To say that one has just been fishing in Key West is akin to claiming that one has just taken the subway in New York – it’s what you do, right? As Jimmy Buffet, the local sage and legend puts it, “We go fishing in the ocean, We go travelling back in time, Like the song says teach your children, To go fishing with their mind..”
So, yes, I am not embarrassed to say that I have just been fishing in Key West, not for the first time granted, I have been out in the Gulf surf various times before over the years, I am, if truth be told, an ocean going predator more marked by enthusiasm than by art or craft. Still, I enjoy the challenge and this time I chartered a vessel, a small but handsome craft skippered by Eric Cline and his keen eyed expert mate Gerry. Indeed if such ageless expertise can be mustered by any of the other crews in the Key, I would like to meet them.
That is not to decry the general standard of skippers and crews on the Key, who teem like so many silver fish. The standard is very high here and the quality of crews superb compared to, say the Caribbean or West Africa. It is just that this crew happen to be stand out acts. On nodding terms with Neptune himself, these two manage to deploy a laid back and yet hugely knowledgeable battery of skills. Relaxed and easygoing they are superb hosts and excellent company.
Time slides by at a pace wholly in keeping with the Keys. Conversation is chilled, not overdone and ripe with gems of nautical expertise made understandable and interesting to the lay ear - the weather, the tide, the wind, the migratory patterns of different species, the likelihood of catching, pointing out dolphins, sharks and weird marine sights – all these nuggets colour and enrich the ebb and flow of the day.
If then, you are looking for a day spent fishing in the Keys with two experts who, if you happen to be expert yourself, will challenge your skill levels and if you happen to be a beginner, will help you enjoy a day of learning, of excitement of fun without leaving you feeling like a chump.
Better still maybe, if your skills levels languish lumpenly in the middle band, maybe you used to fish and the embers of, if not expertise, then solid average ability are still there, then this crew will help rekindle that enthusiasm, the rush, that keen thrill of a “fish on” that, for those paid up members of the fishing family regardless of rank, few other thrills in life can challenge.
Custom Charters have it down and if you are new to the Keys and wish to find a vessel to fish with, one that stands out in a crowded high quality regatta of alternatives, make it easy on yourselves and check these guys out.
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