Thursday, December 13, 2007

Shark Fishing!

I don't have a clue why, but lately all i am getting is shark fishing trips. Don't get me wrong, shark fishing on light tackle is a ton of fun. Still five out of my last seven trips have been for sharks on light tackle.

We have been averaging fifteen hook ups per day on the sharks, plus a variety of other fish. Two of the last three trips have produced keeper grouper. Not that that is stellar grouper fishing, but it ain't a bad by-catch for shark fishing trips in the Bay. Quite a few nice mangrove snapper, a few yellowtail snapper, a variety of jacks and tons of Spanish mackerel round out the by-catch on most trips.

The sharks brought to the boat are mainly browns in the 30 to 50 pound range with a few lemons and blacktips mixed in just for fun. Several large bull sharks have been hooked up. On 12 pound test most of these mercifully broke off. It can take a long time to wear out a 300 pound shark with a 12 pound spinning rod.

The reef is loaded with bait! Once the wind shifts to the Northeast and stays there, the action for big mangroves, yellowtails and a few muttons and grouper should be good for the meat fishermen. The sailfish and king mackerel are here waiting for the wind to change. Near shore drift fishing will really heat up here when this front slides through.

Fishing isn't the hottest I have seen for this time of year, but is pretty good.

Tight lines,
Enjoy some Marathon Heart of the Florida Keys Fishing


Friday, December 07, 2007

Three Day Getaway Fishing Special

This is kind of cool.

Captain Pips announces the premier vacation rental fishing package, the three day getaway. For $692.50 per person (two people) you get two days fishing and three nights lodging for one easy on the wallet price. The price includes a professional fishing guide, upgrade to pro series rental boat, bait, ice and fuel. None of those annoying little add on fees other than Florida state sales tax, your food, drink and a gratuity for your guide.

For a four person party, the maximum recommended, the total price is $1750 or 437.50 per person. Again that is all inclusive except for food, drink sales tax and gratuity.

Savvy fishermen know that fuel surcharges are taking a bigger bite out of their fishing budget than ever before. The three day getaway gets rid of that guess work bringing you back to the good old days of that’s the price period.

The pro series boats are rigged for fishing with Tee top, GPS/Sonar, VHF radio, large live wells and fuel efficient four stroke outboards. For a party of two the boat is a 20 foot Cape Horn. A party of four will fish from the 24 foot Cape Horn if available or one of the other 23 foot, pro series center consoles.

The professional guide takes you to the fish and makes sure everything is rigged and ready for your seasonal favorite from snapper to sailfish.

The lodging provided is signature Captain Pips. Clean comfortable rooms with plenty of space inside and out for relaxing in the tropical Florida Keys.

To keep these prices low you do have to provide your own Florida Saltwater fishing license. That way the trips are guided not chartered which saves you tons of money. The non-resident three day fishing license is under twenty dollars and easily purchased over the phone at 1-888-347-4356 the first day of your stay.

You can check out Captain Pips website for availability. I am one of those professional guides in case you were wondering.

Enjoy a Marathon Heart of the Florida Keys Fishing Vacation.

Capt. Dallas

Just an Update.

Sorry, I have been neglecting the blog with so much stuff going on down here. Fishing in the bay is starting to heat up. The Spanish Mackerel are good size, but the bite is not fast and furious. That should change in the next week or two.

The larger mangrove snapper are around the bridge and the patches on the reef. Nice fish to eight pounds with a keeper grouper here and there. Ceros are pretty thick with all the balleyhoo on the reef.

Sailfishing is pretty good. It is not constant action, but your time should be rewarded with two or more shots a day. While you are waiting on a sail bite, King mackerel over 30 pounds may want to play with a deep drift live balleyhoo. My crew Wednesday enjoyed their King, I just wish the sailfish had not thrown the hook.

Offshore has sucked the last two weeks thanks to the wind shift. For a while, the dolphin and sails were right on top of the reef. Now you will have to do some hunting.

Tight Lines,
Enjoy some Marathon Heart of the Florida Keys Fishing

capt dallas

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Just a Quickie

Okay, so I have been neglecting the blog. I have been fishing but no photos. Offshore before the front came through we manage some good size dolphin and a few tuna. Lost some nice fish due to an unnamed angler and being out gunned tackle wise. Needed fifties for the tuna which is a nice problem to have. The dolphin we kept were in the 8 to 15 pound range and lost one about 25 due to a tip wrap, bummer. Still it was a nice trip and they will bring the heavier trolling gear next time for the hump.

All the fish hit the darts I make except for one that hit a Billy Bait.

Bayside is still a little warm for the Spanish but getting there. If this front actually pushes down, things should get fired up in the bay. With the full moon things were a little off at the bridge and reef. That is changing quickly so I am looking to hit some serious flag fishing this week and next. November normally means the grouper will move around. Looking for a few bigger blacks and reds for Thanksgiving dinner? That is a great time to pick a fight with the bottom fish.

Booking wise things are starting to pick up. The after Thanksgiving week is booked, and the rest should fill up when the Spanish bite starts.

Tight lines,
Enjoy some Marathon Heart of the Florida Keys Fishing

capt. dallas

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Yellowtail for Dinner

With the slow season in full swing I haven't been out much but I did have a great trip Thursday. My crew wanted to run offshore for tuna and dolphin but I talked them into starting on the reef first. Good thing, one of the crew started getting green in the one foot seas.

We hung in long enough to catch a mess of yellowtails for dinner. We only kept the ones in the 14 plus inch range and got close to their limit in about an hour. Since we had plenty of fish for dinner and a sea sick crew member we headed into the bridge.

We had plenty of live blue runners in the 4 to 6 inch range for bait. The action was pretty hot once the current changed to incoming. Plenty of jack crevalle in the ten pound range for fun on light tackle, tons of mangrove snapper, a black grouper that just missed the size limit and a couple of mystery fish that we couldn't turn.

Other than that trip, I have been building bars and starting to get the proline ready for the Fantasy Fest week fishing trip. November bookings are starting to pickup and the Bayside reports are getting better. I am really looking forward to cobia for dinner and smoked mackerel dip appetizers.

Tight lines,
Enjoy some Marathon Heart of the Florida Keys Fishing

capt. dallas

Thursday, September 06, 2007

So What is Happening?

Other than a fun trip with some old customers that are more like family than customers, there hasn’t been much going on the past week. The trip Monday was fun, we caught fish and my crew did a little spear fishing. With the clear water I thought that the spear fishing would have been better than the hook and line, but we had a fair catch of yellow tails and porgies. Spearing brought a couple of tasty hogfish home to boat.

The picture by the way is me with Cal Sutphin on the show before the great breakfast. has a simile-cast if you don't have a life.

This time of year is always slow so I am staying occupied with the Conch Tiki stuff. The radio show is a hoot and the groceries that go with the show are pretty awesome. Wednesday’s show was at Michael’s in Key West. That was a great time and Michael’s version of eggs Benedict was awesome!

Since fishing is slow I plan to write a few posts about the guys you may fish with if I am busy. Believe it or not, I tend to stay booked in season so I have to recommend a few captains to fill in for me. Some used to mate for me and some are captains I just like to compete with. They are all good.

Most will do a guide trip like I do, but they tend to want the charter only deal. That’s fine, the reason I am in Marathon is the diversity. You have a tons of fishing options in the middle keys. So I will showcase a few of my buds and their specialties so you can mix up your trip.

Enjoy some Marathon Heart of the Florida Keys Fishing


Thursday, August 30, 2007

Just an Update

Here is what’s happening lately. Fishing, not much, the customers are pretty thin since the kids went back to school. I have been using the time to help start a new business down here selling Tikis and replacement thatch along with some other stuff. Check out the new site at

Involved in the new business is a weekly radio spot on 1300 AM. The “Reelin’ in the Keys” show with Cal Ripkin. We were thinking TV, but they decided I have a face made for radio. The show is fun and I will try to find a web link if anyone wants to listen in.

For fishing reports, the bay is starting to show a few small cobia, but few keepers. Once they get thicker, you need to get your butt down here for some fun and great eating. The Grouper are starting to show on the reef in the yellowtailing areas but that should peak in about six weeks. ‘Tails are a little finicky with the water clear, but to the east a little there are some nice flags being brought to the boat along with a few very sexy mutton snapper and the occasionally keeper grouper.

Offshore is hit or miss. I have been lucky the last couple of trips and caught plenty for dinner. Very few large dolphin are being reported. Some nice blackfin and wahoo are being caught, but not on every trip. Until the water temperature drops a little it will be hard to target much offshore except around the humps.

The ultra-deep droppers are having some success. I don’t do deep drops in two thousand feet of water. If you have an 80 wide and a few sash weights I can take you to a few spots to try it out. Electric reels are definitely in order for this kind of fishing.

Anyway, hopefully I will have better reports soon. Until then tight lines,
Capt. Dallas

Friday, August 24, 2007

Another Day in Paradise

Had a fun trip Friday with some regulars. We found plenty of dolphin for dinner less than fifteen miles off. They bit very well to start but started getting finicky around 1:00. We left the finicky dolphin only to find crystal clear water on the reef so no yellow tails. We caught and release a few short grouper then got rocked up by a big one.

We quit fishing around three and I took them on a tour of likely lobster holes for them to do some bugging. Just a very relaxing trip. The dolphin were caught on light tackle so the crew had a blast.

Right now there is not much going on so I am working on the Conch Tiki project. Check out the website at We still have to get some better pictures loaded, but the project is coming along. I am designing a tiki hut fish cleaning station right now. Plenty of shade and the roof will be water tight. Should be the sharpest looking cleaning table in the Keys.

Enjoy a Marathon Heart of the Florida Keys Fishing Vacation this year.

Capt. Dallas

Friday, August 10, 2007

The Charter Business Thing Again

All right it’s that time of year again. New 2008 boats are hitting the showroom floors so the 2007 demo’s will be available. If you haven’t read the charter investment plan, here is the deal in a nutshell.

Five partners invest in a 26 foot Panga for a charter business. The Panga which gets nearly four miles to the gallon, rides smooth and dry, drafts only 14”of water and happens to look sharp is a perfect boat for the variety of fishing out of Marathon. The partners get use of the boat two weeks each a year for vacation. The rest of the year the boat runs charters to cover the cost of the boat. Every two years the boat is traded in for a new model, so there is always a reliable boat.

Estimated return on the investment ranges from 15% to 30% per year if the investors do their job. Their job is to promote the heck out of the charter business.

Some investors may want to use the boat more than two weeks per year. Not a problem if properly scheduled. That investor just has to kick some money back in the general fund to make it fair for the other investors, about $700 per week.

Rough estimates of total cost and returns a listed in the charter business link. The cost estimates are a little on the high side because of dockage. With a trailer and/or using my dockage which is not much to look at, initial cost can be reduced.

The contact with Cristal Clear Charters is still open plus there are a few others that can be used on a commission basis to book charters. Cay Clubs may be heading south, but CCC’s is hanging in there.

This past charter season was pretty slow. That means the income estimates might be a little high, but the cost of the charters being extremely competitive, I doubt by much.

Judging from the current boat prices, the cash per investor will be between 10and 15 grand for the Angler and 15 to 20 grand for the Andros Panga. I recommend the Angler for the first two years and rolling profit into the Andros in the third year.

With the two year replacement instead of yearly replacement some extra money will need to be held for maintenance and repair.

If you like to fish the Marathon area here is what this works out to if the cost is fifteen grand per investor:

If you rent a 26 foot boat for two weeks a year that is about $3900.00 per year so over three years that’s $11,700 bucks. So even if the charter income stinks, your not really out of that much money anyway. If the charter business makes half of the estimate, you get back your money while still getting the use of the boat. If the charter meets estimates, you make enough cash to pay for the rest of your vacation expenses. So this is not a get rich investment it is a fun vacation investment.

If you own a vacation home in the Keys and try to maintain a boat during the off season, add up your storage and other costs. Then talk to your accountant about potential tax advantages of this deal.

Oh, don’t forget that a charter boat with captain normally has a few numbers or tricks to improve your fish productiveness. You can enjoy fishing the Florida Keys without dealing with the expense of maintaining a boat.

Tight lines,

Capt. Dallas

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Season is Winding Down

Now that the lobster season is getting ready to open, the fishing season for charter captains and guide starts to slow down. Which really doesn't make much sense to me. This is the time of the year when we have some of the best catches. While April and May are known for being peak months for dolphin (mahi mahi), it is July through September that we have the best weather to chase these fish meaning more tuna, wahoo and marlin are caught this time of the year. The Humps are about a half hour closer than normal because you can run faster in the light seas. For those wanting to streach their legs, the Cay Sal bank is accessible for Yellowfin Tuna, Wahoo and other critters if you want to spend a few more bucks on fuel.

On the reef, the flag yellowtail are biting and you have the best chance of catching a more diverse variety of other fishing while stocking the freezer with fresh snapper. Of course there are slow days, but with the light winds, you can normally make quicker runs to find other things to do if one bite is slow.

This is the time of the year to hit the Gulf wrecks for Cobia, Permit and Goliath Grouper for those silly enough to want to tangle with one. The Goliath are catch and release only. Larger fish are not to be lifted out of the water so no more photos with the big girls (thank goodness because those suckers are heavy). Permit are also catch and release only on my boat unless you have a potential record fish. While it is rare, my customers have hooked a potential record or two. In addition, there are a variety of other species including blackfin tuna that might show.

So while the fishing season may be winding down the fishing is not. After the second week in August, after the buggers are gone, is a great time to tangle with some big fish. If you like, you can even add a few Florida Lobster to the box for dinner.

Tight Lines,

Captain Dallas

Monday, July 02, 2007

More Fishing 101

Considering the full moon, we had a good trip yesterday. I was disappointed with the yellowtail bite though. On two of my favorite spots the tails were all mixed up with shorts and barely legals. Normally, we would have plenty of fat 14 to 18 inchers with very few shorts. We could have kept a bunch of 12 1/2 to 13 inchers, but that's like robbing the cradle. Still everybody caught fish and there was enough for dinner with the snake king mackerel thrown in.

The rubble pile was pretty hot but the big fish won. We lost six or eight bigger fish to the wreck and/or toothy critters. The bigger tails were biting when we first got to the rubble pile, but the king mackerel moved in and ruined the tail bite. Still, it was fun hooking up with the Kings even though most of them managed to either bite above the wire leader or got ate by something else. Brandon, boated the King for dinner (about 28 inches) and his brother Dillon managed to get in an 18 inch tail. A big wake broke the anchor loose or we would have stayed longer to try and even up the score with the big critters that were making us look bad.

We missed the current in Hawk Channel so we didn't get any big lane snapper. Still there was plenty of action for about 45 minutes with short red grouper and one just short mutton snapper (Dillon's first which he was pretty proud of).

Anywho, the crew caught fish and learned some new areas to fish and eat here in Marathon.

Tight lines,

Capt. Dallas

Friday, June 15, 2007

So Where's the Gaff?

I have been doing the fishing 101 thing for nearly eight years now out of Marathon. In that time I have gotten pretty good at making do with whatever is at hand to catch fish. While I have a pretty good checklist, sometimes the crews bring so much stuff that I don't get everything. Today, about 12 miles off the beach I noticed that we didn't have a gaff.

About ten minutes later we hook up a thirty pound dolphin. While my angler Troy fights the fish I am trying to figure out just how the heck am I going to get the fish in the boat. I make a tail rope for the fish just in case I can get the fish to play nice.

The fish of course doesn't want to play nice. So I start thinking I am going to have to lip the fish. Normally, I have a pair of pretty heavy gloves in my bag, but since the boat was so overloaded with gear, I left my tackle bag at the dock.

Grabbing a hand towel, I lip my first thirty pound dolphin. This is not a technique I recommend. While it worked, it was not exactly fun. Anyhow, here is a photo of my first bass handled dolphin.

Back at the dock, a buddy uses his Bocagrip to weight the fish. Twenty-nine pounds at the dock. I mention that the Bocagrip could have come in handy. My angler Troy, says, "Oh! I have one of those on the boat."

Oh well, Troy has now ordered a mount for his personal best dolphin which was fifty-seven inches long. Troy seems to have enjoyed fishing the Florida Keys even without a gaff.

Tight lines,

Capt. Dallas

Thursday, June 14, 2007

June So Far Report

It has been a little weird for June so far. The dolphin are more of a challenge than normal. Peanuts are every where, but keepers are tough to find. More of the captains are taking deep drop gear to help ensure no skunk trips. I have been heading to the reef early if the dolphin bite sucks.

On the reef the tails have been biting good if you have a desent current and we have been getting a few nice mutton snapper. So use a little heavier tackle tailing because many of the muttons are hitting the yellowtail baits. With the price of fuel right now I have been steering most of my customers towards reef fishing and keeping an eye offshore.

Some pretty good size Cero mackerel are on the reef so have some short whire leaders if you want mackerel for dinner or fun.

Ballyhoo are showing up in the chum slick most days on the reef. If you cast net a few dozen livies, try slipping off to the color change and do some live bait drifts. A few good dolphin are being picked up this way and even some sailfish.

The grouper bite at Marathon sucks! I am going to have to check out some Bahia Honda numbers to see if they are still around.

Tight lines,


P.S. Big mutton snapper love live ballyhoo. Drop one back in your slick to see if they are chewing.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Finicky Dolphin Bite

The last few days the dolphin bite has been very finicky. It may be due to the wind changing out of the Northwest, or the abnormally high tides, but it has been tough. While there are plenty of big fish out there, they seem to be staying down and moving fast.

Magic floaters have been the ticket for a few captains, but even some great floaters are just not producing. Live pilchards have helped the captains that have them onboard.

On the bright side, the sailfish are biting and the Hawk channel rockpiles are holding nice lane snapper and a few mutton snapper. Yellowtail on the reef are biting, but only well on the out going tide when the water is not too clear.

The big tides are making tarpon fishing at the bridges more of a challenge with all the bay grass and gumbo moving through. The permit bite has been a little hit or miss, but definately worth the effort. Most of the permit on the wrecks are big so make sure your tackle is up to the task.

On the whole the fishing is great if you go with the flow. That is the great thing about Marathon, you have plenty of options.

With any luck, this front will change the dolphin bite around when we get a little Southeast wind. While I would rather be fishing, the front is bringing some much needed rain.

Tight lines,

Capt. Dallas

Monday, May 14, 2007

Is the Camera Really a Jinx?

It is amazing how superstition and fishing get intertwined. The last three trips I have been on, big fish have been hooked and a soon as someone get a camera ready the fish gets off.

Today, my crew hooked up a nice sailfish. We got a great show! This fish was hot and ready to show its stuff. After a couple of tailwalks and a two great flip jumps, I get the camera to make a short video. The fish runs to the boat, make a great head shaking jump and game over.

We weren't fishing for sailfish, just saw an opportunity and jumped on it. Still while the crew and I didn't care, the photos would have been nice.

Then after catching some tails for dinner, we try the permit. One got in the wreck on light tackle, no big deal, but then my customer breaks out a thirty pound test boat rod. We hook a brute! After twenty minutes, the fish is near the surface about twenty yards behind the boat. I turn the camera on, the fish takes offs, the line parts, game over.

My customer's drag was completely smoked. That is why the forty plus pound permit broke the line. Equipment failure or is it the camera curse?

Tight lines,

Capt. Dallas

Sunday, May 13, 2007

May Fishing

Sorry I haven't had a recent post, but I haven't had many trips. This is a weird season for sure. Things are picking up though.

Tarpon are in thick as theives. The night bite is best of course, but mornings are pretty good. Jumped one yesterday on the first drift in Key Weird. We got a few great jumps.

Finally will be doing a little dolphin fishing tomorrow in decent weather for a change and will stop to play with a permit or two later. I have some regulars in town after that so it looks like permit and sharks will be the ticket.

Reports from the other boats are picking up. Dolphin and tuna action is much more consistent, the mutton bite out KW is getting hot, yellowtails are feeding, grouper are a bit slow and more big blue marlin are being spotted.

Tight lines,

Should have a more detailed report tomorrow. Come on down for a fishing vacation in the Florida Keys.

Capt. Dallas

Monday, April 30, 2007

Crazy Fishing Season

This has been the craziest fishing season I have ever seen in the Keys. On the whole, the bite has been good. Still there seems to be two great days and the next is sucky.

That may be due to the winds which have erratic. Customer wise it has been a lot slower than normal. Trips were averaging about half of last year, but started picking up the week before last only to slow down again.

Offshore, the dolphin, tuna and wahoo are getting into high gear. The big hammerheads are moving in so the tarpon bite is getting right. The permit are doing their thing on the wrecks. With the wind laying down, bones on the flats should kick up.

Reef wise, the snapper are starting to be more cooperative, though the grouper bite seems slower than normal. Hawk channel rock piles have been very productive on the windy days when range is limited.

May June and July, are primetime guys. Now that the fish are settling into more consistant patterns, it is time to come on down. If you are planning a trip make sure you book ahead for the offshore boats. If you are looking to save a little cash, check out places like Captain Pips or one of the others with rental boats.

Tight lines,
captain dallas

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Can You Handle a Permit!

My job as a guide is to put you on the fish,your's is to catch them. Fred, found that the job of the angler is not all that easy today.

Fred wanted to tangle with a permit or ten. He had plenty of shots, but not a single fish to the boat. He has a reel to repair after a big fished smoked it and a few stories to tell.

The fish won! Fred didn't lose, he gained a brand new respect for permit. O for ten is part of permit fishing. I have gone 26 for 26 or 0 for ten. That's fishing!

While I would have loved to get a few pics for the blog, you don't boat every world class permit you hook. Even with the thirty pound test tackle that Fred had, it just ain't that easy to bring a 35 plus pound permit to the boat.

I do get a sadistic pleasure out of puting people on fish that can kick their butts! It was a beautiful day and the permit won. Fred, may not have boated a fish, but he was not a loser.

Tight lines,


Friday, April 13, 2007

Time to Test Your Tackle!

May is about the best fishing month of the year. In the Florida Keys, the angling action is hot! For the savvy fisherman targeting, Tarpon, Permit, Dolphin (Mahi Mahi) or Blackfin Tuna, the Florida Keys is the place to be.

Every avid angler knows about tarpon fishing from the Sunday morning outdoors television shows. The big silver kings have their annual bridge convention in the Keys from mid April through June. These aren’t baby tarpon, they are big girls, many over one hundred and fifty pounds. Unlike Boca Grande pass, the tarpon guides in the Keys prefer light tackle on the whole. A hundred plus pound tarpon getting airborne on fifteen to twenty pound test will be a sight few anglers will ever forget. These are all release unless you want to get a keep permit for a big fish. To get a mount for your fish you do not need to kill the fish. Photos and measurements is all that is required.

Permit are pompano on serious steroids! While not as well known to out of state anglers, pound for pound a permit will kick a tarpon’s butt in a light tackle battle. The big permit move to the deep wrecks for their convention around May. On a good day, an angler can sight cast to hundreds of the powerful members of the Jack family. If you hook up a big girl in the forty to fifty pound range, you are looking at 45 minutes to an hour of line stretching on twenty pound test. If you want to tackle a permit or two think about a little gym time before heading down. These fish will wear you out! Catch and release only on my boat if you don’t mind. If you really want to try one for dinner keep a (as in one) smaller fish under thirty pounds. They don’t eat that great and they are worth more swimming.

Big dolphin are called slammers. To qualify for slammer status, the fish has to be over 25 pounds on my boat. I am a little bit sadistic so I fish 15 to 20 pound spinning tackle and 30 pound test trolling tackle for these gorgeous fish. Like tarpon, dolphin get airborne and put on a heck of a show. While plenty of big fish are hooked on the troll, most of the really big dolphin are hooked sight casting on the spinners. For you fly fishermen, they will eat about any big fly. I said big fly, four to six inch streamers, Clousers and even poppers. If you want to try a slammer dolphin on the fly rod, pack a big lunch, not for you, for your captain. You’re going to be busy for a while. Yep, these fish are so pretty you just have to invite a few home for dinner.

Blackfin tuna are a smaller but tasty member of the tuna family. A blackfin over 35 pounds is a hoss that is a perfect match for thirty-pound test tackle. If you want to go lower than thirty pound tackle you better have six hundred yards of line on your reel and pack a huge lunch in case you hook into a thirty plus pounder. While most of the blackfin are found in the deep water, around the Islamarada and Marathon humps, they can be found near the reef in May along with a few wahoo, sailfish and marlin. Anywhere you find a big school feeding, be ready for some big fish feeding on the tasty tuna. You will be bringing some blackfin home for dinner. Your captain is likely to lose a couple in the fish box for his dinner too, by the way, so don‘t get too accurate on your count.

For your Florida Keys fishing expedition there a few hundred captains down here ready to put you on some good fish. There are also quite a few guides like myself that will take a smaller boat and try to put you on most of these fish in a single trip. What I like to call a Marathon slam, tarpon, permit and dolphin, is doable in a single day of fishing. If you think you are ready for a real fishing challenge, then think mid April through June in the Florida Keys.

Tight lines,

Capt. Dallas

Friday, April 06, 2007

Key West Tarpon Bite

The tarpon bite in Key West is heating up! I had a snapper/grouper trip today and we sat there catch and releasing mangs and groups all the while watching the 'poons roll around the boat.

After taking a break to get out of a rain storm, (yeah, we ran back to the bight and hung out shopping until the rain quit), I talked my crew in to trying just a few drifts for tarpon. Third drift we hooked up with one that might go 150. Got a couple of good jumps then she headed to channel marker and got wrapped.
Game over, but the crew had fun. The other boats out of Almost There hung a few. Captain Jeff had an angler on a 125 for two hours before the release. Lucky Bo managed to hook 30 to 50 pounders. He boated two that I know of and had another on.

Any who, the tarpon are biting.

Tight lines

Capt. Dallas

Thursday, April 05, 2007

The Winds are Laying Down

Finally, the winds have laid down and we can get offshore without getting our butts kicked. The full moon killed the dolphin bite yesterday, but the crew had a great time.

We saw plenty of fish, just could not get them to start chewing. Of the four boats I talked to, only one caught a keeper. We saw a couple of billfish, as did the other boats, but not even a sniff.

Now that the moon is getting smaller, things should heat up. The water on the reef has been clear with very little current so the 'tail action is slow. Grouper are biting, but finding a keeper size is tough. You have to hit several spots most days to find one.

Tarpon are showing at the bridge better, so get ready for some action. Permit have been spotty at Marathon, because of the wind, so that should heat up too. Won't be long until they move to the wrecks for spawn.

The boats are getting booked up fast! So plan ahead for your trip. I am sticking to the guide trips until I get the new boat. For you hardy salts, I am working with three or four big boats for offshore in weather. (booking not fishing with them) Check the Native Sun and Best Bet links plus Captain Pips has a 36 footer that is catching fish.

Tight lines,


Monday, March 26, 2007

Trip In the Winds

It was blowing yesterday and it was blowing today. When I got the call from Scott at Almost There for a Tarpon/Permit last night I was flabbergasted! I told Scott I would go, but with winds out of the Northeast at 25 plus knots?

It was an early start for me to get everything ready for the seven o'clock departure from Cow Key Marina. The best shot for tarpon under the conditions was the Demolition Island area in my opinion. Actually, the best shot in these winds was the marinas! That would be cheating though.

Luckily, my crew knew that the conditions were less than optimum. I told them I would give it my best shot. If no tarpon/permit we would at least stretch a line.

After a couple hours of fishing, I thought I might have to eat my words. I was not slow from seven to nine, it was dead! With the wind against the current, I settle on a section of Calda Channel where we could anchor and fish out of the back of the boat.

Calda Channel can be loaded with fish, but I hate fishing with all the boat traffic. With the wind howling, traffic was bearable. There was enough activity from the variety of jacks and snapper to keep everyone entertained while we waited on the big one.

Unfortunately, the tarpon that normally show, just to check things out, had made other plans. The flats were totally dead with everthing being blown to the west with the Wind. We did hook four or five mystery fish, (ones that got away)that gave the crew a feel of what big fish are all about. The first, my angler palmed the spool on an unknown brute that kicked in the afterburners. Snap! Game over.

The second was probably a big grouper, not the fish of choice for twelve pound test.

The third, my lady angler hooked into a nice shark, that would be a blacktip or spinner. Before I could start the boat to chase, a hundred yards of line was stripped off the reel and contacted the barnicle encrusted channel marker. Snap! Game over. That fish was hauling hiney!

The last, my angler did everything right. Great drop back, patiently waited for the fish to turn, solid hook set and fish on! This fish ran up current with a quick but steady pace. I'm thinking Cobia as I start the boat. Just as I get ready to turn the anchor loose, the hook comes unbuttoned!

Thankfully, we had plenty of action with good sized Jack Crevelle, large blue runners, lane snapper, mangrove snapper and a six pound or so bonnet head shark my lady angler had a blast catching on light tackle.

We finished the day with one shot at a tarpon in the twenty to thirty pound range. The baby tarpon looked at the pinfish, flipped me a fin and swam away. It was a disappointing day for me with five lost chances. The crew had a ball and will come back in April when the tarpon are more consistent.

So why would I tell you about a mediocre trip? With twenty-five knots winds gusting to near thirty, where else could you get five shots in a 21 foot bay boat? That is one thing that is great about the Keys. There is always somewhere to fish when the wind blows, If you just give it a shot.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

March Winds! It Sucks When They Blow!

Only managed a few trips last week with the winds. When they lay down I should finally get busy. Fishing wise, things are looking good. Saw a few more tarpon at the bridge. The full migration isn't here yet, but some have shown. There is a decent sailfish push off Key Weird that should move to Marathon. We might end up with a short but sweet sail bite soon.

The stream is in close right now, so the big slammer dolphin will be in close. There have been plenty of blackfin tuna around if the wind will let you fish. The reef has been getting much more consistant. Nice yellowtails, grouper and a mutton here and there. Most muttons are still deep, but should move in closer.

Hawk Channel rock piles are holding good size mangroves and lane snapper. A keeper grouper or two can be found if you get to the spot first. There are even a few big kings and keeper cobia in the channel.

So get your butt down here and go fishing!

Tight lines,

Capt. Dallas

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

New Boat Review: Cape Horn 21 Center Console

I have been fishing. The reports are like a broken record though with mackerel and snapper out back and at the bridges. So I thought I would give you a little boat review.

The Cape Horn 21 is great example of a well laid out center console. Cape Horn has always built a solid boat but now they are refining their design to improve fish ability with a cleaner look. One new feature is the Plexi-glass electronics box in the console. A great idea because the GPS and/or depth sounder can be mounted where they are easily viewed and accessed. When the electronics are mounted in tee top electronics boxes they are often difficult to see and adjust. The dash mount location is perfect, providing for a clean look.

The Cape Horn is a non-liner boat. With out a liner there is less weight and few parts and hardware to foul up. The lack of a liner can give a boat a flimsy flexibly at the gunwales. Not the case with the Cape Horn. A foam filled gunwale bolster, for lack of a better word, stiffens the hull along with the unique rub rail flare design. The rub rail flair is a 1 ½” counter lever molded into the gunwale cap around the boat. In the past, vertical ribs were added for stiffening the hull. While effective, the ribs were dirt catchers and toe knockers. Now the design is clean, clear and functional. This boat is built like that outhouse you have heard about.

Everything on this boat is through bolted except the deck mounted components for obvious reason. That includes the through bolted rub rail. That means less repairs in the future. The factory wiring is cleanly installed. It would be nice to have a little larger fuse block in the console. The standard fuse block has only one unused slot and one unused accessory switch (two without the spreader lights).

The 21 comes standard with 40 gallon circular live well in stern. This is becoming a must have feature in many areas if you are to have a successful fishing trip. Other standard features are: 10 Year Hull Warranty, Lifetime Transom Warranty, T-top w/electronics box, (2) spreader lights, fiberglass or aluminum leaning post, leaning post back rest, raw water wash down, Richie F-50 compass, console cushion, swim ladder, center mount hydraulic steering, bilge pump, low profile bow rail, 129 gallon fuel capacity, bronze thru hulls, 6’ - 300 qt. insulated fish box, 10 rod holders, large console storage and self-bailing cockpit. The rental version I test drove was delivered without the raw water wash down, spreader lights and T-top electronics box.

After taking the motor, a 2007 Yamaha 250 four stroke, through the five hour break-in, here is the performance scoop. 38 knots at 6000 RPM based on the GPS. At 4400 RPM, a comfortable 27 Knots. Tweaking the prop can improve performance. Depending on sea conditions and load, this should translate to about 2 miles per gallon. While the 21 is not a speed burner, this is good, economical performance for a 22 degree dead rise, deep V hull design. That deep V means a smooth ride in choppy seas. The bow flair and counter lever rub rail design provide for a dry ride.

There are not many negatives to report for the Cape Horn 21. The plastic hatch covers are one. While they are functional, they are prone to damage from ultra-violet light. From experience I know they tend to break. The anchor locker is a pain with its vertical hatch and the fish box hatches are a bit small for big fish.

The 21 has to be one of the easiest cleaning boat I have ever been aboard. The unique interior non-skid finish and lack of many hard corners makes this the case. The fish box can be a challenge to clean with the small hatches. The Cape Horn 21 is a solidly built fishing machine well worth a look if love to fish and hate boat cleaning.

Come on down and try fishing the Florida Keys in this Cape Horn for a fantastic fishing vacation.

Tight lines,

Capt. Dallas

Friday, March 02, 2007

Just and Update

Fishing has finally picked up. Haven’t been doing much sexy fishing offshore. Mainly fishing 101 trips for small boat renters. Josh, a former mate of mine had a great swordfish trip a couple of nights ago. Captain Jeff has been doing pretty good on tarpon at the bridge over the last week. The fishing the bay is a little inconsistent but the mackerel, seatrout and mangrove snapper still show most of the time. Sailfishing is almost dead off Marathon. Not completely dead, but close. A better bet has been anchoring in the 80 to 100 foot range and ballooning a live bait while doing some ‘tailing.

In case you were wondering, the charter boat investment deal is still alive. With the slow start to the season I let it slide for a while. The numbers have changed due to the late start and the 2007 model Panglers. There is also and longer term option being discussed for tax purposes. The longer term will most likely include the Andros 26 footer and more equipment for depreciation. This would be a $60 to $100 thousand investment with a four to five year term. The CPA’s will have to work out the details, but the 30 plus percent tax bracket guys will benefit. I not sure how the end game will work just yet but a trust that takes the profits and invests in local real estate seems to be likely.

The regular fractional ownership has two serious and a couple of maybes investors lined up. As I said with the late start, the numbers have changed. Still it is a win-win situation for regular vacationers that like to fish.

Take it easy and tight lines

Capt. Dallas

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Hey! Take a kid fishing!

Doing the fishing 101 guide trips is a lot of fun for me. Yesterday I had a crew from Indiana. Three generations, Grandpa, the sons and the grandkids. The grandkids were 4 to almost 5 years old. Nobody was really sure how the kids would take to fishing so we stayed pretty close to the house just in case.

We started with a little bayside mackerel fishing. When I am doing the guide trips I don’t give out any of my honey holes, I show the crew how to find their own. So we shot back in the bay and I describe to the crew what to look for when hunting for a productive spot. While we are running I told the crew about how the water color changes with the type of bottom and which type of bottom you look for depending on the fish you want.

We hit a nice a nice grass area about 7 miles from the dock and I stop the boat, a 26 foot Triton they rented. I explain once again what I’m looking for in a mackerel area, (vacationers are always excited the first time out so you need to repeat a few times). We put the chum bag over and they put a few lines out with dead shrimp on for bait. After mentioning that they didn’t need any weight, just a short wire leader, the crew takes off their heavy sinkers.

After waiting for what seemed an eternity, (6 minutes) we finally had a fish on. I watched the fish, a decent Spanish mackerel run around for a few seconds before I announced “fish on.” Dad helped Colin, reel in the first fish of their Keys fishing vacation on the rental boat.

I took all of an hour to catch all the mackerel they wanted then we headed in for an early lunch and potty break. After reloading the bait tank with live shrimp and a few pinfish we hit the Seven Mile Bridge. The keeper snapper fishing was a bit slow, but there was plenty of just short mutton snapper, black and red grouper and jacks to stretch the lines.

The crew was kind of surprised when I said it was about time to head back to the dock but the kids where ready for a break. For me it was a slow trip. About a dozen keepers and maybe forty releases. One big mystery fish, probably a shark, was the only hoss of the trip. The crew was more than happy with the results and with the intro to Keys fishing are sure to do well on their own for the few days.

So if you are coming to the Keys, bring the kids and hire a guide for the first day out. Don’t wait for the last day like so many vacationers tend to do. There are plenty of places where kids of all ages can have fun catching.

Until next time,
Tight lines.

Capt. Dallas

Monday, February 05, 2007

Iguana the Other White Meat

South Florida’s stock of iguanas has grown rapidly over the last decade. These tropical lizards were introduced to South Florida as pets. The iguanas escaped or released from captivity have managed to propagate with amazing effectiveness. There are several varieties a feral iguana, but the green iguana is most common and the tastiest.

Some areas of Florida have sufficient stocks of iguanas to allow avid sportsmen the opportunity to bag a new species. The iguanas called “pollo del arbor” by local Hispanic groups, or chicken of the tree in English, do have a remarkable similarity in flavor to poultry.

With the newness of iguana recreational harvesting, the Florida Wildlife Commission has yet to set bag limits and methods of legally taking the reptilian delicacy. While hunting methods have been approved by a few municipalities fishing methods of harvest are recommended for highly populated areas.

Iguanas are by and large vegetarian in nature and have exceptional color vision. The most effective color patterns for iguanas are bright red to hot pink. Hibiscus flowers are popular as natural bait. Tomato wedges and red bell pepper slices are also popular.

Fly fishermen are having good success with Mylar rose petal patterns with red buckskin streamers also being productive. When fly-fishing for iguana in dense brush a tippet over 15 pounds is recommended. Dry flies are most effect.

Iguana trapping is employed legally in many areas of South Florida. Live traps are recommend and have to be checked once in a 24 hour period. Snares and metal leg traps are legal but not recommended to avoid catching neighborhood cats and raccoons. Traps should only be set during daylight hours when the iguanas feed.

Concerns by various animal rights groups have led to strict standards for dispatching your catch in some counties. Freezing as a method of euthanasia is generally accepted as humane. In the field, a large cooler of heavily brined ice is sufficient. Be sure to have a solid locking mechanism for the cooler lid.

Iguana meat is considered a delicacy with meat prices as high $15.00 per pound. With iguanas being feral game in South Florida, sale of iguana meat is lawful. Once you have had a taste of fresh fried iguana it is doubtful that you will wish to sell any surplus meat. Iguana freeze well and keeps for up to six months.

Iguana sport fishing is great fun way to reduce iguana over-population in urban or rural areas. If you would like more information on iguanas please visit the University of Florida’s website Photo by Thomas Wright, University of Florida.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

A Little Fishing 101

After Sunday and Monday’s blow with the cold front today was a great day to be on the water. The bite left a little to be desired, but such is life sometimes after a good front. Jill and Jim Robbins staying at Captain Pips Marine and Hideaways was my crew. I was hired for a little fishing 101.

The Robbins are staying at Pips for a couple of weeks and wanted a little local knowledge about the fishing and the boating. When you are unfamiliar with an area and in a rental boat local knowledge is a good thing.

The Robbins were looking for snapper for dinner. We started the morning on the reef in 30 foot of water searching for Yellowtails. The ‘tail bite was just about dead on the incoming tide with clean water. A couple of nice Hogfish volunteered for dinner and a few short grouper volunteered for photo ops. Several fish of size and one nice flag yellowtail managed to escape on the 10-pound test spinning outfits.

The bridge was slow as well but there were a few more photo ops and a couple of volunteers for dinner. Not every day is front-page news but when you catch dinner and learn to catch plenty more it’s not bad.

Tight Lines,
Capt. Dallas

Thursday, January 25, 2007

DIY Boating Tips: The Joy of 5200.

DIY Tips for Boat Owners: The Joy of 5200

Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing (3M) manufacturers a lot of great products but for the average boat owner none is better that 5200. This is the boat owner’s version of duct tape. Know it, love it and you won’t get enough of it.

Any properly fitted through hull fitting will be bedded in 5200. Silicon chalk and boats just don’t mix. So give that silicon crude non-boating neighbor. After you have spent a few dozen years working on boats you will learn that or you can just take it from a pro. This is a proven product for many marine applications.

Bedding through-hull fittings is the most common use for 5200. A through-hull fitting or a fitting that passes through the boat’s outside to its inside for you lubbers has to be watertight. 5200 applied to both the outside and the inside of the fitting makes that happen. A ¼ inch bead on both sides does the job if you drilled the hole right. And if you are drilling a hole in your hull you should have measured thrice and drilled once.

This magic chalk is great for bedding every thing but your wife. Screws in fiberglass tend to back out. A dap of 5200 helps stop that from happening. Take the offending screw out and put a dab in the hole and a dab on the screw and reinsert.

Does your topside stainless hardware tend to bleed rust? Get the 5200! Pull the hardware and put a thin coat of the magical 5200 on it where the hardware meets the fiberglass. Put a touch on the bolts near the base of the cleat or whatever is bleeding, then reinstall. Don’t worry about the 5200 that’s all over everything! I’ll tell you how to fix that in a sec.

Here’s another great 5200 tip. That bilge pump you have to replace and you don’t have all the fancy heat shrink tubing. Guess what? Put a dab of 5200 in a wire nut and wire it up! The connection will last longer than the bilge pump. Marine surveyors don’t like it, but I had one 5200 modified wire nut last three years in the bilge. Heck it was still fine the dang pump bit the bullet.

Now that you have tried 5200 you know the one draw back. All you have to do is look at it and it’s all over you and everything else. Ha! I laugh at that problem. Get the WD 40 out and spray it on the errant 5200 and wipe it away. Not only will WD 40 clean it up, its good for your sensitive sun burnt complexion.

One last tip, spray a little WD 40 in the end of the 5200 tube before replacing the cap. The tube will stay fresh much longer. When you find another 5200 project, just trash the first little bit out of the tube and go to it!

Until next tip, tight lines and good boating.



Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Bananas and Karma: The Truth Behind the Myth

Bananas are considered bad luck on a fishing boat by many captains. There is a basis for this belief. It may be a myth, but it can influence your catch.

The bad luck theory of bananas is derived from the misfortune of stevedores unloading banana boats from Central America. The cargo most often contained biting spiders that not only were painful, but occasionally deadly. Stevedores considered it bad luck to be assigned to unloading a banana boat. This is the truth behind the myth.

The effect that this superstition has on anglers is real. As you know from reading the first installment in this fishing clinic, Karma is very important. The thought of bad luck causes an imbalance in the captain and/or crew’s Ying and Yang. The imbalance results in a poor catch. Bananas are bad luck only for those who believe they are bad luck. However, one superstitious crewmember can affect the entire boat’s Karma.

Many boats product fine catches with bananas onboard. Typically these boats are yellow and have names like Chiquita. By over playing the banana myth, Karma on these boats is maintained even with superstitious crewmembers onboard.

The belief that the smell or oil in bananas causes the bad luck is totally false. This theory has been proven incorrect. Captains have used banana skins for lures and caught fish on them.

The impact that the banana myth has had on fishermen highlights the important lesson in The Zen Of Fishing. Maintaining proper balance while fishing requires an uncluttered mind. Superstition clutters the mind, creating imbalance. Clear your mental slate before fishing.

Counter to the bad luck superstition, good luck thoughts can also create imbalance. A favorite lure can often become a good luck charm. Losing that lure creates bad luck. An angler knowing the Zen of fishing will avoid good or bad luck superstitions.

Too many thoughts make being one with the fish more difficult. Remember the primitive brain is the key to harmony. Simplify your thoughts to simplify oneness.

In this respect fishing is much like golf. If you look off the tee towards the out of bounds markers, the chance of hitting the ball out of bounds increases. A good golfer knows to focus on the target, address the ball, clear your mind and hit the ball. Never over think while you are fishing or playing golf.

If you are having difficulty obtaining oneness due to a cluttered mind, remember that a cold beer can provide temporary balance. Do not over use beer! The goal is becoming in touch your inner fish without artificial means.

Now that we have examined the impact of superstition on Zen of fishing, we will turn our attention to the art of fishing. The simple elegance of merging art and Zen is one of the finest lessons any fisherman can experience.

Friday, January 19, 2007

The Zen of Fishing

Part one

While there may be an art and even science to fishing Karma is the most important element.

Great fishermen get shutout at times and rookies sometimes catch the biggest fish. All the science and art of fishing cannot over come luck. Get your luck back by adjusting your personal Zen.

Fish are not the sharpest tacks in the box. They have little more than a brain stem that takes them through life. Breading, feeding and survival for fish is all based on primitive instincts. While some fish may learn basic things, that behavior is due to primitive conditioned behavior. Just like Pavlov’s dog. To increase your odds, use your primitive brain. Be one with the fish. Use art and science to prepare for fishing, but use Zen when fishing.

Ying and Yang: Proper balance is important. If Ying out weighs Yang the fish sense the imbalance. Most fishermen have noticed that fish tend to bite after they opened a fresh beer. At the moment you open the beer, your focus has changed placing balance in your thoughts. The thought of that ice cold refreshing elixir wipes your mental slant clean of impurity. This oneness with your inner self is triggers universal harmony. You are one with your inner fish.

The same is true with other basic instincts. Open a sandwich, doze off or even take a leak, fish will feel the oneness with basic nature. Think of the purity of thought at these times and train yourself to become one. While drinking plenty of beer and frequent urination go hand in hand to produce a fine catch. Strive for the satisfaction of catching without the use of alcoholic trickery.

This is not to say that you should not have beer. Just limit your consumption to improve your ability maintain balance. Depending on your drinking prowess, less than a twelve pack per person is recommended for a day’s fishing. Over that and you may lose your oneness, that critical balance.

Remember these key points:

Purely their primitive brain drives fish feeding activity. While they are always in schools, they take the short bus. Fish should never outsmart you, or at least you should never admit to it.

True balance comes from the primitive brain. Here is where all life shares commonality. Find your primitive self and you will find fish.

Basic instinctive activity on your part produces temporary oneness. The use of alcohol to obtain oneness may lead to the loss of balance. It is best to train your mind to obtain oneness.

A good training aid is Kung Fu re-runs. Just as Kane had to find his inner oneness, so do you Grasshopper. The goal is to snatch dinner from the sea, not a pebble from the hand. Branding your forearms is optional.

This is but the first in a series of online fishing clinics. Next we will explore, Bananas and Karma: The Truth behind the Myth.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Practical Jokes in the Keys

Sorry I have neglected the blog. Not much going on, just fixing boats. So maybe a little funny story.

Several years ago I had the privilege of working with a young Canadian man. John John had just return to the US after searching for gold in the Peruvian jungles for five years. This was in 2002 after the market crash. JJ’s nest egg was cracked in the falling market so he had to go back to work.

JJ was a nice guy with a bit of an offbeat personality. He mentioned that he was a lot more laid back than he once was due to a variety of jungle medications that he had used in Peru. Jeff, a good friend of mine, and I enjoyed JJ’s tales of the jungle.

Jeff and I were having a cold one afternoon when JJ sat down and started talking. JJ was concerned about premature hair loss. While he was rambling on about losing his hair, Jeff and I just kept drinking. We kind of enjoyed the fact that JJ was taking over the conversation giving us a bit of a break.

Then JJ mentioned that a Peruvian Shaman he had met in the jungles told him there was a cure for baldness. Per the Shaman, if you take the urine of a child under 6 months of age and sprinkle it on your head, hair loss stops. The only bad thing JJ said was you have to keep doing it all the time.

I had been fishing that day and brought a nice Sea Trout for dinner. For some reason, I told JJ that there was something in Sea Trout slime that stopped hair loss. Jeff, not missing a thing, mentioned that he had heard that as well.

I went into great detail of how the fresh skins had to be placed on the hair over night. That the use of a shower cap to hold the skins in place was required. And while I wasn’t positive, washing your hair prior to application and not after was recommended.

Jeff agreed adding that combing the wet hair away from the balding area before application improved performance. It was the scalp after all that needed the treatment.

JJ was very thankful for our invaluable advice and inquired as were to obtain the fish skins. I mentioned that he was in luck, though a rare catch in the Keys, I had caught one that morning. I dug out the skins and JJ went off to his house.

Jeff and I sat there nursing a beer not saying anything. After ordering another round, Jeff asked if I thought JJ would do it. I said I was sure he would and we left it at that.

The next morning, JJ caught up to us and said that the fish skin treatments seemed to be working. I told JJ that it was a little early, but I did think there might be a little improvement. This went on for several days. Each day JJ was more convinced there was new hair.

After five days, JJ caught up to us and was beaming! He was positive we had discovered a new hair loss prevention formula. He speculated for hours over which ingredient in the fish slime might be the active one. He felt that there was a potential business there and that he may be able to obtain venture capital for the start-up investment. JJ wanted to isolate the active ingredient because after five days the skins were really starting to stink.

Another friend of ours happened upon the conversation. He looked at JJ and told him we were just playing a trick on him. As JJ defended his research on fish slim hair re-growth to our other friend, Jeff finally lost it and with beer blasting from nose started laughing.

It was over. JJ finally trashed the smelly fish skins his hopes dashed. Like I said, I rarely play practical jokes. That is probably a good thing. It was nice to know that at least one Peruvian Shaman has a humorous side too.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

A Backcountry Half-day with Photos!

Sunday was a beautiful day to be on the water. The fish we were looking for didn’t show, but we got our lines stretched some anyway. For bigger fish all I could come up with was one nice size Black tip shark that was fun on 12-pound test. We had one more shot on the half-day but didn’t get a hook-up.

There was plenty of mangrove snapper to play with while we waited for a big girl to bite. The mangs only weighed in the one to two pound range, but they were hungry. We released around 30 keepers in two hours. The good news is that I now have the loan of a camera.

The photos are of one of my favorite Key West backcountry areas. Even with a slow bite like we had Sunday, it’s hard not to have a good time.

Tight lines,

Monday, January 01, 2007

Blogging the Florida Keys With Captain Dallas

This blog started as a way to get my name out to my old fishing buddies. Since I move around a bit, job wise, they have had a tough time finding me, but now the blog is really helping out. Getting a blog or Website to work its way to the top of the Google search page requires a lot of content.

Since the wind has been blowing like crazy for almost a week, I thought I would write a little article on how to get to the top of the search engine listings.

Key phrases are the ticket with tons of content listing alternate related terms. My main goal was for people to find me. Luckily Dallas is a pretty unique name. That makes life simpler. However, there is a big city that has that name. Captain Dallas, helps get more to the point. That’s great, but there was a pretty good movie called Alien that had a character called Captain Dallas. Boy was getting past Capt. Dallas from Alien tough.

Capt. Dallas of the movie didn’t fish much, so fishing with Capt. Dallas makes it easy for googlers to find me. So people can search Capt. Dallas fishing, fishing Capt. Dallas, captain dallas fishing or any of those combinations and get my stuff first on the search engines.

Back to Alien, I pretty much figured there was no way I could get past the fictional captain dallas. Wrong, it was possible. While the movie Dallas is much more popular than I am, he doesn’t get written about as much as I do. Because I sign my blog posts with Capt. Dallas or captain dallas or even captdallas, I get listed pretty high in the search engines. This explains why some of you don’t think I know how to sign my own name. It is an evil plan to rank higher in the cyber-verse.

So in case any of you guys want to see anything I have written recently you can find it pretty quick with a search. Since I write for Associated Content, I use the penname captdallas2. If you search that penname you will find everything I have written anywhere on the Internet. Not that anything I wrote is particularly good, some of it is OK.

Now if any of you guys are into blogging, you might want to use this key word stuff to optimize your search engine performance. While you probably won’t make any big bucks, you can actually make a little pocket change with your blog. The neat thing is you can make money online without selling anything.

If you have a hobby you are passionate about, you can write your views on anything related to that topic and people will read it. If you write a lot of content on the subject. The better you write and the more you write, then the more people will read. Those little ads on the page are AdSense advertisements that people may click on and that is were the money comes into play. The more they click, the more you get paid.

AdSense aligns the ads on your page to the topics you write about in your blog. If you are into paintball for example, that is what the ads will be about. So write about differ paintball equipment and parks and you will get related ads. The more information you provide, the better shape your blog will be in.

None of this happens overnight. It takes time to build the content and for the search engines to find your content. This isn’t a bad thing for most bloggers. It gives you plenty of time to build content. It also gives you plenty of time to improve your writing skills.

This article has absolutely nothing to do with fishing in the Florida Keys, but if you are one of my regular readers it is something you should think about. Blogging can be a lot of fun. If you get into, you can even make a little cash. It is a great way to promote anything you want to promote.

So give blogging a shot sometime and see how you like it.

Tight lines,
Capt. Dallas, the one that fishes.