Key Largo

I just got home last night from a 5 day trip to Key Largo to visit my parents. 

It was an eventful 5 days, and we did not really do much relaxing. I arrived at around 7:00pm on Thursday night at Miami airport, which is in the midst of a large expansion and renovation project. There was a bit of confusion in finding my parents when I arrived, and my brother Chris tried to find me also, but after a short search (and the help of our cell phones) we were soon all together and on our way down to the Keys. Mom made me a couple burrittos in case I was hungry when I arrived (don't you just love that kind of treatment?). Dad told me to get a good nights rest because we were going out fishing early the next morning. We stopped to buy some bait and fishing licenses at Jacks, but for some strange reason my drivers license would not work. I will definitely need to get that checked out. Chris, Dad and I went to Hobo's and had a quick bite of food and a couple beers before going back home to bed. 

We got up around 6:00 on Friday and immediately began packing the boat with supplies. Lots of ice, beer, sandwiches, rods, etc. Soon we were on our way and it was obvious that this was going to be a very rough day on the water. We decided to give it a try anyway, and proceeded through Adams Cut then through the North Channel and headed out towards the Elbow Reef. 

The waves were about 8-10 ft., which is pretty rough water to be boating in. Once we hit 250ft of water (about 15 miles out), we took a northeast (60') course with me at the wheel, and Chris and Dad began to put out the rods. Our approach was to run two outriggers with Ballyhoo and a spinner straight back in the center of the boat. The two outriggers were out, and Dad was still putting out the spinner when we got a hit on one of the outriggers and the spinner. I slowed the boat down to idle as Chris and Dad each pulled in a nice Dolphin (Mahi-Mahi, Dorado)cows. We were very excited at that point, as it seemed like we were going to have a great day despite the rough water. We ran the northeast line until about Careys Fort marker, then turned around and reversed our course and ran back and forth a few times. In all, we ended up pulling in 2 more Dolphin cows as the water calmed down very slowly over the course of the day. One of the Dolphin that we pulled in got it's tail bitten off (we assume by a shark) on it's way to the boat! 


On the way back home we saw a boat that had launched itself about 30 ft. back into the mangroves. He must have been going way too fast. We were about to turn around and see if he needed any help, but he gave us the "a-ok" sign so we continued on. I hope that guy learned his lesson, since he is lucky that he did not hit another boat and kill or injure somebody. vqd4em2b

Back home Chris and I cleaned up the boat while dad cleaned the fish. We barbecued the fish, some in tinfoil and some directly on the barbecue. I didn't have any clue what to do with the fish, since I didn't prepare. All in all it came out pretty good though for winging it! Hard to beat fish that has never been frozen! We had a couple margarita's and ended up going to bed at around 9:00 since we could hardly stay awake any longer. 

Next morning we were off to the Nautical Flea Market, where we met our friends Vern and Linda Seaton. They arrived at the same time as us, and we wasted no time getting out to the exhibits. This flea market seems to have about anything you could possibly be looking for, marine wise. There were even docks and boat lifts here. I didn't end up buying too much. A couple of packages of shrink wrap wire connectors and some super spicy beef jerky. I asked the beef jerky seller to give me a taste of her hottest jerky, and she said nope...try this, and if you can handle it then we have 5 levels hotter. Well I tried it, and I decided that I had better not go any hotter! I'm still curious what the hottest one was like, but the stuff I bought was already barely edible. I like hot, but I'm not afraid to admit that there is stuff out there way too hot for me to handle. 

Back home, Chris and I really wanted to go for a swim so we all got on the boat (Vern and Linda were with us) and we went out to the bay for a swim. Chris and I bobbed on life vests and had a beer which cooled us off nicely. I had a bit of a sunburn from the day before, so I was careful not to stay out in the sun too long. We returned home and had a nice light dinner and spent the night relaxing. 

Sunday we headed back out to do some more fishing. 


The water was as smooth as glass, and the temperature was perfect too. We took the same route out as before, and went out about 20 miles this time to a depth of 300ft before heading NorthEast. Again we ran two outriggers with BallyHoo, and a spinner straight behind the boat. The water was very very calm and we weren't having any luck whatsoever. We ran a line from north of Careys Fort down to the Red Can with nothing. None of us were complaining, as it was an absolutely gorgeous day out and the beer was cold, so we were having a fun time anyhow. We changed tactics to fishing for Grouper with Lures, and passed over the reef just south of the Red Can a few times. A large grouper (assumed) hit a line, but I could not set the drag tight enough to stop him from getting down in the rocks and we lost him. A couple more hours of passing over the reef didn't get us any more hits so we decided to have a quick swim to cool down then try some bottom fishing. 2saogki4

We used pieces of Ballyhoo, shrimp and Squid to bottom fish in about 30 ft. of water. As soon as the bait hit the bottom and we began to raise it up about a foot off the ocean floor we would get hit. A lot of bait was robbed off of our hooks, but we were constantly pulling up fish or changing bait now. Many of the fish were ornamental (and quite beautiful) but Chris managed to get 6 grunts that we kept. He also caught a Strawberry grouper, but we did not keep it either. I kept getting the ornamental ones but that's okay...I had a blast anyway. After about 90 minutes the fishing slowed down and we decided to head back. We took the South Channel back to Adams cut this time, which we had not done yet this year. Back home we followed the same routine that worked so well on Friday, with Chris and I cleaning the boat while dad took care of the fish. Mom made a really nice dinner of Botana and cooked up the Grunts that we brought in. Mom and Dad's neighbors Ernie and Caroline joined us, and we told them all about the days events. 

Monday morning Chris and I headed down to Key West. We stopped in and said hi to our friends Vern and Linda in Marathon, then continued our way down the keys and arrived in Key West at about noon. After parking, our first stop was the "Hogs Breath" saloon, where we had a quick beer. From there, we looked in a few shops and found "Sloppy Joes", where we stopped and had a couple more beers. They have a cool webcam there that is pointed at the bar. From there, we went down the street to an outside bar called the Flying Monkey, where we tried a Pina Colada on the recommendation of a fellow patron. It was really good, and we enjoyed a nice cigar while we were there also. 


We moved down the street to Margaritaville, and tried out the signature margarita. We figured that the margaritas there would be spectacular, and although it was a very good margarita, it didn't exactly blow my socks off. I was impressed at the bartenders technique, and it reminded me of how badly I need to get a new boston shaker. I'm hoping to get this one. Next, we went to the Bull on the recommendation of Vern, and sat down for a beer. Chris and I each ordered a Blue Moon, which they served in a bottle with orange. As much as I normally like Blue Moon, I don't really care for it so much in the bottle (I like it draft), and the orange had way too thick a rind and ended up spoiling the taste of the beer. This place was pretty fun though, as the entertainer was quite crude and funny. A group came in and all 3 of the women flashed him. I'm not 100% sure, but I think that it was a girl, her mom and her grandma! The ages were about right. 

4kieakdjNext we went back to the Flying Monkey and ordered some Dolphin fingers and some peel and eat shrimp and a couple more of those delicious Pina Colada's. The dolphin was spectacular, but the shrimp had some kinda black stuff on it which grossed us out. I decided to stop drinking in order to drive home later, but we met a very nice guy that was on a medical ship and chatted with him for quite a while. We ended up going to one last place across the street with the medic before deciding to head back home. Somehow we got into the mood to be pirates and we Arrrrgghh'ed a few people as we made our way through town to the highway. 

The ride home was uneventful, and unfortunately we flew back home the next day. I'm really looking forward to going back next year!

© 2014 Dean Abraham