Florida March 2013

Sun Apr 07, 2013 11:36 am

Florida March 2013

After a lot of planning and organisation we finally headed to Marathon on 21st March. Marathon is roughly half way down the Keys. I will be posting details on website later on my advice for planning a foreign trip.

Happy fishermen.jpg

Day 1
We met our skipper at 7.15am and left the dock at 7.30am. The plan was to head for “the Humps”. The water in this area is approx 1400ft deep but there is an underwater mountain that rises to 700ft. Baitfish gather around this underwater structure with the bigger fish chasing them for dinner. It is a boiling cauldren!!
Our skipper.jpg

Our skipper, Jeff, used the 2X300hp Suzuki engines to get us to our destination , which was 35 miles out, in an hour. His boat was actually only cruising at 30knts and is capable of much faster speeds.

Willy & blackfin.jpg

On arrival schools of tuna could be seen breaking the water in many locations :D :D . Trolled plugs were hit very hard almost the minute they hit the water. Blackfin tuna up fought like crazy. They averaged about 5-6lb. Just imagine a 6lb mackerel on your line :D :D . We also had some skipjack tuna up to 12lb. By the way rods were 15-20 Shimano spinning rods with Penn Sporfisher 4500 reels.This meant true sport with the rods being buckled in two.
Paul's blackfin.jpg

Blackfins grow up to about 35lb in this area. Fish hang around in shoals of fish the same size. Presumably this means that the smaller tuna are not eaten by the bigger fish.

After a while we needed a break and Jeff put live baits, blue runners, on 2 large boat rods and dropped them down at 400 feet. The target was amberjack but at the Humps anything is possible. We were just sitting back chilling in the sun when one of the big rods buckled and Willy was stuck into a huge fish :D :D . This fight was on and Willy bravely battled against a monster of a fish for a few minutes before the line parted company :oops: :oops: .
Huge fish fight.jpg

We saw 2 sailfish on the surface.

After lunch we did more trolling and spinning and caught fish after fish after more fish.

At 3pm the skipper decided to try for dorado or Mahi as they are know in Florida. These fish hang around under floating objects. The trick is to look under clumps of weed or pieces of floating wood. A squid is then thrown under the object with the hope of tempting a Mahi to take it. However, we had no luck at this.

We were back on the dock at 4pm……knackered but happy.

Jeff cleaned, filleted and cleaned the tuna. To watch his skill in doing this was fantastic.

Meanwhile we drank a few Land Shark beers outside the local bar/tackle shop.
For several hours after the trip we felt as if we were still on a boat with our legs moving to the pounding sea.

Back at the house it was time to hop in the hot tub and sink another few beers. What a life!!!

The local restaurant cooked the tuna for us later that evening :P :P .

Other fish were frozen for later eating.
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Last edited by Stan on Sun Apr 07, 2013 12:18 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Re: Florida Mah 20

Sun Apr 07, 2013 11:46 am

More pics of day 1


Land Shark.jpg

It's a hard life.jpg
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Re: Florida March 20

Sun Apr 07, 2013 12:14 pm

Day 2

Our request with the skipper when we booked him was to try several different types of fishing.
So the second day was spent on a coral reef.
File fish.jpg

A bag of frozen chum placed in a net and tied to the stern of the boat to draw the fish into our area.
Small rods were used. A live prawn was placed on a small lead head and fish out in the slick.
Pork fish.jpg

The seagulls arrived in droves to feed on the slick and large numbers of fish were also seen swirling and darting around underneath.
No time passed before the first fish was being landed followed by lots of others. The colours were spectacular. Only some yellow tail snappers were kept for eating.
Parrot fish.jpg

We did catch some nice groupers. As it was out of season for these they were all returned.

The biggest fish for the day was a parrot fish of about 8lb but we had a brilliant day out.
People often think that Florida means big fish. This is not the case. Many of the local fishermen are quite happy to spend the day fishing for snapper and other inshore species. Tackle is geared up accordingly and so great sport can be had.
Slippery dick.jpg
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Re: Florida March 2013

Sun Apr 07, 2013 12:33 pm

Fantastic looking fish, superb report. It was a real treat to read that :D


Re: Florida March 2013

Sun Apr 07, 2013 1:55 pm

Sounds deadly! 6lb macks would be incredible!!

Re: Florida March 2013

Sun Apr 07, 2013 2:48 pm

great pics and report sure looked warm 8)

not every day you catch a slippery dick :lol:

the parrot fish is some colour 8)
Last edited by roger de dodger on Sun Apr 07, 2013 2:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Re: Florida March 2013

Sun Apr 07, 2013 2:49 pm

Great report Stan :wink: ,,,that's the life alright,,,,,,,what beautiful fish :mrgreen:

Re: Florida March 2013

Sun Apr 07, 2013 3:54 pm

Thanks for the comments lads. I have 3 more days reports to do and will do ASAP. We got bigger fish!!!!!!!!

Re: Florida March 2013

Sun Apr 07, 2013 4:15 pm

Well done on a great session and report. Was the charter expensive ?

Re: Florida March 2013

Sun Apr 07, 2013 8:00 pm

Epic stan, bet ye had to hual the lads out of basspro tescos aswell

Re: Florida March 2013

Sun Apr 07, 2013 8:53 pm

Great report ,,,,I am really really really jealous:)

Re: Florida March 2013

Sun Apr 07, 2013 9:14 pm

Lovely stuff Stan , beats the hell out of the poor fishing here lately, great report and photos. 8)

Re: Florida March 2013

Sun Apr 07, 2013 10:59 pm

Day 3

Wreck fishing in the Gulf of Mexico was the agenda. Sounds great !! The reality is that the Keys are a set of islands. To the East is the Atlantic and to the West the Gulf. That just means going right or left (and under a bridge) after leaving the marina.
Talking to my wife the weather at home was freeeeeezing! There was a very strong North wind in Florida with a cold wind chill factor. It was cold and we did need a jacket. When the thermometer says 20C but a tea-shirt is not enough ……..!!!!
Jeff set out for a wreck 11 miles out in the Gulf. Despite a high onshore wind we had a choppy rather than rolling sea.

The target was Jewfish / Goliath Grouper.

We pounded out…a good leg suspension required. Jeff assured me that there was always somewhere to fish unless the winds were in excess of 100MPH!!!!!!!

The skill of a good skipper fishing a wreck is to anchor the boat accurately. Jeff anchored but was not happy with our position. So he re-anchored twice again before he was sure that we were properly placed and our baits would tempt fish out of the wreck.
The depth was 11ft.
A huge block of chum was placed at the stern. Light rods baited with prawns were set up. There was a steady steam of “small fish” hooked….. catfish, groupers, etc.. Any blue runner was placed in the live well. When I say “small fish” we were looking for monsters. So a 10lb grouper was a tiddler.

Suddenly, Paul’s rod screamed off and he landed a nice cobia.

Paul's cobia.jpg

After a certain time Jeff placed live pilchards on the light rods and set up 2 stronger rods with blue runners at the bow.

Almost immediately Paul had a savage take and after about 10 minutes brought a black tip shark about 20lb to the boat. Soon after he had a sharp nose shark of about 15lb . There was no talking to him. ……jaws was in the “halfpenny place” and his head was swollen.

Shark teeth.jpg

Then one of the big rods buckled and Terry grabbed it…… the reel screamed and screamed and screamed. After 300yds it was abvious that this fish would not stop and so pressure was applied and the line snapped.

Meanwhile Paul’s rod had a strong take and we got an Oscar winning performance as he landed another black tip shark. This man could do no wrong.

Then the other big rod screamed and Willy grabbed it. The reel was 4/0 loaded with strong braid. 200 , then 300 and finally 400yds flew out. The reel was suddenly running out of line. Now there were 2 choices. Should Willy try to stop the fish or should we try to chase the fish….this meant losing the slick. Willy put the brakes on and the fish just snapped the line without any hassle.

Jeff reckoned that both lost sharks were probably bull sharks in excess or 300lb.

Just then Paul’s rod screamed off. It was nearly time to throw him overboard. We got a running commentary on his fight.
The sharks in the Gulf initially go mental with several long runs. Then it is possible to think that progress is being made. This is where a centre console boat comes into play. When the shark comes toward the boat it will inevitably head in a circle. All lines are hauled and a close eye has to be kept on the anchor rope. Again Jeff’s advice and skill came to the fore. The rod was lifted to keep the line over the rope or the rope was lifted.

After 3 laps of the boat and several screaming runs the fish was sighted and eventually brought to the boat….. a cracker of a bull shark around 180lb.
bull shark.jpg

Boy did we suffer that night with tales of Paul’s MONSTER shark……it was a cracker. It grew in size in the pub that night!!!!!!!!
It was almost time to haul the anchor when my rod had a quick bang. I let it run a little and then leaned into it. Thought it was a very large ray and the fight that ensued made me more convinced. Just as I got the fish to the boat it decided it to move away again …. no screaming runs but there was no stopping the fish. This happened several times before nice nurse shark about 150lb appeared.
nurse shark.jpg
nurse shark.jpg
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Re: Florida March 2013

Sun Apr 07, 2013 11:17 pm


Re: Florida March 2013

Mon Apr 08, 2013 8:49 am

Day 4

There were very strong northerly winds. The skipper decided on reef fishing and the boat bounced out about 8 miles along the coast. The chum bag was placed on the stern and within minutes a large shoal of “grunts” arrived. Their name is due to the noise that they make when brought on board.
Grunts at chum.jpg

A large selection of fish were landed. The main target were yellowtail snappers and we got loads of them.
At lunchtime we live-baited with pilchards and this resulted in some lovely grouper , again all returned as the season for them was closed.
Nice grouper.jpg

Mutton snapper.jpg

Paul had a spotted eel. It was very similar to a moray and tied itself up and down along his line when landed. The way that it could tie itself in a ball and then unwind and show a viscous set of teeth was incredible.
Spotted eel.jpg
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Re: Florida March 2013

Mon Apr 08, 2013 9:07 am

Day 5

We were back wreck fishing. The wind was about force 6 and the water in the Gulf was very muddy. It was a nightmare for Jeff to anchor up but after several attempts he succeeded. The bait was prawns. In the morning we were plagued with catfish.

Willy put out a pinfish as a live bait and his rod screamed within 2 minutes but he was smashed off.
My livebait was then attacked and a long battle ensued. Eventually a large lemon shark was hauled to the side of the boat.
Lemon shark.jpg

Paul had a large black tip soon after.
Shark on Spinning rod.jpg

More shark were hooked and lost…….just too big.


Then Willy’s rod buckled again. The fish headed for the wreck and it looked like it was going to be lost. However, after a while it came out again and the battle was on. A huge nurse shark was brought to the boat. It was well in excess of 200lb.
Willy's nurse shark.jpg

The weeks fishing finished on a great note.
Big nurse shark.jpg

Needless to say we have already booked for next year.
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Re: Florida March 2013

Mon Apr 08, 2013 10:17 am

For more pics check out

http://www.boroughseaangling.com/styled ... index.html

Re: Florida March 2013

Mon Apr 08, 2013 10:44 am

Well done (as usual) Stan ;)

Re: Florida March 2013

Mon Apr 08, 2013 11:05 am

Thanks Jim.

Re: Florida March 2013

Mon Apr 08, 2013 2:09 pm

Thanks for taking the time to post Stan. The fishing looked unbelievable with such a wide variety of fish brought to the boat. Well done.... J