Captain Gator & the Florida Keys

Saturday, September 19, 2009

"Dr. Drill" & his crew were responsible for catching 100 mangroves, 7 other species, and a couple of nurse sharks in 1/2 days fishing. I just had to show the local "also rans" that when we don't go offshore, we can still fill the boat with lots of fish.
JP and Maggie caught their limit of dolphin a couple of days later. Offshore still pays big dividends. They added a 30 lb. barracuda and a blackfin tuna for some added sport. Capt. Pips low rates and our good catches are keeping us busy during hurricane season. Come have some fun with us!
When is the best time to catch Mahi Mahi? When you get here and fish with us. 1st mate David is shown in both photos so folks will be reminded that however good your captain may be, he is only half the combo required for success in fishing. There are even a few days out of the year that the mate works harder than the captain (good one?). Our "off" season package deals fit even the scantiest budgets; call Capt. Pips Marina & Hideaway and see...

Friday, September 11, 2009

You guessed it; if not fishing, fishing. That's what vacations are for. For the last 2 weeks my wife Julie and I have been vacationing and celebrating our 31 st anniversary and her birthday (can't use #'s; we just call it Julie Appreciation Day). Bass fishing with my friend Larry in Citrus County (halfway up the state). After several days of fishing and being spoiled by Debbies' gourmet cooking we took to the Gulf for some scallops. Bay scallops are sweet and there are basically 2 ways of getting them. First is to spot one (usually in the tall grass), dive down in 3-6 feet of water, and while picking up the one you saw, look for others under the grass. Second (my way; lazy man's; little effort; good results) is to take a long handle net and while snorleling, dip the scallop in the net while still floating. You may have to cover a little more territory but it still takes less work (that's a good thing). George joined us and we were able to get enough for a couple of meals.

TWO DAYS WITH MOM & you guessed it---yard work. A most opportune time for her to get a letter stating her trees needing trimming, roof cleaned, and 3 handrails needed to be added to her porches so that her home owners insurance will stay in effect. Thanks to Larry, we did the work in short order and still had time to visit.

ON TO THE BAHAMAS: 4 night Freestyle cruise on Norwegian Sky. Great rates during hurricane season; balcany for $299 ea. (great "come-on": actually cost $475 each with tip, taxes and medical ins.); still a bargain. Great trip with stops in Freeport on Grand Bahama Isle, Nassau (a must stop to see Atlantis; go early and stay late), and their private island for swimming and enjoying their artificial reef. We found the shopping to be no different than shopping in Key West, with only a name change on the articles; BAHAMA MAMA being the exception. WE did it, loved it, would (and will) do it again.

FISHING IN THE KEYS NEXT WEEK---what a wonderful grind. Hope everyone is having as much fun as we are during these hard times. Brings to mind the SHOCK TO THE CASHIER when we checked out and our only charge (you can't pay cash) on the boat was $28.75 (that's twenty-eight dollars and seventy-five cents). That was for all the sodas you can drink while on the boat. We did leave a nice tip for the cabin crew.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Drug free

Being raised and raising a child drug free is the only way to go. Thank God that the people we take on charters are here for the adventure and not for the drugs. During my past 6 years chartering in the Keys, I have been blessed to have had only one person intoxicated and his wife sent him below while she enjoyed the fishing. Our clients have shown me that fishing is just down right more fun sober. Have yet to see a cold beer ruin anyones fun and have also seen it takes very little for the beer drinkers to satisfy that urge while fishing. Guess I'm just proud of the folks who get high on adventure; everyone knows I do.
Our last dolphin trip fed the family and all the restaurant help. We released enough fish to have 2 good days worth of fish next time out. Reef fishing is still good and the 150 pound sharks really make a half day fishing go bye in a hurry. It's HUMP time again for tuna and large dolphin in that area. A one degree water temp has been lingering at the wall and the big fish are still there for the big game hunters.
Our annual weather is moving in and we will get slow. Fishing and lobstering is still great! The weather is slow moving and folks can plan their trips around it. Bad weather loads us up with some great floaters, so come on down between the storms. Captain Pips also has rental boats and package deals for all the venturers.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Chad & Joe from La. found more than the schoolies for me. This girl put on quite a show of acrobatics for the guys first time offshore venture. The schoolies were in 600' finally; where they should be this time of year with the gulf stream out 18 off the light. Seas were rough! After landing supper, we came to shallow water and had some fun catching all the local varieties on knocker rigs.
David and I look forward to seeing these guys again with hopefully some calmer seas. Even Les Miles would be proud of these LSU anglers.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Waiting for photo. Where oh where did the schoolies go? There were frigate birds on tuna from 600' to 1,000'. Tuna were fun to catch, but our client wanted a dolphin. Weeds were broken and scattered from 400' south, lots of bait, but only small jacks knocking out baits down. Fortunately I did my homework and was aware the gulf stream had moved out and the cooler water line was at 1,000'. At 1,000' ('bout 30 miles) we found 3 frigate birds and about 50 other birds running rampant. Hooked up a large gaffer bull dolphin that kept us occupied for the next half hour. A small boat came up and caught the cow and in doing so put the birds to flight. All the birds left in every direction. Another 5 miles south looked like the barren sea; no birds or weeds.

The good news! This was Clint's first trip offshore fishing and just wanted to experience catching something bigger than the bass and catfish he was accustomed to catching. Thrilled not only with catching more dophin and tuna than his family could eat on their visit but also by the offshore adventure of the hunt; the blue water, fishing the rips, seeing the tuna breaking water while chasing bait, the flying fish, the white knuckling from the bridge (3-5' seas in rips). According to Clint, he had one of the most exciting and memorable experiences of his life. Let us not forget our first big catch offshore nor think that you have to catch a wheel barrow full of dolphin every trip to have a successful trip. It is still fishing and fishing in the Florida Keys is absolutely the best. Clint is topping off his trip by taking his family to Sombrero light for some snorkeling. That too is awesome!

Come to "Capt. Pips Marina and Hideaway" and fish with Capt. Gator & David for the experience of a lifetime.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

David & Tonya made Capt. Gator proud again. Bonnie helped with the catch and 1st mate David shows off the complete catch. So many fish that I'm certain everyone caught fish today. We caught fish at 450 feet and ran accross school after school never going further than 650'. Today was action day with lots of fish on light spinning tackle. Quite a relief after their large catch yesterday. Good job everyone for catching over 200 lbs of fish 2 days in a row; everyone will sleep good tonite. Gee it's great to be a Florida Gator in the keys taking these Seminole & Ga. fans fishing; we all won!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Capt. Gator had lots of Gator help and even a Bulldog fan. Gator fans Bob (not shown) & Bonnie (rt) from Pompano Bch, Florida brought their son David and sweetheart Tonya to Marathon for a fishing adventure of a lifetime. So many large gaffers; enough for several fish fries.
The big boys finally moved in from offshore. All these were caught within 20 miles of shore. Do not know a better way to entice you to come fish with us at Captain Pips Marina and Hideaway.


About Me

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A native Floridian (Panama City, Fl.) that grew up entertaining vacationers and is still loving every minute of it. Nothing is more fun than seeing you catch that fish of a lifetime, whether it be a tropy fish or a rare species. Got my captain's license in 1963 and still get "buck fever" when we catch a fish. Been fishing the keys full time for 6 years and vacationed here for 10 years prior to moving here. 3 children, 2 grand children and a wonderful wife of 30 years. Absolutely living the dream in Paradise.