We visited Marco for the month of August and arranged to spend 1/2 day fishing with Captain Joe on his boat Unreel early in our stay.
We have been on many fishing charters over the years, and I can say without hesitation that I have not come across such an experienced, helpful, entertaining and honest captain. On our first trip we were about half an hour out from dock when Joe cut the engines, and came to speak to us. The sea was pretty rough (though it was a beautiful bright day) and he felt it was only going to get rougher, so it was his recommendation that we abandon the trip and try again another day. We took his advice and returned a few days later.
We were due to head out ~14-15 miles into the Gulf in search of Grouper, but as we left the Marco river, Joe saw large numbers of birds circling. We made a bee line for the birds, who were feeding frantically on large bait balls. These fish were also being assaulted from below, by Spanish Mackerel. Joe, and his helpful mate Michael set up the rods to troll for these fish and off we went. Some of the fish we caught Joe said were as big as any he had seen. After an hour of so we had as many fish in the cooler as we could eat, so all further fish were released.
Everyone had a great time (and a fantastic lunch a the Sandbar who cooked some of the fish Michael has so expertly cleaned for us). We booked another trip with Joe later in our holiday, unfortunately the weather again intervened and Joe emailed me first thing in the morning to call the trip off - a great disappointment, but another example of Joe putting the safety and comfort of his clients ahead of his own financial well being.
The bottom line is, if you are visiting the Marco area and are looking for a fishing charter, look no further than Joe.
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