Thursday, December 27, 2012

Spanish Mackerel Adventure with Craigs List

This year's Craigs list passenger was Mike from some place that gets cold in winter.  With calm weather and volunteer kid watchers, even Carol was able to come out and play.

Carol, who I recently introduced to the joys of gas station cuisine  Dion's Crispy Chic fried chicken, shows that she can catch fish too.

With the full moon and Bay Shrimp running, the bite took a while to get going and lively shrimp where the bait of choice for the Spanish.  Normally any old bait will do, but they were very picky eaters with all the shrimp cocktail on the menu.

Most folks seem to have survived the holiday feasting both on the ocean and in the neighborhood.  Craigs List Mike, a former fishing show host, seems to have inspired the crew to more ambitious culinary mackerel adventures than Porky's Bay Side Smoked Mackerel dip.  Fish Cakes do seem to be in the dining future for a crew staying at KCB.  Between Dion's Fried Chicken and Spanish Mackerel several ways, Chicago Joe's crew is getting pretty Keysie.

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 24, 2012


Today was a quick trip to the Bay to catch a mess of Spanish Mackerel with the part of Joe's crew that rare venture out on the boat.  Joey is holding one of the usual suspects and Porky's Bay Side converted 20 pounds of the Spanish fillets into smoked fish dip just like magic.  Another 5 or 10 pounds of fillets are likely to become fish cakes.   With cousin Frank being in culinary school I am curious what he comes up with.

The renewed Seven Mile Grill is open with a new look outside,
and inside, well except for a few things that didn't change.  Like those gorgeous Croissant Rolls in the the back :)

Tomorrow will be another fishing day with a little trip to Bahia Honda planned if the weather holds.

Merry Christmas and happy fishing guys!


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, December 23, 2012

The Gang is Back in Town

Chicago Joee and the whole gang are back for this year's Christmas holidays fishing vacation.  We managed a short half day yesterday, but it was still  chilly and windy.  Plenty of fish, but not much in bragging size.  Today we tried to get a few snapper that are photo worthy.


This father son pair of Mangrove Snapper are pretty photogenic.  Not as many as I would have liked, but good quality fish.  The Bay Side Spanish Mackerel with Black Tip shark expedition is planned for the AM.

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 12, 2012

Sinking Feeling

This is supposed to be a post on some kick butt reef fishing during some of the most beautiful December fishing weather I can remember, but the boat tried to sink.

No, I was not on the boat.  I was not near the boat.  The boat and I have never met, the owner of the boat called me in the AM with the "Houston! We have a problem.", voice.  I haven't heard back from the owner, but sink the boat was at the dock, that is understandable.

News  Well, I start tomorrow as the assistant to the assistant to the dock master at Pancho's Fuel Dock.  I have been thoroughly trained in sticking the fuel tanks, checkout on the cash register and have new ice basket fetching shoes.  Some folks think I may even have some clue what I am doing, which is a good thing I hear.  It is a two day a week gig so I am scheduling guide trips round Thursdays and Fridays.  I only have a few conflicts so far.

More news  The Seven Mile Grill, under new management  is scheduled to reopen in a grand way around the 15th.  That is a secret though, so don't tell nobody.  I hear that I will be one of the official tasters and will report on that when available.

Even more news  Harbor Point Marine which had a higher end rental boat business for a while before it went under is no longer under.  That is also under new management.   I will make a post on the new operation once I actually see the new operation.

It is mighty nice reporting on openings instead of closing.

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, November 12, 2012

Smoked Mackerel


Yes, it is that time of year again, Smoked Mackerel time!  Mrs. Lisa shows off one of her first of the day from Marathon's Bay Side.  On the whole, the bite was a little slow, but there was more than enough action and adventure when the Black Tip sharks crashed the party.  Some very respectable sized Black Tips as well, with one brute that push 100 pounds pretty hard.

The crew manage to come close to filling the fish box with healthy size Spanish and a good number of Yellow Jacks.  While not everyone's favorite, Yellow Jack can taste just as good as they fight.


We are watching the winds to see if we can plan a trip to the reef in a couple days.  So I should have another report pretty soon.

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, November 09, 2012

Iguana the Another White Meat Adventures



My first Iguana the Another White Meat post gets quite a bit of attention.  While the local rules, regulations and sympathies tend to favor the reptilian invasive species, Puerto Rico tends to side more on the  native species that Iguana tend to displace.  Matt Davis, offers Iguana Safaris in Puerto Rico where you can be one with suburban nature in a tropical setting and enjoy fresh Iguana for dinner and even have Iguana meat shipped to your door.



As you can see, Matt and crew do a fine job of cleaning your catch.  Matt also has all those silly permits, licenses and certifications required to humanly dispatch and process not only Iguana but Caiman.


Caiman are a miniature version of Alligator like reptiles also found in the islands.   Caiman taste like gator, BTW.

Matt can even handle pretty large orders for folks looking for Iguana or Caiman meat if you live in an area you are not constantly tripping over exotic invasive reptiles.

Matt's e-mail address is dvsdavis84@yahoo.com   Just mention Capt. Dallas and Matt will do his best show you a good Iguana/Caiman adventure in his corner of Paradise.

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, November 05, 2012


Miss Penny fights Amberjack.


Miss Penny's significant Fireman Erin other shows off his small Amberjack.

Yes, the bragging fish were slow today, but a fishing 101 starts with not tearing up the boat, digging out the right gear and taking a tour of fishing spots and watering holes.  There were quite a few snapper, mainly Mangroves that didn't get photos plus some of the usual suspects.;  Anywho, Fireman Erin now is comfortable operating a 26 foot twin engine boat upon the local Marathon waters after a bit of a whirlwind tour of the reef, patches, rockpiles and bay.

About time?  Heck yeah!  With all the wild and crazy stuff going on else where, Marathon is the place to be.

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, September 26, 2012

Seven Mile Grill Changing Owners

The Seven Mile Grill is changing hands.  Bill and Shirley Scott fell like retiring so they are.  For a few days the grill will be closed while the paperwork is finished.

Whenever an Iconic Marathon dining establishment changes hands rumors run rampant.  Kinda fun to listen to the peanut gallery guess what's happening.  What is really happening is a business transaction which is a lot like selling a boat, the second best day for the sellers and the first best day for the buyers.

Anyway, I am stocked up on hot sauce and malt vinegar for the next twenty years as the food inventory has to be reduced to simplify the closing.

The new owners will be moving in soon so we can find out who has jobs and who has to look for jobs.  I imagine Michele will be returning to work.  Fonzy is thinking about a change.  I may have to start paying for coffee :)  Time will tell.

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, September 07, 2012

Pretty Day Pretty Bad Pictures


That was supposed to be a fantastic picture of a school of yellow tail snapper nearly eating out of the chum bag.  It is instead a crappy picture of glare off the starboard engine cowling.  Another picture of Mr. C showing off one of the 'Tails he caught got messed up in the editing process.

It did turn out clear enough that Mr. C can prove that he did catch fish.

The 'Tails where leagal but on the smallish size for this fishing 101 trip.  In fac there were so many 'tails every where we went that we only managed on mangrove snapper in spite of seeing them on most of the spots.


Anywho, Mr. C has fish for dinner and we have a little extra stuff to put on the get ready to fish list since we both forgot our cast nets for the ballyhoo that were everywhere.  It was a beautiful day on the water and Mr. C seemed pretty happy.

If you can break away from the grind plan on a little fishing in the Florida Keys. Join us for charter fishing, fishing guide trips or our fishing 101 so you can fish on your own with better success.

Oh, if you do, remind me to clean the lens once and a while.

Tight lines,
Capt. Dallas

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Still Here

Tropical storm Issac was bad for business but not too bad other wise.  My RV sustained nearly $5.00 work of damage due to the wind and about $50 worth of damage from me trying to stop the $5.00 worth of damage.


With the storm past, fishing should be outstanding since blows tend to fire thing up.  I am not sure if my Labor Day Weekend trips are still on or not, but should they be, then I will have some reports.  This week even the paper didn't have reports since the weather shut things down.



Tom's Mangrove Snapper from before the blow has turned into a fairly popular photo.  The Keynoter online has it on their August 22nd fishing page.  It is pretty rare for me to remember to take a photo much less take one that actually turns out decent.

Anywho, the winds have laid down so if you can sneak down for the weekend, give me a shout.

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, August 10, 2012

Grant with is first Goliath Grouper about 60 pounds - just a baby :)

Joe Got a Kick out Watching Grant get his Workout

No, Tom's arms are not that long.  Nice Mangrove

Guy with a nice 22 inch red grouper

Not a monster but a tasty keeper. 
Yes, fishing is still slower than normal.  Fishing on the full moon didn't help.  There are plenty of fish with generally gin clear water.  If you happen to actually find not gin clear water and get a current not running up your anchor line, the fishing is better.  Today we had good conditions long enough to get a taste of what the fishing should be like.

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, July 11, 2012

Maybe Normal has Returned?

Chatting with some buddies there seems to be some return to normal fishing conditions.  Quite a few respectable dolphin and a few Wahoo have hit the dock.  While I have a weather eye out for the swirl that is in the Gulf, there are a few customers in town and I may be out Friday for an eye witness fishing report.  With Bug season starting soon, I was a little surprised by the number of calls I have had for the next few weeks for guide trips.  The weird fishing conditions had my phone ringing pretty good at the end of last month, but the better weather didn't match the vacation/ day off schedules, so no fishing.

One of the guys scheduling a trip mentioned that fishing up his way has been a little off this year, so I don't feel that most anglers should take it to heart if things are not like normal.  The warmer than normal water temperatures early seem to have gotten the fish all frisky for spawning a little prematurely.  That's my story and I am sticking to it :)

Some of the seasonal regulars have taken my advice and shifted to more laid back fishing instead of burning fuel chasing fish offshore.  They have been bragging about very respectable mangrove snapper at and near the bridges.  Also the guys that I took to the patches in Hawk Channel and the inside reef have been crowing a bit when the weather has let them get out there.   They did listen when I mentioned that you can trailer boats to different spots when the weather picks up and find other spots, so the Old Wooden Bridge Fish Camp boat ramp did get a few extra visitors last week.  BTW, the Content Keys area is a short run from the OWB and has fine fishing and great scenery.  There were even a few that opted for the Pizza fishing special.  That's fishing the Old Wooden Bridge while munching on a No Name Pub Pizza.  So there is always some spot down here to wet a line.

The game plan for the next trip is more of the local basics, but it the weather holds, I should get a good crew for some Gulf Wreck fishing which can be pretty awesome.  Until then,

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 27, 2012

Getting up to Speed

As some of you may know, there has been a tropical storm Debbie in the Gulf of Mexico.  Debbie has made fishing conditions less than perfect meaning I have been sitting on my butt solving all the World's problems on the internet.  Some of the World's problem are a little closer to home than normal.

I recently was cited for not wearing my seat belt.  The friendly officer wrote out the citation while I sat about 30 feet from my home.  That kinda miffed me.  Instead of paying the fine, I actually took the time to go to court to see the powers that be.  I mentioned that having to pay a $116 fine for not wearing my seat belt in a 25 mhp speed zone because I had reached into my pocket to retrieve my lighter, requiring the temporary removal of the seat restraint that would probably save my life should a golf cart strike my vehicle, was a bit steep for someone on a rather tight budget.  The judge recommend that I contact my congressman and charge me an additional $90 for the privilege of speaking with him.  So I have been toying with the idea of doing the Gandhi thing and spending so time in jail to see just how much the state would like to punish and old fart for having a brain fart.


Just as I was ready to do my time, it appears the code enforcement lady from the city has determined that a "Work Bench" is not socially acceptable in paradise.  Noting the irony of my neighbor's bar that is completely visible to the public, I thought it would be best to convert my "Work Bench" into and "Bar" so that I might be socially acceptable.  It appears that old farts that have brain farts are also not allowed to have hobbies other than the consumption of alcohol in paradise.  


So the next time you get a chance to vote, try to figure out just what else old farts might do that would be socially unacceptable so that it can be made illegal.  


We will return to our normal fishing broadcast as soon as I figure out what normal really is.  

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 16, 2012

Toying with an Idea

Since a friend is trying to sell his home I did some basic picture uploads and stuff so they could email things to different agents.  Once that is done, it is nothing to creating a new blog, so I created one.  Water Front Homes for Sale in the Florida Keys.  For someone interested in selling water front homes in the Florida Keys, the title is kinda appropriate :)  So if you know of anyone selling or buying water front homes in the Florida Keys, let them know.  I can add listings or other stuff.  Since I am not a real estate agent, there is squat little else I can do, but who knows maybe someone knows someone that knows someone.

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 13, 2012

Elijah Catches Mutton and Some Other Stuff

Ken and his son Elijah are staying on Little Torch Key for summer vacation.   I showed them a few tips for catching with a smaller boat.  Most vacationers load just about every thing they can think of on their boats when they come down to the Keys.  Elijah's  first mutton snapper was caught on a 15 pound spinning outfit, with clear mono, a size 2/0 hook with a 1/2 ounce weight and live shrimp for bait.  No chum, no 45 foot leader, no gold plated reel on a high dollar rod.

Elijah's Cero Mackerel was caught on an eight pound spinning outfit, with clear mono, a size 2 hook with 10 inches of size 4 wire leader and a small live ballyhoo he caught at the same spot.  That is only about a 4 to 5 pound Cero, but on 8 pound test, Elijah seemed to have fun.

This is Elijah and his dad Ken on their boat.  Small boat, small angler, nice fish, nice time.  You really don't have to spend a fortune to have fun and catch dinner in the Keys.

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

Opps!  I forgot some of the other stuff :)


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Content for the Blog

When I take folks fishing I rarely get enough good photos.  I am generally busy doing something when the action is going on.  I request that my customers send my some photos and a note later.  Most don't send photos.  So there are a bunch of trips that I don't write about because of the lack of evidence.  There are a few trips I don't write about because they were not very memorable, so often trips are lumped together as a week kinda update.  I just got a note from someone that wanted to submit a story for the blog.  That is not what I intended for the blog, but I told him if the story is interesting, why not.

There is a little bit of challenge with this.  Most folks don't want to write about a trip unless they were really inspired.  Pissed off is pretty inspirational, so most editorials are on the negative side, doncha know.  I don't have very many really bad trips, but there are a few that were definitely less stellar.  One I didn't write about in any depth was a very long boat ride to the Hump that resulted in excess sun tannage and over consumption.  Another that resulted in green customers, a chance to dive the wheel plus some prop polishing action.  No serious damage to the customers or equipment in either case.  Both of those crews could write much more memorable stories than I could from their perspective.  Most other customers would rather have their pictures tell their story.

So while I don't have a comment policy other than the typical spam as in porn links, pyramid scam links and such, I guess I have to now start a guest post policy.  In my typically thoughtful manner, that policy is, "go for it".

Fishing wise, things have been slow.  Tomorrow I have a guide trip out of Little Torch Key for the basics, so there should be a few fish photos, but it is fishing, I don't how things will go until they get going.  Kinda like the guess post policy :)

A reminder though, if you have photos you haven't sent to me think about it.  You can upload them to an album on Photobucket or Flickr and just post the link.  Same thing for videos, upload to YouTube and sent the link.

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, May 28, 2012

Cole Versus Snapper

Cole's parental units had a memorable Memorial Day Weekend repairing their boat trailer on the way to Marathon.  After taking care of the trailer, they made some time for Cole to catch them some dinner.

Cole, star of the Dolphin Catchin' with Cole offshore video, posed for a quick still with a respectable, Cole size, Lane Snapper.  The Memorial Day trailer fun limited the fishing trip, but Cole and the 'rents ended up with about a half dozen tasty Lanes and a few Toros, aka, big eye snapper for dinner.  There would have been more but a rather large Barracuda wanted his share of the snapper action.  Cole came close to grouper dinner a few times but the bottom was a little tough for the light tackle.

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, May 26, 2012

Boat Trailer and Other Stuff

I am supposed to be fishing with my little buddy Cole right now but the boat trailer blew a couple of tires.  So I am hangin' in the Seven Mile Grill blogging while the tires are rounded up in Islamarada for the trailer.  So we may not get out today.

While hangin' one of the customers at the Grill wandered up meet me.  Seems he is a follower of the blog.  It is kinda nice to be recognized.  It kinda makes me feel bad though about not organizing the parts of the blog that need the most organization.  Since that sounds like work, instead I will give a little fishing report and tip on tarpon.

Sam Nelson, a real tarpon guide, told me that the worm hatch has been going on at Bahia Honda.  The worm hatch can make fishing a little difficult if you don't have the right bait.  Crabs is that right bait.

The medium sized blue crabs are just the ticket.   Medium is what the bait stores call tarpon size crabs and are about 3 to 4 inches from point to point.  How you fish them is not all that complicated.  With just a hook, about a 5/0 for that size crab, you can just free line the crab in the current.  Using a float and weight can be a bit more productive under some circumstances so be flexible.  The current hot depth is about two feet below the float, but that is subject to change.

Right now the major bite has been at the Bahia Honda bridge.  The Seven Mile and Long Key bridges should be about ready to fire up if tarpon is your thing.

As I mentioned before, the bite offshore has been inconsistent.  I did hear good reports on tuna and dolphin around the humps this week, but closer in the fish have been a little hard to find.  Still haven't heard much on the Mangrove Snapper spawn.  There were not very many spawn fish on the spots I fished this week but fair numbers of keepers if you could get them to bite.  We didn't get too serious about yellow tailing this week but I did see plenty of good size fish nearly every place we put a chum bag in the water.

Well, once the trailer gets fixed, me and Cole will round up some better information, until then here is a redux of Cole dolphin fishing :)



Marathon 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, May 23, 2012

Skeeter and Bud's fishing Evidence




Skeeter and Bud head back north this evening after a few days of fishing.  I can't remember how many days we fished for some reason, but we did fish two or three days together.  This is evidence that they did fish and did catch fish.  The physical evidence of their fishing was disposed on premises with the help of Miss Pat and an unnamed accessory after the fact.  Some alcohol was involved in the disposal.

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, May 18, 2012

Stuck on Grouper

Skeeter and crew are down from the north country again this year. That means Miss Pat will be eating pretty well for the next few days. Luckily, they like fishing in the Kiddie pool. The Kiddie pool is the Hawk Channel humps and bumps pretty close to the house. There are so many humps and bumps that you can generally find one with some hungry fish like these red grouper. That it nice to know when the offshore current dies. We tried some trolling and wrecks in the morning, but the bite was off. So we finished the day dinner fishing in the Kiddie pool. Along with the red grouper dinner was Lane snapper appetizers. I still haven't honed in on the monster lanes since the water warmed up. Yesterday was also slow, with pretty torrential rains shortening the day. Just yellow tail and Mangrove snapper though we marked tons of fish and had plenty of Cero Mackerel cutoffs.

 Some of the offshore boats are bringing in nice catches of Dolphin, but the bite doesn't seem to be as consistent as it normally is for the Gulf Stream being so close in to the reef. On a new moon I would thought everyone would be slaying dolphin by now. We found some peanuts and missed a shot at some larger fish, but there was not much other than huge weed lines with little bait out there today. Good thing I got the Kiddie pool.

Since Skeeter is down for a while, we will terrorize some of the usual suspects and hit the Kiddie pool a few more times for dinner. 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, May 14, 2012

New Record?

Not a good one though. this is the longest I have good without a blog post in some time. First, blogger which hosts the blog has made some changes. Unfortunately, not all were for the good. Seems like paragraphs are a hit or miss kinda things. The second reason is the fishing has sucked. The wind and rains seem to come when I have trips scheduled and go when I have nothing booked. I did manage to bore the heck out of a couple guys with slow full moon fishing, but that was about it. The only reason I am posting today is for the cook at the Seven Mile Grill.

Fonz, the cook, works his butt off most of the time but likes to fish. He does a good job of fishing, but the catching part has kinda baffled him. Since he likes grouper, I showed him how to catch grouper. We caught two for dinner, that took about 30 minutes of fishing time and came back. So now he can take off after work and actually bring home dinner. Now that most of my trips have been canceled. The bite seems to be picking up. Hopefully, this time I will be right. April was just about a total wind out and the first week of May had lots of wind and rain for the wrong time of the year. That really messed the tarpon fishing up for some time. Though, in the middle of the mess, B.J. Meyer managed to release fifty sailfish in a half day. That trip was a practice trip since the weather ran off most of the paying customers. Today, the winds were light and the water looked about normal again instead of milky white. The monster full moon with the rain and the wind was like a triple whammy. The tides are still running stronger than normal, but as long as wind stays under 25 knots and the rains don't pour for a while, the conditions should be fine. Dolphin offshore is still not fantastic. There are good numbers of keeper schoolies, but fish over twenty are more of a surprise than an expectation. The Mother's day Dolphin tourney was won by a 30 pound fish, which is pretty light. Before that tourney I manage two black fin on the full moon and there were a number of skunks I have heard of. That is not good for business. So today was a good sign that that is changing and I heard some other good reports. Stay tuned, I have a bunch of trips schedule that may actually happen if the weather holds. So I some have more reason to be posting here pretty soon. 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, March 31, 2012

The Winds have Laid Down

As if by magic, the winds drop to something fish-able for me. The bigger boats have been getting out, though with not all that great of success on average. There are still a few cobia coming to the dock, Chris caught one on the Walkabout II yesterday, and a sailfish here and there, but nothing to make the front page. We are in the transition from the winter fishery to summer, so that is not all that unusual. Respectable catches, but nothing wild and crazy.

We are in the middle of the moon now and have warmer water temperatures, so the snapper bite should start turning to great on the reef after this moon. The bigger fish should start moving to the reef to stage for the spawn. Tarpon is nearing its sweet spot. More big girls are coming to the leader so most of the kids are geared up for the tarpon bite. Not many offshore reports because of the past wind, but the few boats that have been out are getting into dolphin pretty good with black fin tuna and a few larger wahoo. I should start running offshore here in the next few weeks if the weather holds.

I did fish a half day the other day on the reef. The current and winds were fine, but the water was a little off still. So the reef was slow. In the channel we had a good bite with mainly Lane snapper and a few decent mangroves. Tons of grouper of course since the season is still closed. That opens up the first of May. May is starting to get booked pretty well with grouper hunters wanting to get back into the action. I am kinda Jonesing for some grouper in the box myself. This four month closure is for the birds!

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, March 11, 2012

Piece of Cake?


The fish made me look bad last trip. Cero mackerel cut my mutton baits off, the drift was too fast for some of the muttons, the fish on the reef found the rocks and a sailfish swam around in the slick, thumbing his nose at me. After running through my lists of excuses I guess I will blame the full moon. To soothe my bruised ego I baked a cake :)

Actually, Michele had a birthday. Since I am cheap, I baked her a Devils food, with chocolate chips, peanut butter icing and pecans with a little cocoa powder for garnish. Peanut butter icing? Hey, its her birthday not mine.

Anyway, I will brave the finicky fish filled seas tomorrow to try and redeem myself for the last poor performance. Shame though, we started with a keeper mutton on the first drop, just couldn't keep it going. Now if my customer had wanted Cero Mackerel, I would have been a hero, but such is life.

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, March 08, 2012

Windy Fishing this Week

It seems like every year blustery winds show up in time to make the Leon Shell Memorial Sailfish Tournament memorable. The last year I fished it, gust up to 65 knots came through while I was enjoying a prime rib sandwich at the dock. This year the winds were only 35 knots and I was having grits and eggs instead of prime rib.

A customer from New Jersey was down for a few days. Monday, I tried the rock piles in Hawk Channel with the winds only blowing 25 knots. The water was pretty messed up, so the bite was slow. We did manage a fair mess of good size lane snapper, but nothing to write home about.


Tuesday, I got with Captain Chris Moran and we tried the Sister Creek area where we were sheltered for the steady 30 knot winds with some sporty gusts. Even that was slower than normal, but we did manage a couple of keeper redfish and a rare for the creek Spotted Seatrout. The wind and the catch kind of reminded me of March in Jacksonville. Hiding in the creeks was pretty much all we could do from January to the end of March up there.

What was good catching up there is pretty disappointing down here. Tomorrow, if the weather guy is right, winds should be down to 10 to 15 knots. So I may be able to post a few more Keys worthy photos.

Other than me, not too many people braved or stupided the winds to fish. 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, February 29, 2012

You Go-Girl!

People give me stuff they think might be useful for fishing. Go-Girl was the latest product that has arrived for my evaluation. I am not really qualified for that job, but I will pass the information along.

Go-girl is a compact urination aid for the ladies. So that ladies can pee standing. I find that being able to pee standing is pretty convenient. So the ladies in the crowd might also find peeing standing a bit more convenient than paying a visit to the rather cramped head available on most boats. So if you or someone you know might be interested, check out Go-Girl.com.

Fishing wise, yesterday I was the only boat in the marina to fish because of the winds. Pretty nasty conditions, but the couple from Wisconsin seemed to enjoy a little bridge fishing. Slower than normal, but they had a good mess of fat Porgies for dinner and one mystery fish that found the boat running gear after a pretty good fight. Not sure what it was, but it was pretty healthy. I suspected at big Jack at first, but it didn't fight quite like one. Don't know, but it was a good one that will have them talking for some time.

Today the boat is getting all prettied up. We just replaced the Isinglass so she will be looking good for the dolphin season coming up.

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, February 24, 2012

More Muttons



After seeing our catch yesterday, Dennis decided to give Walk About a go. Someone seems to have misplaced the scales at the marina, but that mutton should be in the 15 to 17 pound range. Not a bad fish.

I don't have a report, just wanted to post this picture before I clear my phone memory

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, February 23, 2012

A Slow Day, but We Did Alright


I sure like it better when the fish do what I expect, but some times they make me work for a living. Chris wanted to make sure I know what I am doing so he mated for me today. Now I am sure Chris has more experience catching Mutton Snapper, since I typically don't target just one species, but I think I do a good job when I set my mind to it.

By the way, Mutton Snapper can get hammered pretty hard down here. I personally would like to have a few around in case I might need one, so I don't hammer them. A few off of one spot and let that one rest for a while is all I plan on doing. No, these particular numbers are not something I tend to share. I you are willing to put in a little time hunting you can find a spot or two in the 110 foot to 300 foot range that will produce a few decent fish like these.

Weather wise, today was another beautiful day, though I may want to turn on the A/C this evening :) Fishing the reef was a little messed up. If you hit the right spot you did good, if not, you got to see a bunch of fish with lock jaw. Grouper season is still closed so we released a couple of rather nice size red grouper about 26" long and a bunch of shorts.

There are pretty nice size King Mackerel on the ocean side in the 120 to 150 foot range if that is your cup of tea. The Mangrove bite at the bridges is still going strong as well. Spanish Mackerel on the Bay Side are still pretty easy to target and the Tarpon are getting thicker at the bridge. With the mild winter, I kinda expect the dolphin bite to be off the hook this season. As long as fuel prices don't go through the roof, I may be able to put some dolphin specials together for the die hard freezer fillers.

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

Walk About
Fishing the Keys

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Walk About - Fishing the Keys

Things are coming along slowly, but at least they are coming along. Captain Chris Morin and Captain Jeff Knapp are my partners in crime with the Walk About fishing thing. Jeff is mainly a tarpon guid and runs his 24 foot T-Craft the Beckoning with the Walk About Too as his back up ride. I mainly will be running the 25 foot Blackfin, the original Walk About which is the cheap date. Chris will mainly be running the 26 Foot Sea Vee, Walk About Too.

While it took some convincing, the grunt special prices still apply for the Walk About with me for Blog followers and my regular customers. That is the $425 half day where I forget to wear my watch :) As I said before that is basically fishing a good tide so it will average around 5 hours but really depends on how good the fish make me look. I tend to want to head back to the dock when the box is getting pretty full.

Jeff has his average rate of $450 but he will give you $50 off if you mention the blog. Jeff will also do short teaching trips for $100 per hour to show you how to do it on your own with a minimum two hours. That is really not a bad deal because he tends to be pretty good at teaching folks how to catch tarpon and the bait for the tarpon which is pretty important. I wrote a bit of tarpon fishing advice from Jeff a while back in Night Time is the Right Time.

Normal rates on the Walk Abouts are $475 1/2, $650 3/4 and $800 full day. Those prices cover the basic trips and fuel expenses. Some long range trips or special over night trips will be available with negotiated prices. That is mainly to allow me to do some Cay Sal and longer range gulf wreck trips when conditions are right. Both tend to be a little pricey because of range and time, but can be trips of a lifetime, at least that is what some of my customers have said in the past.

Most offshore trips for dolphin and tuna are best with the 3/4 day pricing since it does require some travel time and hunting to find fish. Chris also does the night time Mangrove Generally, that is a 1/2 day trip worth planning, but he doesn't offer a discount on that because he stays pretty well booked.

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, February 18, 2012

Quickie Update

Since the Seven Mile Bridge current is pretty important for planning tarpon and bridge fishing trips, I added the link to the Mosher Channel current prediction on the left side panel. It is just above the Moon Phase link.

No fishing reports today, but the weather is beautiful so there are boats headed out to the Hump and other offshore destinations today. I will try to find out how they did. The cold and rainy snap last week and the first of this week drove most of the customers off. There should be some tire kickers around now so maybe I can capture one. Nothing scheduled on the books until next week, then I should be busy for a while.


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, February 01, 2012

Long Term Weather Report for the Month of February 2012

For the guys north of latitude 30: Warmer that where you are. Sunnier than where you are. Better fishing conditions that where you are :)


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, January 28, 2012

The Cheap Charter Versus the Charter Adventure!

When I started fishing with Chris and Walkabout charters, I started off with lower rates than he is used to quoting. Since I have been doing this for quite a while, I know pretty much what works for my regular clients. They want to catch fish. While they would love to catch the mostest and biggest, they mainly are more concerned with the tastiest. I have no problem with that.

So the cheap or economy charter is bare bones but not a bait and switch charter. By bare bones, I mean that the range is limited to about 8 miles from the dock because fuel costs money and travel takes time, which is money. If I am pretty sure I can catch fish in that range I say so. If I think I can't, I say that too. I am pretty honest since my memory is too bad to lie. Other than the full moon or banana excuses, of course. I am even dumb enough to tell people before hand what the moon may do, the banana no, that is always the final backup excuse. :)

Another part of the cheap charter is gear. I am replacing my rods and reels with nice but not expensive stuff. So don't expect to see Shimano Stellas on custom Cape Fear blanks. Those cost a little over a grand a piece, If you want that kinda gear, bring your own, not on the cheap charter list of ingredients.

Bait is what is available. I catch my own bait most of the time, but I am not going to spend two or three hours chasing bait for the cheap charter. We catch our own bait on the trip and trade that up. Basic baits, shrimp, ballyhoo, and chum are of course included. If a customer has a line on some bait, bring it on, not a problem.

Tackle is pretty old school for me. I rarely use store bought lures or a lot of expensive stuff that most folk think are require to catch fish because they saw Roland Martin using it. Roland Martin's job is to sell stuff. My job is to catch fish. Most of the stuff works, I just don't think they work well enough to justify the cost. It is hard to beat live and "fresh" dead bait in my opinion, but lure can be fun, so bring your favorites if you like.

People that have fished with me know that I am not a stickler for many rule and I am a little vain, so if the bite sucks, I will bend my rules enough to not suck. If that is going to really get into my pocket, I will let you know, but most know when I have to go above and beyond and tip accordingly. After all that is what a tip is all about.

So after talking it over with Chris, $425 is the cheap charter rate. That is a half day rate if I am booked for the afternoon or the bite is off the hook, or about five or six hours if I am not booked or the fishing is a little slow.

The not so cheap charter rate is $650. There you get the heavier gear, we spend time catching bait and the range is more flexible. That is for about 6 hours to allow for more travel time in reason. Some times when the dolphin are way offshore, we may need to add a little for extra fuel and that would include a hump trip for tuna which is $100 more for fuel, since the round trip to the humps is nearly 60 miles. All that $100 covers is fuel by the way.

Most of these prices are to save y'all some money and me wear and tear. I am trying to limit my fishing days to around 6 hours or so. I have Chris for the guys that want the sun up to sun down adventures.

I thought I would post this just to make the rates more official. 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, January 26, 2012

It's a Family Thing

Since I can't remember names worth a dang, I will just use Mom, London and little Miss Pinfish. Chris booked a family trip, for a pretty large family. He took the Dad and older girls to the reef, I took Mom, London and little Miss Pinfish to the Bay.

Since it was a family outing and some of the kids required the Coast Guard mandatory wearing of the life vest thing, we outfitted the younger members with team West Marine ski vest PFDs. Stylish and comfortable attire in matching blue. As captain kiddie, I generally get the younger passengers, probably because I never bothered to grow up myself.

After hearing that my personal best pinfish in the bait net catch was 5 in a scoop, little Miss Pinfish proceeded to show me what dipping bait was all about. She tied my personal best twice, but never bested me. She did manage to put about 100 fresh live pinfish in the live well along with the couple of hundred pilchards.

With Alex mating, LMP and London caught the entire family dinners of Mangrove snapper and Spanish Mackerel. London, a statuesque, 3 foot 2, boated the largest Spanish and tied for largest Mangrove. Her Spanish was just a foot shy of equaling her height. We even forced Mom to catch a fish or two, though she was the designated outdoors photographer for the day.

The more adventurous family members managed the largest fish of the trips with a respectable 25 pound king mackerel while searching for Bodine tables. The wind did blow up a bit on them while Captain Kiddie and Alex munched on fried chicken watching LMP show us up in the cockpit. A true fisherkid, LMP enjoyed freshly caught fish fingers at Salty's while the offshore crew made their way back to the dock.

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.

P.S. It appears that the new light tackle gear situation is resolved for now. Not a big name manufacturer, but the gear works and is kid friendly, as in I won't freak out if one get released to the sea. More on that later.

Tight lines,

Capt. Dallas

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Mangrove Francais

Francais is just French for French. If you take a refresh fish fillet, say from a 17 inch bridge caught Mangrove Snapper, season it with salt and pepper, dredge it in flour, then egg wash then seasoned flour. Then saute that in butter plus olive oil until golden brown. You are getting French with your fish. Then if you happen to saute some mushrooms, peppers and onion in the same pan, deglaze with a little white wine add some clam juiced with a touch of corn starch to thicken, you are getting a little more French with our fish. Seasoned with every step of course.

What do you have? What's for dinner, is what. Right now the Mangroves at the bridge are more than willing to get French with you. That is about the least expensive fishing trip you can make. You can do it on your own at any of the Keys fishing bridges, or hire an old guy like me to show you the ropes. With Chris' folks in town, Mangrove snapper is on the menu after our relaxing morning half day of catching. No monster fish, just tasty and respectable sized Snapper. Capt Jeff is going out this afternoon to catch the hero fish.

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, January 23, 2012

It is All About the Money

Here is a news flash, charter fishing is about making money. This topic came up shooting the breeze with the captains at the dock. Why? Because they believe that all charters should have about the same sticker price. I think all charters should have about the same profit margin. It is a profit thing in my opinion.

The reason this subject comes up is because I have cultivated a blue collar clientele. I am a bit on the frugal side myself, I want the most bang for my buck, so I expect the same from by customers. I like eating fish, if I owned a working freezer that wasn't full of unrecognizable bait and chum, I would be inclined to stock up on fish that freeze well.

So over the years, I have gradually slid into an unofficial business agreement with my customers, "if you want me to charge less, expect to do more yourself." Being a cheap skate, er.. frugal, I can squeeze the bait, fuel and ice budget to death and still catch fish. That involves spending time catching bait on the trip instead of having it ready at the dock, using less chum by targeting stupider fish and not running to the Bahamas for fish I can catch at the bridge. Some people like that, some don't. Different strokes and all that.

The boat and me can make a good living on $400 a day. This is were the confusion starts, to me a day is a day and a fishing trip is a tide. It bores the hell out of me to sit for a couple hours knowing damn well the bite is going to suck. Since there is about 5 hours of productive enough tide to not bore me, that is a fishing day. In order to extend that productive time requires time and money, my time and the boat's fuel consumption money. So I call my trips, flexible full days. We go catching for $400 bucks, not catching costs $75 bucks an hour.

If the crew needs a mate on the boat, the mate costs money. Without a bump in the boat economy, that means productive fishing is more like 3 hours instead of five. I like my mates, but I also like making a living. No mate means more work for me, more money for me, or more work by the frugal customers. I am flexible and most fishermen I know do a fair job of cleaning fish and boats. I will step in if someone tries to butcher either.

When I had plans of starting my own charter, with my own boat, I was going to call this the "Grunts" special. Grunts can either be the target species or the sound I hear while the customers are cleaning the boat and/or the fish.

I also like to gamble a little and brag when I win. So if I think I have fair odds of making the kids at the dock look bad by bringing in bigger or fancier fish, I am inclined to do so on occasion. Kids do need to be reminded that the old farts can catch fish from time to time.

So what I need is a little consumer feed back. Is this too complicated so should I just charge $750 a day so I blend in with the kids?


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 18, 2012

Mike Can't Catch


Fly fishing aficionado Brian had to go back to the real world leaving his buddy Mike all alone with big ferocious fish that made is Chesapeake Bay tackle look a little wimpy. Yes, that's right sports fans, big fish made Mike work for it and his luck and gear just wasn't up to the task.

Mike has a slightly aging Mitchell spinning reel. It is a classic among classics. An estimated 90 pound fish toyed with Mike and his Mitchel for a while, but when the fish went into turbo mode, it got away. Mike also has a Penn level wind trout rod/reel with 14 pound test. For about an hour Mike and his trout combo felt the power of an unknown Keys species. During that hour I reminded Mike that the fish is not caught until it is along side the boat. After dancing around the anchor a few times, going around the boat a few times and chatting about chickens (I was going to raid his fried chicken lunch stash) something bigger than mike's fish made its move. The guy in the brown suit, Mr. Bullshark, ended Mike's dream of fishing glory. Mike did manage a Cero Mackerel, King Mackerel and Little Tunny (Bonita)in whole condition for the box.

Oh, Mike also has a Penn 4/0 with broom stick rod and about 50 pound test line that did not quite cut the mustard. I will let Mike tell that tale :) Anyway, Mike wanted BIG, he got BIG.
Update: Once the wind laid down, Mike found another guide to put him on some smaller fish :)


That is a nice Mutton he caught with Capt. Howard out of Captain Pips Marina.


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, January 15, 2012

Spanish Mackerel on the Fly

The wind started in the twenties early, so I recommended a later start. Mike and Brian, from the Maryland area agreed. We tried a close spot first because of the winds, no luck. So we headed into the wind back in to the Bay. We had already added a Danforth anchor on to the rock anchor, just to make sure we would stay put.

We started chumming about 10:30 and by 10:35 we had our first Spanish in the box. Not a big fish, in the 2 to 3 pound range, but enough to impress the crew. We used both pichards and live shrimp baits to start, then moved to spoons and finally, Brian broke out the fly rod.

I don't know what it is about fly guys, but they get all excited when they see their backing. Brian saw his backing three of four times on the five or six Spanish he caught. Pretty common thing down here, must not be so common up in Maryland.

Mike said he would send pictures of Brian posing, flyrod and Spanish in hand. I wouldn't hold my breath on that, but I will remind him Tuesday when we go in search of bigger Mackerel, the King, on the Oceanside, weather permitting.

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, January 14, 2012

Well, the Boat Didn't Sink

Long ago, in a place that seems so far, far away, a commenter on the Florida Sportsman Fishing Forum mentioned that the reports on the forum were all good, no one ever mentioned the not so good. I am a firm believer in never saying negative things about people or fishing trips. But, since honesty was requested, I compromised and say more realistic things about the less than stellar trips that happen at times. Most of the time there is some humor in the telling that makes up for the negative side of the truth which people seem to want, but rarely truly appreciate. Today, the boat did not sink :)

Bill and his lovely wife Chris hired me to fish with them on their lovely boat, which had thoughts about sinking, but decided not to. An unnamed worker for an unnamed employer working on a boat of unnamed manufacture, with twin brand new Suzuki outboards, forgot to dog down a hatch. It made for interesting conversation back at the dock and a rather slow day of catching. So fishing wise, we caught the largest Pork fish I have seen in ages, a large variety of small but very attractive fish and an appetizer size portion of legal Mangrove Snapper.

I would love to say that I was the hero of the day, but that honor goes to boat of unnamed manufacture and the brand new Suzuki four stroke outboard engines. The villain of the day is Karma.

After four straight days of absolutely gorgeous fishing weather and no customers. The weather report on Friday the 13th looked good for offshore on Saturday the 14th. With visions of tuna and cobia for dinner I awoke to 24 knots winds and no hot water. I blame the cat for the lack of hot water. Heck, I may as well blame the cat for the high winds. As I drove to dock with the cold winds buffeting the Tahoe, listening to the cheery weather report of 10 to 15 knot winds and 2 to 3 foot seas, I could only chuckle. Because of the winds, we changed plans, deciding to fish the Hawk Channel Rock piles for Lanes and other critters waiting for the bait to show and the winds to die. Then we may have a shot at the reef later. The current was not bad, it was horrendous! A surface current out the back of the boat and an under current straight up the anchor line. I brilliantly decided to head to the East in the sheltered channel to catch the Seven Mile bridge current to get the wind with the tide. That lead to the discovery of the boat's plans and later the discovery of the cause of the boat's plans, once we had returned to the dock.

After the boat was bailed out and things placed in reliable order, we headed to the Long Key Bridge, with two additional anglers who had discovered that fishing the reef was not all that great of an idea. They may have listened to the same weather report on the radio. With bait, live shrimp, enough for two anglers we arrived at the bridge with four anglers and managed to turn two anglers worth of bait into 3 keeper mangroves just before the current got right to catch many more Mangroves. I think this was plan G or H by this time and I did forget the bait situation somewhere around plan F.

So the short version is we went out and returned safely with nearly enough fresh fish for an appetizer.

The moral, dog your hatches, maintain a sense of humor and keep a cat around so there is someone to blame for bad Karma :) Tomorrow is another day, with another angler and with these winds, another bridge. Catching wise, we will probably do better, though the day may be a little less exciting.

Londonfisherman, this post is for you.

Marathon in the Florida Keys should be your next fishing vacation destination. Join us for charter fishing, fishing guide trips or our boat not sinking 101 so you can fish on your own with better success.

Tight lines,

Capt. Dallas

Friday, January 13, 2012

General Rental Boat Stuff.

I try to keep the Marathon Area boat rental information current. Somethings, like what boat is getting new power or who is getting new boats, some I pick up, some I don't. One of the guys online did his homework, checked my blog and checked out a few companies on the list for what his needs were. He was nice enough to give me an update, which I am going to post,

A couple tidbits for you ont he folks I called if you want to post it...

Capt Pips 15 miles Atlantic or Gulf, Bahia Mar to Duck Key. We pick up
Fish n Fun 10 miles off hill, and 10 miles E/W from Where you stay. Free Delivery
Tropical 25 miles either Side. We pick up. 5 miles from Duck. Cleanest newest fleet
Vacation 25 miles off, either side. #8 getting new Suzuki right now. Free delivery. Return by 4:00 of last day. $300 deposit, refundable w/in 15 days.

Price wise.. in the 20-22 ft range:

Pips Pips Fish N Fun Fish N Fun Tropical Vacation
Rental Rental Rental Rental Rental Rental
23ParkerF225 20HornF150 22Parker150 23Parker175 22SeaChaseF150 22SeaChase150S
1500 / wk 1210 / wk 1100 / wk 1230 / wk 1253 / wk 1195 / wk


So, vacation was actually the cheapest, let's me take the boat the farthest in case it's slick calm one day, they deliver for free and have ZERO east / west restrictions... just 25 from the hill. AND they say they're putting a new motor on mine. We'll see. I was actually eyeballing that 20ft Pro Cat pretty hard, but it was already taken. My favorite of the bunch was the 23 parker... especially if it had tabs on it. With that flat back I bet it sips the fuel and with 23 ft of waterline I'm sure I could ease off the throttle a little bit and punch through a pretty sporty little sea out there, PLUS have a low draft in the bay. Oh well, they only wanted to give me 10 miles, so... If it's slick calm I might want to venture out a little farther than that. Especially if the boat has a decent VHF and antenna. I'll also be bringing my personal EPIRB just in case we want to venture out a little farther than some would in a single outboard. Sure makes me nervous in somebody else's boat. If it's a new Zuke I'm pretty comfortable, though.

I could easily have gone tropical, but the free delivery was just hard to beat. It's our honeymoon. We'll probably get in late Saturday... will be nice to wake up and have the boat just appear before we go lobster scouting.


Thought y'all might find it interesting. The new power, the Suzuki and free delivery were big factors. I can see that. Range is another that comes into play for most of the way off shore guys. Price wise, they are in the same range, noting that the first Capt. Pips boat is a bigger with a bigger engine. As I have said a dozen times, all these rental companies do a fine job, it just boils down to your needs and your budget.

Most Keys regulars know that range is not that big of an issue, unless you are planning to do a Keys tour, fishing wise, you don't have to run far to get fish. Which is why I am down here, I got tired of having to run 40 to 60 miles to find fish up North :)





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, January 12, 2012

Muttons Honey


Lil' Chris, er.. Captain Chris Morin, with his angler Dave from the frozen north country posing with what's for dinner, a mutton snapper of respectable size. This is Chris with the Walkabout Charters LLC which I be fishing with. Lately, he has been doing the mutton thing while I do the bridge thing. It's all good, I catch more fish for the guys that want more meat and more action, he catches bigger fish, though not as many, at least today, it was a little slow. It was slow probably because the weather was freakin' beautiful!

I sat at the dock today experimenting with chocolate lava cupcakes. I need to adjust the chocolate melting point a touch to get the right flow rate, but taste wise, the first try was not bad at all! Tomorrow, will be bait catching and mangroves for dinner, then four days with the private boat and rental boat guys.

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, January 09, 2012

Decisions Decisions

Decisions on what manufacturer for my new fishing gear. I have had custom made rods with Daiwa spinning reels and Shimano trolling reels for the past 12 years. With just the general maintenance, both have served me quite well over that time, both have little issues which I would expect every manufacturer would. I am not desperately loyal to either since neither sponsor me or offer a direct discount of any kind. I do get a pretty solid discount on the Daiwa products, since I am a nice guy I guess.

The most major issue with Diawa spinning reels is the bail roller tends to lock up. That is not a major issue if you know ahead of time because you can take the reel apart and lube it with some of that expensive PTFE or some alphabet lubricant to keep it right, but you have to use the not so tight Loctite(R)on the threads to be able to maintain it down the road. None of the manufacturers seem to have a handle on that, use of alphabet lubricant stuff to make maintenance easier. Since they don't work for me, I can fire them, but I can mention that they might be able to make an improvement of two.

I was thinking US manufacturers this time around, but it is hard to tell if the US manufacturer manufactures in the US or not. I do know that our stimulus money has stimulated US manufacturers that manufacture most of their stuff outside of the US. So I would not like to be dumber than a politician and let anyone think that I have a clue where any of the stuff is actually made. If anyone does know of a real made in the good old US of A reel manufacturer that some one could afford their product, let me know.

The kids at the dock have fallen in love with the Penn products that were formally made in the USA which are now made in Asia mainly and only marked up about 8 times instead of the normal 10 times. I guess that is a step in the right direction. The Penn Battle reels seem to be preferred by the kids and cost about 30% more than the Daiwa with just about the same issues, a little more drag issue than roller, but close.

Since I am a little anal about having my stuff match, I would consider a matching rod if the same company can provide both with about the same level of quality. I am not particularly a fan of lifetime warrantees where you spend a good portion of your lifetime taking advantage of them. I prefer stuff that tends to not break very often to stuff that does break pretty regularly on a charter boat.

So the basic requirements are reliability, durability, kick butt looking and cost, pretty much in that order. If anyone knows some industry rep that thinks he or she has such a product have them shoot me an email or leave a comment.

Flatlines, the 30 foot Proline of Doc and Jerry, is scheduled to go on the hill this week for some badly needed dusting and cleaning. Doc wants me to work this boat into the charter mix somehow. That may be a bit of a challenge since its biggest selling point and clean head or potty, has a bad macerator pump that is a challenge to get to. So I could use some ideas for family friendly, once the toilet is fixed, adventures aboard the Flatlines. Flatlines, like Gale, Trainwreck or Bad Luck, is not one of my personal choices for a charter boat name, since flat lining is not just a fishing technique.

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 04, 2012

I'm Cooking Now!

After threatening to buy on of those counter top convection ovens with the rotisserie I did the deed thanks to a ding at Kmart. Hamilton Beach twin 12 inch pizza baking with rotisserie! Since is was cold and windy last night, it has perfectly bake four loafs of bread, a batch of bacon-cheese cornbread muffins and a pound of bacon. All the while keeping my little place warm and restauranty smelling!

Oh, wait! This is supposed to be about fishing.

I fished my buddy Sonny Monday. Sonny first fished with me about 12 years ago with his uncle Victor out of Captain Pips. Now Sonny is growed up with is own boat. This time he brought down a 30 foot Carrera with twin Mercury Verado engines. I had Sonny meet me at the Seven Mile Marina.

Now I did not know that Sonny had a new boat. Last time he was down with a 22 foot boat, so I was a bit surprised to see his new ride. The young gun captains at the marina were a little surprised to see the boat also.

Monday was a slick calm day, perfect for running offshore in a high performance 30 foot Carrera with twin Mercury Verado engines and a sound system nearly as powerful. So I took over the controls of the boat, push the throttles up to a comfortable cruise and nearly 2 minutes later pulled it back to neutral at the Mangrove snapper fishing hole by the bridge. :)

I'll take Sonny someplace a little further down the road later this year, Monday was a half day snapper trip. We did just fine with a near limit of fat mangroves, a Cero Mackerel of respectable size and a very fat yellow jack.

Both Cero and Yellow jack are not bad at all on the table. Cero is the best eating of the mackerel in my opinion other than Wahoo. The yellow jack is tasty with firm flesh and nearly white meat a lot like Cobia with a hint of tuna thrown in. It is one of the few jacks that I will eat not smoked other than pompano, both regular and African.

Now that I am done with the Christmas Rush, I have a few days to work with a few other boats I need to get into order. Flatlines, the boat my buddy Doc owns, should be running now so I need to get her cleaned up and hauled. The Walkabout is running fine, but I need to set up a few things so I can fish it easier single handed. Nothing major, but I need to rig the anchor so I can set it without climbing around stuff too much. To do that, I need to first get an anchor set for not too easy break away. Then I am going to run some less expensive half or three quarter days for my bridge and channel regulars.

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, January 01, 2012

Happy New Years!

Chicago Joe, Joey, Shelbi and I started off the New Year with a shark fishing trip. Hey, what can I say, people like playing with fish as big or bigger than they are. We missed a couple shots at sexier sharks but a sharpnose on light tackle and a large nurse, just for the photo op, we fine for the crew. Shark catching was followed by a light lunch at Burdine's ChikiTiki and a little swim on the ocean side away from the shark chumming.

Chicago Joe had more than enough snapper for dinner from the past couple of trips, so today was just a sleepy short day before turning in his boat. We could have had our way with the Mangroves or the Lanes again, but a photo op with a seven foot shark may just impresses the gang back in Chi town better than pictures of snapper grilled, blacken and fried.

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