacation time hisself.  One of the ten days was actually calm enough to do ocean side with a crew that was new to the snapper catching thing.  They also had to release two formerly legal red grouper because of Uncle Sugar's Grinch Grouper Policy.  Both of those were caught on 12 pound test which made for a pretty good show especially when young Noah (about 9 I guess) managed to land his first ever.

With the wind howling and pretty steady rain for the past two days I have caught up on my nap time as well as my bills.  Not to worry though, the forecast looks pretty good for the next week though I may have to wear more clothes than normal.

Booking wise I have a few new customers along with many of the older gang coming back which is good but most of the calendar is open which is about normal with weather being a bit iffy.  I do need to work with the Lady Catherine to get a more reliable supply of live bait.  The dock she is at tends to be marginal for keeping bait and the bait boat is located on the Bay Side making things a bit of a challenge.  Live bait would mainly be for sailfish which have just been trickling in but could fire off any day.

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, December 30, 2015

A little near offshore action

Yesterday we had a full day is gusty southeast winds.  What we did was easy out and just trolled the edge of the reef out to about 200 feet.  Other than a 2 hour dry spell fro 12:00 to 2:00 we had a slow by steady bite of dolphin (mahi mahi), little Tunny and a mackerel here and there.  Nothing big, largest dolphin was about 10 pounds, but we ended up with 8 dolphin, two mackerel and a load of little tunny.  The little tunny are a PITA to fillet out to get the little tenderloin fillets, but they make good tuna snacks.  Dolphin of any size are always great fun and great food.

Once the little tunny get over about 5 pounds you have to be a serious tuna lover or a bit nuts to enjoy, but the small fillets are very white and tasty after removing the blood line.  On most boats I wouldn't bother with them but Captain David is a big fan so we ended up with a bag full of little tunny fillets (about 5 pounds).  Like I said they are good but it takes a lot of time, so we spent a couple of hours at the cleaning table.

Thanks to my happy pills I was able to enjoy most of the day on the fly bridge and only dipped the bow a dozen times or so.  David's cell phone and wallet plus most of the stuff in the cabin got a salt water wash down and the boat got a less less than thorough scrubbing in the dark.

I should get some pictures from the crew so I will post them we I do.
 
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

Monday, December 28, 2015

Chicago Joe and Crew 2015

Well, unfortunately the bad back and weather didn't let us do the kinda of catching we are used to.  Normally we have a northerly wind so we can fish the rock piles in Hawk Channel for the tasty mixed bag.  This year we had to stay closer to the island than normal and fish the Bay Side.  Most of the time the winds and currents didn't make things easy and getting the anchor to hold was more of a pain than normal.  So it wasn't a great catching trip but the crew did manage to have fun and get dinner.

I am pretty booked up for the rest of the week but I may be able to slip in another day on a split if the weather lays down.  Tomorrow is offshore on the Lady Catherine the a half day on LC and a guide trip.  Hopefully, I will get an off day before I get too beat up because the first of the year is looking pretty busy.  Feast or famine this time of year.

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

Friday, December 25, 2015

The rare full moon on Christmas day fishing adventure

We had a nice family fun half day today on the Lady Catherine which can be a bit of a challenge in gusty winds.  Family fun is basically fishing with a bit, snorkeling a bit and a bit of sightseeing.  We couldn't talk the crew into keeping any fish because of travel issues so we put them on sharks, mainly Bonnet Heads with a possible reef/sharp nose.  Kind of hard for me to tell without breaking out the book.  Anyhoo, about a dozen sharks were enough so we switch to a mixed bag spot out of the wind that produces mainly action with enough good eating fish to keep everyone happy.  Today, the eating part of happy falls on Captain David with Mutton, Mangrove and Yellowtail Snapper and me with a  bag of Porgy fillets.

The entire crew really enjoyed the non-stop action with lots of photogenic fish then a brief dip Molasses Key.  That action as usual was at the last of the tide current through the change.  Bridge or any place close to the bridge on the full moon you get about 1 or 2 hours of pretty good fishing around the slack tide.  Unfortunately, you get to hear more of my jokes than normal before and after the magic hour because more often than not the rest of the time sucks, except for sharks of course.

I was really surprised we didn't get any Spanish Mackerel today since they have been just about every where, but I guess they are liking the Bay Side since the ocean side is pretty churned up.  So it was a slower than normal day but we had the right crew for what we could find and they have Christmas day catching pictures with a tan.

Tomorrow is the first of a three day set with Chicago Joe.  He almost didn't make it down this year due to back problems so I guess I will have to take it easier on him that normal.;  Looks like a Bay day with chance of bridge.

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, December 23, 2015

Even a bad day of fishing is pretty good

Had a nice group today on the Lady Catherine which we really wanted to take to the reef and rock piles but the seas were confused enough we punted and went to the Bay.  Near full moon current against a pretty stiff winds are just a tad less than optimal conditions.

The crossed up wind and current made things a lot more challenging and limited options but the Spanish Mackerel did their job, though we only managed to get a couple of Mangrove Snapper.  The Spanish were respectable sized and with tide and current together it should not be hard to fill the freezer.  On lighter tackle the Spanish are always fun, it is just an question of matching the right recipe with the Spanish once you get into them.

Smoked and smoked fish dip are the most common treatments with a few promoting Spanish the ceviche and sushi, but just plain old fried, fresh Spanish is pretty hard to beat in spite of what some might say.  You can get a bit snobby and compare it to higher dollar fish species, but you probably shouldn't be frying the high dollar stuff all the time should you?  Butter milk soaking is often recommended, but I think that is more of a last ditch salvation of frozen mackerel.  A little salt, pepper and a health dash of Old Bay will transform Spanish fillets into tasty fish fingers.

For long term storage though I still recommend freezing after some sort of cooking.  I was solidly in the smoked camp for years, but about any method will add to the freezer life and poached actually gives you a few more options, like pretty tasty fish cakes.

 I didn't take any photos today but there were a few taken that I might be able to add later.  

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