Two days of amazing fishing!
While preparing for my third guided fishing trip in Key West, I learned that my ‘go-to’ guide service had ceased operations. I began searching for a replacement guide service and after spending multiple hours reading Trip Advisor reviews, sorting through fishing discussion groups, reading blogs, etc., I became convinced that I wanted to fish with Key West Pro Guides. I called their office and a gregarious gent named Capt. Roc answered the phone and filled me in on everything that I needed to know about their outfit. He immediately followed up our call with an email that outlined our conversation and layed-out the specifics of the two days of fishing that I scheduled (dates and times, type of fishing, name of captains, style and size of boat, name of vessel, price, what to bring, cancellation policy, name and location of marina, etc.).
My group of four arrived at the marina for our first day of fishing a bit earlier than scheduled (we were raring to go!) and I figured that we’d be standing around a while as the final preps for the boat were made. Nope! We quickly found Capt. Tyson (hard to miss, he’s gotta be 6′ 2″ or better and looks like he’d be the winner of a hand-to-fin match up against a bull shark), who had the boat and gear fully set, and we immediately departed the dock. Capt. Tyson confirmed with us the species that we wanted to chase and we headed out to fill our live well with bait and then anchored off of a sunken submarine. Chum bag was placed in the water and our lines went in. Less than two minutes later, we had our first fish on!
The fight lasted a minute or two (a non-targeted bonita was the first fish to come up), but it came with a HUGE surprise… a giant bull shark followed the bonita all the way to the surface. Seeing the massive bull slowly glide by was very impressive and quite beautiful.
Not too long later, I hooked up with what we believe was a blackfin tuna. The fight was fun while it lasted, but Mr. Bull Shark was hungry and took my fish. That was the theme at the wreck- we traded fish with the sharks. It was the old game of “one for us, then one for them, then one for us, then one for them, etc.” However, we did manage to get several fish past the sharks and into the boat.
One of our anglers was floating a bunker at the surface in the chum slick and was slowly letting line out by hand. We saw a disturbance a couple hundred feet behind the boat and then WHACK! A sailfish took the bunker and the drag on the reel started to scream as the sail headed towards Cuba. Capt. Tyson ordered “Lines up!” and all 6’ 2”+ of him started sprinting around the boat to get us on the chase- we quickly tied the anchor line to a buoy, started the engines, and went after the sailfish. It was a great fight with lots of aerials! There were several boats anchored at the sub, but ours was the center of attention as the sailfish put on its show. After a thrilling fight, Capt. Tyson touched the leader (making the catch official) and released the sail to grow bigger and come back for another fight on a future day.
We left the sub and headed to a reef to target yellowtail snapper. We had constant action and quickly took enough fish for many, many meals.
Back at the dock, our group sat down at the marina’s restaurant and had a tremendous meal as Capt. Tyson filleted our catch. It was a great day and left us looking forward to our scheduled backcountry trip the following morning.