Let’s go over everything good that is happening, what is coming up and how to prepare. July is an exciting month to be on the water in the Florida Keys. One of the best times of the year to be able to do everything I offer if the weather and conditions cooperate.
First lobstering. My mini season is booked. I do not do referrals or split charters. Lobster regular season is August 6 and my requirements can be found on my Lobstering page. Lobstering has been a fun activity to offer when all of the ingredients are there. Times have changed. The resource is more limited. Conditions are more easily compromised and my customers tend to be more challenged and less ability to meet my minimum requirements. Doing the math, that adds up for a much more difficult charter for me to operate. I do like to have fun on my trips, just like you.
Lobstering is fun when we have a healthy lobster population, good water conditions and a group that has solid skill sets to flow through the process of catching lobster. On my trips I put you in front of lobster to catch. I don’t know what size they will be. Generally speaking, the areas with the best/easiest conditions have been cleaned out. When I started offering these trips I would see maybe 1-3 boats out there lobstering any given day. Now it’s 20-30 boats. There is a lot of pressure on the resource. The shallow easy spots get hit first and often. If that is all you can do, that becomes our program. If your group meets my minimum requirements, then I have more options for you to find legal sized lobster. That is the reality. The lobster poachers are here right now doing their thing.
Fishing on the reef has been excellent. The mangrove snapper spawn is the hot ticket and we have been getting our limits each trip. The key is an EARLY 7-7:30 start puts us ahead of the crowd and the heat. It is hot once that sun gets up. Do not book an afternoon reef trip. It won’t work or be pleasant. You will be fishing and not catching. I had my first overheated customer of the year a few days ago, so it’s real.
Fishing the wrecks has been the go to activity once the morning reef bite slows down. We have had good catches of jacks, bonitas and mutton snappers. The tricky part is this is a deep water fishery that requires lots of work to get your fish up and away from the sharks. This week the sharks have shown up in numbers and getting a trophy mutton snapper to the boat has been a bit frustrating.
Fishing offshore has been hit or miss depending on our targets. My plan is to get to the Marathon Hump early for tuna. That has been pretty solid. Again, key is the early start. Once that slows down we spend a few hours targeting Mahi and if the conditions are right, we do some bottom fishing for deep water exotics like snowy grouper, tilefish and whatever lives in 700 feet of water. This isn’t the most exciting fishing for some, but I love it. It is amazing to catch some of these fish from such a depth and they are all delicious!
Snorkeling has been good. Our summer green water is here and our blue water days are less common. Our visibility is influenced by wind, wind direction, rainfall and tides. Current water temperatures are 86 degrees. With the intense sun of summer, I highly recommend a long sleeve rash guard to protect you from rapid sun burn.
As with all of my trips, how and how much you prepare for your trip dictates the ease and comfort of your trip. Please use my Trip Tips page to guide you into what you need. Do not show up unprepared. It happens all of the time and it blows my mind that my customers have no consideration for being on a boat in the sun on the ocean. Prepare yourselves. A trip with me is not like going to the park.
Success is what I want for you and your trip. What is success? It is different for everybody. I run custom trips. I recently did a trip that my customer took me to his spot to do something he did 30 years ago. It was entirely about going down memory lane. Another trip we went 30 miles offshore and my customers did not know how to do anything for what we were doing. We caught a good amount of fish, but lost as much as we caught. I spent the whole day explaining a 100 basic components of fishing and filling their role as anglers, driving the boat, spotting birds, setting lines and taking fish off the hook. Basically being in 2 places at the same time. That was not fun for me. They did not invest in their trip. I offer beginner, intermediate and advanced trips. I can’t explain all of the components of an offshore fishing trip if you don’t know anything about it. I can’t explain how to snorkel, dive and catch lobster if you do not know how to snorkel. For my advanced trips, I have minimum requirements because you shouldn’t put us in a difficult scenario where success is unlikely. I try to prevent this to the best of my ability.
In other news, things are good with the boat. I think I’m getting closer to getting isenglass and new cushions installed. It has been a solid effort since January 1. Getting things done around here is nearly impossible. Good news is new charter shirts are close to printing. My customers have been asking for them for too long. I am happy with the design and the material is of the highest quality. I will make them very reasonably priced.
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