We love fishing the beautiful, clear blue waters around Key West. And we can't say enough good things about the day of fishing we recently experienced with Captain Mike O'Brien. We caught lemon shark, barracuda, and bonnethead shark, plus Captain Mike pointed out sea turtles and stingrays. My husband hooked a big tarpon, as well, but it pulled off.
Captain Mike's boat is clean and neat and well-organized. The engine was in top shape and Captain Mike certainly knows the waters in the Keys like the back of his hand. Mike is a friendly guy who is only too willing to do whatever it takes to help you catch fish.
The day of fishing which we booked was a day of flats fishing in which the captain, your guide, stands on a platform at the rear of the boat and scouts for fish in the shallows as he poles the craft around the flats. On a day such as the one we fished when the wind was blowing wildly, the guide will both pole his craft and direct it into the wind currents to keep clients in areas that the guide knows, historically, have held fish. Mike had us on fish all day, but the wind and cooler than normal weather served to help make fish a bit spookier than they normally were. Still, we had a great time and had more than enough action to suit our tastes. My husband caught a 30-lb. lemon shark and a 15-lb. barracuda, while I caught a 10- to 12-pound bonnethead shark and had another bonnethead break off of my line when the fish got tangled in Captain Mike's trolling motor.
We fished mainly with lures -- hogies, topwaters, etc. -- but Captain Mike also had a few live crabs at our disposal in case we spotted a permit, which we did not.
In years past we had wanted to fly-fish Key West for tarpon and other big game species, but once there we realized that our background as Midwest and western trout anglers had not prepared us for the big water -- and huge winds -- of the Florida flats country near Key West. Not that we couldn't have done it -- we might have been able to do so -- but by the time we would have mastered the knack of casting heavy flies on heavy rods great distances, I fear we would have been worn out and unable to last for an entire day. So, spin-fishing it was and spin-fishing with Captain Mike provided us with a wonderful adventure on the crystalline Key West waters.
As with all of the Keys guides we've fished with, Captain Mike provides clients only with water. If clients want lunch or soda or other beverages, they are requested to provide them.
Be reminded, however, that there are no nearby bathroom facilities, although Captain Mike always tries to accommodate those who have to 'go' while out on his boat. Still, it's best to understand this simple fact of fishing life before heading out with Captain Mike or any captain, for that matter.
If you own or manage Michael O'Brien Charters - Private Tours, register now for free tools to enhance your listing, attract new reviews, and respond to reviewers.