I was so happy to put January behind me for all of the weather challenges we encountered. We had many great trips and epic catches, but the stress of juggling the constantly changing weather and keeping on the fish in comfortable conditions was wearing on me. February begins today with what was a great forecast on paper, but heavy rains and howling winds clearly show that more of the same is still happening. Let’s be honest. They put “super hot” weather women on the news here in south Florida so you don’t have the constant urge to strangle them for always being wrong. They are always wrong!!!
As we made our way through January, we had many of our great typical catches when the conditions were aligned with anything less than extreme weather. When the wind prevented me from going further to get the bigger fish in deeper waters we fought the battle of the water temperatures. A daily fight between where the wind and tides put a large lingering body of very cold/dirty inshore water and whatever was on the other side of that dividing line decided our trips. A good bite would be done as soon as this cold water pushed past us and we would have to get ahead of it again to start the process over. It is these conditions that didn’t allow me to get a single trip in the water in January. Consider this the “heads up” for my February bookings for in the water activities. I have had many calls for lobstering, snorkeling and spearfishing. Lobstering is done, no chance of that happening. Snorkeling and spearing trips are possible, but will be booked with the understanding this is still our windy time of the year and these trips will be substituted with a rod and reel fishing trip so I don’t lose out on too much business. I do this because everybody wants to play in the water, but if I book a spearfish trip instead of a fishing trip and can’t run it per conditions, I would lose 50% of my income this time of year. The dive and snorkel boats barely left the docks in January and the trips they did run were out of desperation in very poor conditions. I don’t operate that way, so I have to do it this way. The right way. Please call me to discuss in the water trips. It is day to day, week to week.
With the exception of today and this first weekend, the weather looks to be a little more stable and the water temperatures have moderated. The fish have acclimated to the lower than normal temperatures and are eating with enthusiasm. The past few days fishing from shallow to deep the pattern is improving. Plenty of catch and release grouper fishing for 24″ plus grouper on the deep reef and inshore the “reef sampler” is strong with catches of snapper, grouper, jacks, mackerel, porgies, hogfish and always a few surprises. Surprises have been a 20lb permit, rabbitfish, lizzard fish and a few I can’t think of! Highlights have been big Lane Snapper, large Yellow Jacks and Mutton Snapper from 2-12lbs. That’s what I love about this fishery! You catch a few little ones and get lulled into a low expectation and along comes a wave of fish that kick your butt and make you the fool for letting your guard down. It happens every trip!
Moving forward, February is likely more of January’s conditions with maybe a few longer stretches of stable weather…hopefully! Fishing will continue to be great with the trips just before the next weather event being the best and the day after the most challenging. Please take the proper precautions that I recommend such as motion sickness medication. I know I tell EVERYBODY and I still have trips where nobody took meds, nobody tells me they feel funny and I have a customer puking out of nowhere and it catastrophically derails my game plan for the trip. Please don’t be this person!!! Please take care of your group and prepare them with the information I have provided you. Please don’t invalidate my efforts and planning in your trip because you decided you didn’t need motion sickness meds. Emergency mode is no place to be an hour into your trip because it can be prevented 99% of the time. I don’t know why this happens, but I am sure I will be in this position again, so work with me here.
My best advice for my customers in February is just go with the flow. Understand I want you to have a great weather day that allows us to do what we have planned, but that isn’t always possible. Book your trip with me in the beginning of your time here, so if there is a weather conflict we can move the date to a better weather window. I understand everybody wants all the choices they can take advantage of when they are here, but the weather dictates what we can do in an environment that will be safe, successful and enjoyable. I’m not here to beat you up in rough seas to catch some fish or whatever. I’m in the fun business and I do my best to operate with that being the priority. I also want to point out I have had many great trips with January customers because of the attitude they brought on board. I have had fun, loving customers that laugh and tease and challenge each other in competitions that raise the energy and participate in actively having fun and it makes all the difference in the world! I promise the energy you bring on board will be greatly appreciated by me and reflected by me to raise the overall enjoyment of your trip.
I guess the last thing I want to bring up is just general stuff to help you. I am so glad you are here on vacation, but you may be as difficult to reach as I am when I am on the water sunrise to sunset. Please make sure the number you leave me is your best number to reach you when you are HERE. Your office number with the voicemail that you are out of the office for the week makes it tough to discuss moving your trip when I try to contact you when I see the weather going sour. Please take care of yourself and get plenty of sleep and try not to party all night before your trip with me, no explanation needed. Above all, please consider your germs and those of everybody in your group. It is nothing short of horrible to remove yourself or a person from your group if they are viral ill. It has not happened this season (Thank God!!!) but last year I got wiped out twice by customers that came on board clearly sick and I caught it. What happens is I either have to pass it on to more customers and suffer through a week of trips or cancel trips leaving my customers angry that I ruined their vacations. On a boat we share many surfaces and I ask you if one of your party is sick, please let me know and we will go from there. The consequences I have to inherit are far beyond the scope of what I expect you to understand, so let’s agree to communicate on this so I can asses each instance case by case. No germ warfare folks. Don’t kill your captain.
Thanks everybody for reading this. Thank you all of my January customers!!! I feel January taught me what to expect for what is coming, so I am ready. If there is something you would like to discuss I am best reached from 7-9pm. I do not answer my phone when I m on the water with my charter guests. I will return your detailed voicemail as soon as I have the answers and once I check the updated weather reports and check my schedule. Be patient because I am on a boat all day and then some. Hope to see you soon!!!
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