Magnificent November

November 18th, 2016

It’s always good to live, work and play here in the Florida Keys, but November has to be one of my favorite months. It is a transitional month, so there are no rules for this or that. Everything is on the move and the wind is switching directions more frequently, so it is tough to answer my customer’s questions about what is biting a week from now. It is all about taking advantage of opportunities that present themselves day to day and patterning what is happening week to week. Our waters are cooling, schools of bait are migrating, predators are following and there is a constant shuffling of the deck of cards.
I want to start with spearfishing because there is a lot going on here. The moon jellyfish have remained absent and clear blue water has kept the reef really clear when the wind isn’t blowing for days. I have been so fortunate to have several play days when not booked with charters and all species have been there for me. The average water temp has been between 75-78 degrees and the grouper have returned to many parts of the main and inshore reefs. They are smart and wary, but if you have the skills and appropriate equipment, they are there for an opportunity for a shot. Grouper season closes December 31!!

A large pair of Black Grouper speared with a friend

A large pair of Black Grouper speared with a friend

There is big bad news for the hogfish fishery which will greatly impact my beginner spearfishermen/women and rod and reel anglers. The FWC will soon (probably January 1) lock down the regulations for hogfish that will essentially shut down the majority of the fishery for 2 years or more. This will require us to target alternate species that are more difficult to spear and hogfish will go from a majority of some of our trip catches to the absolute minimum if anything at all. Changes are necessary, but this will really affect my business and my beginners will have to be much better spearos and much more educated on the current regulations to have a successful trip with me. Remember, we are spearing in a sanctuary with rules and now years of breaking rules and general disrespect for the resource is going to be punishment for everybody. The spanking is coming!! So come and get them. There is a ton of them and when the conditions are right, you’re going to catch them!
This 16" Hogfish will be the new minimum, 1 allowed per person

This 16″ Hogfish will be the new minimum, 1 allowed per person

Along with grouper and hogfish, the reef has offered up small schools of large mangrove snapper, cero mackerel and yellow jacks. This time of year spearfishing is a matter of timing and conditions.
Lobstering…stick a fork in it done!
Snorkeling… super awesome when it isn’t windy for a few days. We are getting progressively getting cooler on water temps, so a shorty wetsuit may be in order for your comfort. These can be rented from our departing location at Captain Hooks Marina for a small additional fee.
Mermaid Tails ARE still an option to add on to your experience, but it is getting a little chilly. Your “cold” and my “cold” are probably different, so if you are game, I can bring them for an extra $50 and we will see what we can do based on conditions during your trip.
Mermaid Silhouette

Mermaid Silhouette

Diving Mermaid

Diving Mermaid

Rod and reel fishing has been good on all venues. It is hard to say what is best, but I have focused my recent efforts on inshore patch reefs for hogfish and porgies. We are catching a huge variety of throw backs and keepers for dinner, but all fun, challenging and sporting. On the main reef, wrecks and beyond offshore, the snapper, jacks and tuna bite has been good. The sharks have been rather thick and are taking the majority of the larger and tastier preferred fish. Believe it or not, the sharks know what tastes good too and they seriously focus their efforts on eating the finest fish you can hook. They know the game well and you are playing in their court!! Even at local docks, the bull sharks have been putting on a powerful display to clearly demonstrate what is happening just out of sight to your prized catches. It can be unfair at times, but it is part of the game! The ocean only knows winners and losers, life and death. Not much room for grey area or exceptions.
I’m really looking forward to our returning and new visitors this season! Please check out all of the information I have continually updated on my website regarding my charter options, prices, requirements and general trip tips to help you prepare for your day on the water. Find out what my customers are doing day to day on my business Facebook page and check my availability in real time or book your trip under “reservations” on the upper right side of my home page. Don’t forget, if you had a great time out with me, please return the favor and share your experience on TripAdvisor, Google Reviews or Yelp. 80% of my customers base their decisions on these reviews and less than 5% of my customers take the time to pay it forward. It is free advertising and saves you money when I don’t have to pay for it. In such a competitive market, I have to be at the top of the pile to stay relevant. Helping me manage my expenses allows me to offer the lowest competitive rates for the quality trips I offer. A quick 5 minute review is a great way to help US out!
Thanks everybody, I hope to see you soon!!

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