Hello everyone. I hope you are all doing great!!!!
I’m going to skip the boring stuff and get right into the Boating Guide… Lobster Mini Season In The Florida Keys 2014 Part 5.
We left off with the first day of Lobster Mini Season where we went out early, had a great day, and caught lots of Lobster.
Well then, you know what today is don’t you…. It’s the second and final day of the two day Mini Season. Today we lost half of our crew, but it’s all good, they decided to go to Key West for a day of sightseeing and shopping. Key West is a beautiful place, it’s at the Southernmost tip of the United States and about a 90 minute drive from Marathon. The seafood here is fresh, fresh, all the food is amazing, the Bars are a blast, and the water is sparkling clear with all kinds of watersport and fishing options. You meet people from all over the world here, yes, all over the world. Everyone is in a great mood, and why not, they’re on vacation! The locals are laid back and relaxed. There is so much to do and see – visit the Key West Aquarium or the Mel Fisher Treasure Museum, ride the Conch Tour Train, stroll along Duval Street, relax at Smathers Beach or Fort Zachary Taylor Beach, tour the Hemingway House, take in the sunset shows at Mallory Square, the list goes on… And you have a wide variety of overnight options like staying in a cozy Bed and Breakfast, renting a private house or condo, or checking into a big fancy resort hotel. If you have never been to Key West, you must go, there’s something for everyone. Check this out – a rooster in someone’s front yard off Duval Street.
After walking around all afternoon, our crew made their way to Sloppy Joe’s. Everyone has heard of the world famous Sloppy Joe’s! The food is good and the live entertainment is even better and it goes on all day and into the night.
Here’s the sunset on the drive back home from Key West to Marathon, Key Colony Beach…..
As I mentioned above, half our crew went to Key West for the day. The rest of us hopped in the boat and headed out to our secret lobstering spot on the Atlantic Ocean side of the Keys. This spot is so secret, sometimes the Lobsters cannot even find it… Just kidding… It was a beautiful sunshiny day. There was a light breeze, the water was calm and so pretty. We had about a 13 mile run to the “secret spot”.
Along the way we passed the Key Colony Beach Club; here are some photos of the Club from the water. It’s a really pretty place with a restaurant, pool, and beach right on the Atlantic Ocean. And check out some of these McMansions! These homes are huge and so beautiful…
Those properties are just incredible.. Want to buy one or two? I’d be happy to show them to you and sell them to you
Back to our 13 mile journey to our secret spot….My crew consisted of three teenagers and me. So this means 6 Lobster per person equals 24 – we could get 24 more Lobsters today.
The GPS said we were getting closer and closer and closer to our spot. Once again the anticipation was building and building. Will the Lobster be there? Will they be legal size? When we got to our spot we threw the anchor out and got lined up right where we needed to be with the wind direction and the direction of the current. We were right on it. Wade and I suited up with our dive gear and we hit the water. The water felt great – nice, cool and refreshing!!!!!! We let the air out of our BC’s and slowly sank to the bottom…Oh my Gosh, does this spot have sea life! There was an outgoing tide so the water was a little murky, which was just fine. There were coral heads on this spot, small ledges, and a bunch of sea fans. This place is a fish haven! There were Snapper, Grouper, Hog Fish, Grunts, so many species that even I didn’t know what they were. Beautiful Angel Fish, so much sea life. Even though we were not there to spear fish, my son Wade brought his speargun down just in case. Check out these photos….
Within a few minutes we found what we came here for…….oh yeah……..
Oh Yeah, turns out they were too small, so we left them alone. We searched some more and I thought I saw what looked like tentacles. As I got ready to reach in the hole and pull the Lobster out, guess who peered out of his castle and gave me the look? “Yeah, stick your hand in here buddy”, it was a Spotted Moray Eel. Take a look…
I made a quick choice, it was better to leave him alone and move on. I told you before that Moray Eels have teeth that are curved back, so when they grab their prey, it doesn’t get away. Meanwhile, Wade found a nice rock ledge and was trying to get a Lobster out. In the struggle to get the Lobster out, Wade broke off his tentacles, then the little booger came out the other side of the rock for his getaway… take a look…
No fear, I gave chase and got that booger……We expanded our search and looked and looked. Again, there were sooooo many fish….mixed in with all those Snapper was a nice Hog Fish. He’s the fish with the black dot on his tail..
We searched some more and holy cow, did we find the honey hole. Look at them all. In the rocks, on the rocks, hanging upside down. Now this was going to take some planning to make sure that they didn’t all scatter. Wade and I have our underwater hand signals. We determined which ones we were going to get first and how we were going to get them. Wade and I have done this for years and we are, I feel, the best team. He knows what I am thinking and I know what he is thinking always….. Take a look at the honey hole…
Look at this next photo closely, see all those tiny little microscopic fish. They are so tiny. In the previous Boating Guides, we spoke about ecosystems within ecosystems. We spoke about the Sargasm Weed ecosystem way out in the Atlantic Ocean. We spoke about the ecosystem on the Gulf side at the ledges and holes. Now here we are on a completely different type of reef on the Atlantic Ocean side. Just amazing, all the life that is in this one spot. Wouldn’t it be nice for our kids, their kids, and future generations to be able to enjoy this too? That’s why it is so important to do your part in keeping our environment clean and encouraging others to do the same…..
Needless to say we had almost reached our limit of Lobster on this one rock. We took the biggest ones and of course did not touch the small ones, called “shorts”. We searched for a few more minutes and bingo, we found another rock full of Lobsters and a Grandpa Lobster - he was a big one!
While we were down there Wade saw a legal size Red Grouper. He gave me the hand signal, “can I shoot it”? I signaled back “sure, it’s legal”. Wade, in his stealthy way, snuck up on the Grouper which was sitting by a coral head. As Wade approached the Grouper, I was thinking in my head - wait for the clean shot, wait, wait. Wade got closer and closer, I was thinking in my head – wait, wait, make it a clean shot. I thought in my head – NOW Wade, NOW!!!!!!!! Within a second… BAM, Wade shot, a direct head shot, instant kill. No suffering on the fish’s part, and no thrashing around in the water to attract the sharks that live in this area. We had our limit of Lobster and Wade shot a nice Red Grouper. It was time to head to the boat and double check our Lobster to be sure they were all legal size. Check out the photos…
What a nice day’s catch… and time to head back in. What an amazing day; the sun was out, the water was calm and beautiful…
When we got back to the dock, we set out our Lobster and fish and took photos…….
Another fantastic day on the water.. Words cannot describe how beautiful the Florida Keys are. The weather for us on this trip was amazing. The fishing was amazing, the Lobstering was amazing. Our friends and families were amazing. The memories we all created here will be imprinted in our minds forever. For the kids to experience this, they will never forget this vacation full of boating, fishing, Lobstering , swimming on the reefs. These are things they will always remember…
If you ever make plans to go to the Keys, remember, I was raised there. I can tell you cool places to go to and see, things to do, charter boat captains to use, places to stay. I would be happy to share my knowledge with you.
There was one more day in the Keys full of snorkeling Alligator Light and boating, but I feel you all want to hear about the boating and places to go here locally in Southwest Florida. So look out for next week’s Boating Guide, some of you have sent me requests to write about certain places here, and boy, there are plenty. If you want to know where to go by boat for anything, you let me know and I’ll share my years of experience here on the water with you.
Remember to make time for your family and friends. Make a plan and work that plan. Life is so short.
Until next time make it a great day and even better weekend.
Shane “Waterfront” Wilson