Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Fishing Tackle You Will Need In The Keys

Now everybody out there wants to be fishing florida keys, but the problem with his is sometimes it can get quite expensive, actually, it will always be expensive unless you are just fishing from a dock. To really be successful and catch fish in the florida keys you will need a decent sized boat, I would say about 10 feet at the least. You can catch some small shark and snapper fishing inshore all day, but what you really want are the big fish. You want the mahi mahi, the grouper, the 10 pound snapper, so you are going to need some heavy duty fishing tackle to do this.

You are going to need some heavy duty discount fishing rods and reels to accomplish this, the kind that holds 30-40 pound test, you wont be using no flimsy spinning rod and reel for this, no sir. And you are going to need a strong leader line of about 100 pound test or so also, along with some big lures. Lets say that you are fishing florida keys for some mahi mahi, like I explained in my previous post you are going to need a boat to do this and you are going to have to go out at least 5 miles. The way that i rig up my fishing tackle for this, is I have about 40 pound test line, and I have a metal type leader that latches on to the spools line via a swivel. I put a couple of ounces of weights on the leader, not too much, because I don't want the lure to sink, i want it to lightly skip across the water while we are trolling. You will also need some lighter spinning rods, with about 10-15 pound test on them. You never know what you might run across when you are out fishing florida keys so it is best to have as many rods as possible in your boat. One important thing that you will need is a gaff, if you are a serious fisherman you know that you are going to be bringing up some pretty heavy fish, and there is no way that you are getting them out of the water relying totally on the leader line. This is where the gaff comes in.

When you are gaffing fish, it will require two people to do so, do not try and do this while you are fighting a fish, its nearly impossible. The person that is fighting the big fish needs to control the fish, and bring it as close to the boat as possible, when the fish is close to the boat the gaffer will need to strike quickly, because the fish in distress is not just going to sit there and hang out all day. You want to place the gaff right by the head, and jerk up as hard as you can aiming for the gills, then you just lift the fish into the boat. Please, if you are not planning on keeping the fish to eat then there is no need for you to use a gaff, just simply cut the line and let the fish swim off, make sure that you get some good pictures first though :)

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Fishing Florida Keys

I am no expert by far when it comes to fishing the Florida Keys, but that really doesn’t matter because my uncle is. I have been there many times and fished with my uncle there many times, and we have caught a lot of fish. Mainly dolphin, or “mahi mahi”. When you land on a school of them, it’s the best feeling in the world, but the biggest problem when fishing for mahi mahi is trying to find them.

You will definitely need a boat, and if you have some outriggers on the boat, this will increase your chances of hooking a mahi, as you will have more lines that are in the water, the more lines, the better chance that you have. You will also need the right bait and tackle to hook up with them, what we use, are frozen ballyhoo, hooked to a colorful lure, and tied on with a wire leader to the nose of the ballyhoo. Put a little bit of weight on the line, because you are going to be trolling at about 6-9 knots. The bait will be slightly skipping right above the water. You will want to let the lines out about the length of a football field, the outer lines let them out a little bit more. We usually have about 8 lines in the water when we are trolling.

Every time that I have been Florida Keys fishing, we have gone out by Marathon Key. In my experience the best time to catch some mahi mahi will be early in the morning, before all the other captains and fishing charters get out there and fill them up. If you can get out there before sunset, the fish will be hungry and ready to bite. And the further that you go out, the better chance you have of landing some big ones. Most people just go out about 5-6 miles, if you want some serious size, go out about 15 miles if you can afford the gas, the gas is going to kill you either way. There have been times that we have been trolling for hours and not had a single hit. It is what it is people.

When you are trolling there are a couple of things that you need to look for, boards and birds. The birds know where the fish are, so if you see a bird, follow him, if you see multiple birds that are diving, you are almost guaranteed to catch some fish. If you see a big board floating in the water, go by it, there are usually fish swimming around it. Now when you get a mahi mahi on the line, reel it in all the way, if it’s a smaller one, like in the 10-15 pound range, then leave him in the water, the other “schooly’s” will follow the dolphin in distress, get those spinners out and get them in the water, you will be reeling up dolphin left and right.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Top 3 Reasons People Fish

Now when it comes to fishing there are many types of fisherman that are out there, but about 99% of the people that fish do it because they like to do it. It is a sport, a game, it’s competitive, and if you are good at it you hold the title for bragging rights in any fishing related conversation. People out there only fish for three reasons.

1. Because they want to have a good dinner that night. Fish tastes great, its healthy for you, low in fat and loaded with protein. No matter what kind of fish it is, whether its saltwater or a freshwater fish, fish is probably the healthiest food on the planet, sure fruits and vegetables are great for the body but they do not offer the protein source that fish does. Name one thing swimming in the sea that is edible, and bad for you, exclude all of the poisonous species here, I am only talking about what most like to chow down on, tuna, grouper, catfish, mahi, snook etc.

2. Because you can make some serious money fishing. If you don’t believe me just go to a restaurant and order some mahi mahi fillets, see if you can get it for under ten bucks. See if you can go into a grocery store in the United States and get a pound of lobster for less than 15 dollars a pound. And those people that are fishing in Alaska, going out for a couple of days or maybe a couple of weeks, the whole crew catches some good crab and they get paid over 40 grand for one fishing trip. Sure its hard work and there might be times that they pull 40 hours straight fishing, but they don’t pull in until they either run out of fuel, or fill up the crab freezer, if you can fill up the freezer in less than a week than you are going home paid. Big time.

3. Then there are the people that just love to fish, they don’t keep what they catch, they catch and release, even if it is snook season and they get a 25 pounder, they just release it. But these types of fisherman are mostly known as professionals, the fisherman that you see on T.V. The Bass, the Marlin, winning tournaments, getting paid just to fish. Then again there are people that truly just fish to catch some damn fish. Like my girlfriend, she will not eat any seafood for the life of her, but she loves to fish, she doesn’t care what she catches, she does it straight for the sport.

So we all have our own reasons why we do this, even the ones that are making money off of fishing, if they didn’t like to do it they wouldn’t go out to sea months at a time and work 30+ hour shifts, you cannot keep doing a job like that unless you have some passion for it. There passion is they like catching fish, because it makes them money, plain and simple.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Wishing I Was Fishing Everyday

For being a person that makes a blog specifically around saltwater fishing, I really don’t do that much fishing. I mean I just don’t have the time, I work about 70 hours a week, on top of that I have a girlfriend, who is carrying our daughter, and in less than a month I will be a full time father, so when the hell am I going to get a chance to do some saltwater fishing? Not often, that’s for sure. If I lived in my own perfect world, I would fish everyday at least for four hours. On top of that, I don’t even own a boat. Most of my saltwater fishing trips out in the ocean, or off the coast of the Florida Keys, were because of my uncle and my cousin. They both have boats down in the Florida Keys, big time fishing boats.

Whenever I get a vacation, you know what I will be doing, I will be fishing in the Florida Keys, with my uncle and the rest of the family. This sucks because I only get about a week of vacation a year, so most of my fishing adventures are from just that, the perfect vacation. When I was young and didn’t have to work, I was down in the Florida Keys all of the time, oh how I miss those days terribly.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Saltwater Fishing Fort Desoto - Part 2

So me and my buddy Joe were heading out to Fort Desoto park to do some saltwater fishing, but this time we were not going to fish the piers like we normally do. We decided that we were going to do some fishing from the bridges on the way to the piers, and depending on the tide sometimes this will pay off pretty good. Now I am sure you can put some bait on a hook and fish from the bridge, but I have never really tried that, and haven’t ever really heard of anyone catching anything worth keeping. But I am sure that it has been done, me on the other hand, decided that I was going to be using a cast net, the cast net that I had was a 7 footer, and I was aiming to catch some mullet.

We pulled up to the bridge when it was high tide, and it was about 8 am in the morning, threw a couple of casts, and really didn’t get much initially, just a couple of small shiners and some pin fish, maybe a small mullet o two here and there, nothing worth keeping though. Then I had seen a huge school of mullet swimming under the bridge, this was my chance to get some. So I threw the net with a perfect spread, and when I pulled the cast net up, there were about 10-15 mullet in there, here’s a little picture of what I had got on just one cast.

I figured out that the key to catching mullet off of this bridge is patience and luck, and you also have to know where to throw, many people avoid this place because there are lots of rocks at the bottom, and I myself have messed up a lot of cast nets trying to get some fish. So if you are not sure if there are fish there do not toss the net in the water, wait patiently until you are sure that there is a school of fish there. And do not bring a huge expensive cast net out there unless you can accept that it is probably going to get messed up in the rocks, I have completely destroyed one of my cast nets doing so. If you are driving to Fort Desoto Park, towards the beach, go to the last bridge, and fish on the right side of the bridge with a cast net, there are fewer rocks on the right side and you have a better chance of not getting hung up in the rocks. That’s all for today folks, happy saltwater fishing !