Riding the Waves in Paradise

Welcome to our corner of true paradise! There is nothing in the world like being out on the water in the Florida Keys. Anytime I can be on the boat is my favorite time to go boating or fishing! The older I get, the more I enjoy just going to the sandbars on the weekends and hanging out with my friends. Watching the sun disappear over the horizon is one of the most spectacular things the Keys have to offer. I suggest taking full advantage of our incredible views, as well as getting in some quality fishing time. It’s good for the soul. A perfect day is being on a boat, feeling the fresh and invigorating breeze as the salt-water spray fills your senses. 

When it’s time for lunch, you’ll want to stop and enjoy the great food of our Keys restaurants. Some of my favorite spots are Kiki Sandbar on Big Pine Key, Hogfish Bar & Grill and Perry Hotel on Stock Island. Of course, grilling on the boat is a wonderful way to dine with friends or loved ones. Don’t forget the cold beverages! 

When you’re heading out on the water, you want to be sure your boat is properly maintained. Here are some safety tips: 

1. Check all your safety gear before going out. 
2. File a float plan with a friend or neighbor. 
3. Even if you have a brand-new boat, purchase tow boat U.S. or Sea Tow membership. Neighbors and locals are helpful, but it’s always better to be self-sufficient. 
4. Make sure you take enough provisions for everyone on board, and keep everyone hydrated. 
5. GPS monitor locators are cheap, and in an emergency, you have a way to send a distress call quickly. A newer GPS with the local chart card makes navigating much easier and is a lot less expensive than having motor damage. 

Remember, we live on a rock! Preventative maintenance is the best way to prolong the investment of a boat. We live in an area where the sun and salt are just brutal on boats. Annual services are great for catching things that may be deteriorating. Since the four-stroke engine came along, people stopped pulling the cowling off, because the motors just start automatically. It used to be with the old two-smokers, the cowling was off just to leave the dock, so boaters were more aware of corrosion or water leaks. So be aware that just because you can’t see it happening, does not mean there aren’t issues arising. Also, detailing your boat on a windy day, or having it professionally done, will help with upkeep on the interior. 

If fishing is your thing, you’re in the right place. Florida Keys is known for having some of the best fishing spots in the world. For sport fish, we have the occasional Marlin, Sailfish, Bonefish, Tarpon, and Permit. These are targeted for catch and release. For Pelagic fish that make a great supper, there are Mahi Mahi (dolphin, dorado), Wahoo, and Blackfin tuna. Occasionally, you’ll hear of someone catching a yellowfin tuna or bluefin tuna. 

The fast-growing Deep Drop fishing industry offers some snowy grouper, swordfish, tilefish and rosy snapper. On the edge of the reef and on the patch, there is plentiful grouper (red, gag, and black are the most targeted), yellowtail and mangrove snapper, mutton, and the occasional red snapper. On the patch reefs within free diving range, most fishermen go after Hogfish snapper. In the backcountry for flats boat fishing, the most targeted are barracuda sharks, sea trout, bonefish, permit, and sometimes snook. Most people come down here for offshore trolling as we are known for having some of the best in the world. 

There are a multitude of Fishing Charters with knowledgeable captains and guides all throughout the Keys, ready to assist you with whatever you need. Remember, you’re in paradise. So be sure to take time to soak in the sun and enjoy your time out on the water. The sun feels different here, and you’ll never want to be anywhere else.