If you are reading this, chances are you have just made the best decision of the year and are planning an escape from the death grip of this winter and are coming to the Florida Keys! You are not alone and it seems like this point in the season everybody gave up and traded the snow and rock salt for some beach sand and margarita salt. You have the right idea and it sure is much better here, but we have had our complications with weather here too. Especially for this next week or two I am getting lots of attention from people interested in lobstering trips. Season closes in April and now is the time to MAYBE get a few before it is done! It all comes down matching customers and expectations to conditions. This is not our known time of year to catch numbers of lobster, but we do it and it does work out most of the time. The worst question that I keep getting is “how many can we expect to catch?” You can save a ton of money and go to any local fish market and catch as many as you willing to pay for. Lobstering is an earned experience. I take you to where they should be. I give you the right equipment and instruction. The rest is up to you. If you don’t have the ability to perform the skills and overcome the conditions……well….I’m not going to ask you how many lobster you are going to lose, so please try not to ask how many you are going to catch. Catching lobster is a challenge with too many variables to make any predictions. The appeal of the activity is the challenge and this time of year with cool water temperatures, wetsuits, wind, lower visibility and lower lobster numbers than what we see in Summer…..expect it to be a challenge! If you want it easier, book a trip in August.
Spearfishing is another hot topic and is somewhat of a parallel to the variables of lobstering. It all comes down to the conditions and the customer. What doesn’t happen is you book a trip to spear fish, show up, jump in the water and spear fish. It sounds nice, but you are only as good as the amount of time and preparation that you put into your trip. All customers MUST go through an educational process to know the fish and our local limits and regulations, know the equipment you will be using, know the techniques involved in hunting and be comfortable with free diving and make good shots. Yes, that’s a lot for somebody that isn’t willing to do the work, but the right customers eagerly go through process and the rewards are there on game day when the conditions are right.
Lobstering, Spearfishing and snorkeling require conditions to be good to great. I need light winds for 2-4 days, good clean water tides and light current to make it easier and fun for you. This time of year we don’t see these conditions too often and this year we haven’t seen it much at all. Each trip for an in the water activity has to have a back up plan for rod and reel fishing if we don’t get the conditions required for your trip. If I have the ability in my schedule, we will slide your trip to the best day we have to work with to make your trip a success. If that isn’t possible, we will go catch some fish on the rod and you will still have a great time when you bring the right attitude and a couple of beers!
Fishing this past several weeks has been incredible. The wind completely shut down the option of fishing on the reef, but the shallow bay side of the island has been producing excellent catches of Mangrove Snapper, Spanish Mackerel, catch and release Grouper, Sharks and even a few puffer fish! This is easy, fun catching fish in numbers style of fishing. My trips to the reef have been on the shallow reefs not far from shore because of the less than ideal sea conditions. This is among my favorite types of fishing and this is the last month that is continues to produce excellent results. We find ourselves catching 12-18 species of fish on any typical trip and usually keep 15 fish or more for dinner, depending on how many meals you want. That’s pretty amazing!!
Offshore, the fishing has been really good as well. We recently made the long 27 mile run out to the Marathon Hump in 3-5′ seas to target tuna. If you have no experience in large seas, that is a long and rough day that is physically demanding and not entry level fishing. I always want better conditions for my trips, but I do my best to prepare my customers for what is to come. Chances are you will not understand how literal my words are are in for an educational experience! Please make sure the trip you ask for is a good fit for your group and not something cool you saw on a fishing show. Anyways, the tuna bite at the Humps has been fantastic and the dolphin should be showing up as soon as we see more of a Spring-like pattern. Through April there should also be a few Wahoo around for those who are willing to put a few hours in searching for the one big bite!
Spring Breakers, I didn’t forget about you! The water is a little cool, but I haven’t done any sandbar trips since late Fall. Maybe the guys want to fish, the girls want to snorkel and get some sun and everybody wants to get out and have some fun. All of this can be done or some of it when the wind is on our side! Book a 6-8 hour trip and we can find a way to make everybody happy. Catch some fish, see some reefs, have some drinks on a remote sandbar and just chill. What could be better?! My March is filling up fast, so get in touch and see what kind of adventure you can get yourself into!
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