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Florida Keys February

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Garrydog View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Garrydog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Florida Keys February
    Posted: 19 February 2015 at 2:27pm
Just back at work so thought I would use lunchtime sandwich eating to post a report....

Sorry no photos as was fairly full on, suffice to say it was great fun!

Rented a Cobia 24 wish Yamaha 200hp. Lovely boat and just right for the job. I used Vacation Rentals in Marathon. Service was faultless, I mailed them to say so afterwards. I would not hesitate to recommend them. Boat was in good working order although not in first youth with seperate Garmin chartplotter and fishfinder. Livewell, net, gaff, scrubbing brush, flares, lifejackets, spare anchor all there.

We stayed in Islamorada, boat at the bottom of the garden. Fuel, bait etc easily accessible en route to the sea ( 5 minute!) I love the way the marinas offer bait, beer and fuel although not much else.  From the house to the inshore reefs was 10/15 minutes. Fishing in 20/30 ft of water. Chummed up Ballyhoo for bait ( bit of a difficult species to catch ended up using #12 long shank hooks with the merest scrap of prawn, was tempted to buy a cast net but with all other fishing tackle being bought I was getting some comment!)

Lots of eating fish; snappers, hogfish etc. All sorts of shapes and sizes.

Out to the Islamorada Hump was 30/40 minutes. Only good up to about force 3. You are in 60ft of water with a "hump" that shallows to approx 300. Caught skipjack, bonito and black fin tuna trolling.

No sailfish even though I treied very hard, trolling ballyhoo, drifitng live ballyhoo and trolling a selection of lures. I think fishing was pretty tough as I didn't hear or see of many of these being caught. Also no Mahi mahi as a bit early in the year. Again it was quite cold and windy for them, one day we came in F5 gusting 6 which was very wet!

Water out deep is in the 70 deg F so very warm.

All in all a great fun trip. If you can handle and fish in our area no problem there, just need to operate the same common sense attitude. Fuel very cheap, just less than $1/L.  I would recommend having two of you who are competent to operate the boat. As it was I spent more time ghilling rather than fishing myself.

In terms of gear I would stick with the local recommendation of using mono. You need a light spinning rod and a 4000/5000 fixed spool for bait fishing and catching all manner of things inshore.

For trolling I used 12lb and 20lb gear not problem. I had taken 30lb too but didn't target sharks ( sounded like too much hard work!)or groupers ( out of season).

I bought quite a lot of reels on ebay prior to leaving here and had them delivered to the house agent , v good prices and all in excellent nick. Would also recommend this a s a strategy.

Also took a bareboat guide for a day, Capt Dallas. He was very useful in showing the rigs, general areas ( we did a tour inshore and then out into the blue) and techniques tolling speeds. He was a real character but certainly value for money.

Interesting on the fishfinder as they fish relatively shallow reefs and also most fish are free swimming then you can use it far more accurately to locate and then chum up fish.

I would certainly go again and will. Possibly better for a "boys trip" rather than with your family.

Anyway if anyone wants anything further happy to be of help.

Now got to plan something for next year , oh yes and get on with the antifouling !

All the best,

Johnny
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Ahab View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Ahab Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 February 2015 at 5:15pm
very good info top man
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hchawner View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote hchawner Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 February 2015 at 8:03pm
Great report Johnny.   What size are the skipjack, bonito and black fin tuna that you caught?  Sounds good fun.
Hugh - Beneteau Antares 7.80 - "Sandpiper"
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Garrydog View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Garrydog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 February 2015 at 9:33pm
Not huge, back fin were the biggest up,to about 5lbs so like superannuated mackerel! Great eating though.
In summer they make up to a max of 30lbs. They must be pretty good fun on light tackle...
Really wanted to catch a sailfish but there always has to be. Reason to go back...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote MadMackem Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 February 2015 at 8:15am
Back in 2000, I worked in Florida for about 9 months .I remember a right old kerfuffle in a restaurant one evening at Pompano Beach. They had 'Florida Dolphin' on the menu and some woman was 'going off on one' calling the waiters murderers and a lot worse.

Turned out 'Florida Dolphin' was the local name for Mahi Mahi.  
Boat name MeMe; MMSI 235 086 284;    Call sign 2ELL9
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Ahab Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 February 2015 at 10:48am
Dolphin fish elsewhere
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Garrydog View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Garrydog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 February 2015 at 11:04am
this language thing can be difficult...3 of us were have an after fishing drink, Islamorada Sandbar lager. One of us finished and asked for another , waitress then asked the other two, one said "yes please" the other said "I'm alright thanks." result was 3 more pints of lager....not a huge problem but I think you would agree American is certainly not English...

Saw lots of the real dolphins including a family of 5 right next to the boat, also a huge turtle!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Osprey Oldman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 February 2015 at 6:38pm
Great report Johnny. Sounds like you had a great time. Well done.
What with you, and another friend of mine who has just got back from Cuba, I'm getting Salt water fly fishing fever again!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote MadMackem Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 February 2015 at 6:58pm
I remember the first time I went to the US. We were out for drinks and I asked for a large whisky. The waiter said 'straight up?' . Somehwat defensively, I replied .... 'yes - why is there something wrong ?'.

I now know of course that 'straight up' means no ice or mixers, DOH!. 
Boat name MeMe; MMSI 235 086 284;    Call sign 2ELL9
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