…a bunch of mostly ageing, totally insane so-called anglers will fly out from Heathrow to Miami and on to Key West, the southernmost point of continental USA…President Trump permitting. If only he knew what his surname meant in U.K. vernacular. For fourteen days we will be thrown to the mercy of the elements aboard a variety of centre-console fishing boats operated by our great friends and fellow nutters at www.fishkeywestflorida.com. We will blog on here every day so you can share our ups and downs (it’s usually windy…not the Trump variety) and ins and outs. The entire trip is about fish/eat/sleep but mostly fun so stay tuned!
After a fantastic Captain’s Dinner where C.P Keith (Alias number 11) made the Special fish pie, and after copious drinks everyone retired to bed to build up strength for our last day in Paradise.
Sunrise soon came and everyone was wide eyed and Bushy tailed as we waited at our dock for our Captains to arrive.
Today I was with Captain Derick (Now internationally known as C.D Charlie Drake Look alike) and my shipmate was Harry the Hammer who is my carer. Harry tidies up my tackle and keeps it all clean and ready to go; thats nice.
As usual we had a master plan. Plan A was to fish on the reef for various species, including small yellowtails that we would need for bait. We anchored up in 80 ft of water and put out the chum bag.
Within minutes a shoal of Bermuda Chub were in the chum line.
Very few anglers target this species, possibly because they are not good to eat. They are not easy to catch either as you need tiny hooks and small baits to even hook them.
Out came my Ultra light jigging rod that normally catches only Perch back home, matched with my tiny reel, 6lbs braid and a 6lbs leader with a small size 14 hook. Bait was a tiny minnow.
First drop and I hooked one. The reel smoked as the chub tried to reach the reef some 80ft below. This was to be the ultimate test for my Daiwa rod and reel outfit.
Eventually I boated another personal best, a mint perfect Bermuda Chub. The world record is around 13lbs, this was no where near that weight but still substantial.
I then picked up my 6-12lbs outfit loaded with 20lbs braid and first drift hooked a Bonito about 15 lbs. Bonito are not that popular to catch, but if you want to test tackle these are the fish to do it, they are fast and tough. This one was destined for bait.
Then I had 12 yellow tails in 12 drops. I was on fire, these were perfect bait sized fish. This type of fishing is all about opportunities and I was ready with another light outfit when I spotted a big Yellow Jack in the chum line. I hooked it on a small piece of my Bonito and it smoked the reel and headed for the reef 80 ft below. I thought I had it beaten, but it made the reef and broke me.
Then it was off to the Deeps (260ft of water) to tackle Groupers and other nasty custards. Harry and I were kept busy with various grouper species and caught dinner for several people in short time.
One high light was when I was lowering a yellowtail into the deep it was grabbed by a sailfish that went ballistic on the surface on the other side of the boat.
I ran around the boat skilfully avoiding the motors and then was partly dragged up to the bow in a few seconds. During the run up to the bow I managed to loosen the drag which was set on Sunset for Groupers. The reel was smoking and 150 yards of line hissed off the reel, then the sailfish came off. Unluckily the hook pulled but I guess 6oz of lead down the line did not help.
We caught some mint Red snappers that have been so scarce they now have a season of two weekends in July! They were great sport.
Our other shipmates alongside of us were also having a ball with Big Amberjacks and various groupers, what a nice day.
The rest of our shipmates all had a great day which made it a perfect end to our 2016 Big Adventure.
Special thanks to all of our fantastic Captains and Shipmates who have made this so much fun.
Almost everyone had some personal bests fish and although we forgot to do a species count I reckon we must have caught over 40 species.
I hope you have enjoyed our blogs, at times we all were like little children in Paradise. We are all so very lucky, however I have just one top tip for everyone. If you want to do what the shipmates do, do not put it off. This life is not a trial run, it is the real thing.
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