Go Wild Outdoors in the Keys

March 10, 2016 at 3:39 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

KeyDeer1 (1)

By Sue Cocking, Guy Harvey Outpost staff writer

scocking@guyharveyoutpost.com

When most people visit the  Florida Keys, fishing and diving are foremost in mind.  But there is a heck of a lot more to take in on the wild side of this 110-mile long island chain than visitors might think:  four national wildlife refuges with a cornucopia of animals, birds, plants and insects to observe up close.

From March 17-20, families, nature photographers, birders and other outdoors enthusiasts are invited to the inaugural Outdoor Fest–four days of mostly free events showcasing unique flora and fauna from Key Largo to Key West.

Attendees will be able to take a behind-the-scenes kayak tour of the Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge in Key Largo; observe beautiful sea birds at the Great White Heron National Wildlife Refuge in the Lower Keys; watch miniature endangered Key deer at the refuge named for the species on Big Pine Key; and go birding, sailing, snorkeling and kayaking in the Key West National Wildlife Refuge.

Other activities include a 12-mile natural history bike hike on Big Pine; geocaching; a 5K “Run with the Deer”; art and photography workshops; art and craft fair; walking tours; and a nighttime ‘moth-whisperer’ event.

The event is presented by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s Florida Keys National Wildlife Refuges Complex and its booster organization, the Friends and Volunteers of Refuges (FAVOR).

“There’s so much overlap of government land down here,” said Kristie Killam, a park ranger with the Refuges Complex.  “We wanted to create an identity for ourselves.  We hope this is a way to educate people on how magnificent these four chunks of land are.”

Refuge biologists will introduce visitors to rarely-seen insects, reptiles and birds, including a tour of nest boxes erected for the endangered Key Largo wood rat.  And Killam especially recommends the evening presentations.

“All these night creatures will come in that you never get to see,” she said.  “It’s amazing what you see that you never thought of.”

Additional activities are planned before and after the festival.  For a complete schedule and to register for events, go to:  www.favorfloridakeys.org/outdoor-fest.

*****************

   Sue Cocking chronicles the Guy Harvey Outpost travel and adventure experience in regular blog posts on GuyHarveyOutpostNews.com/.  For 21 years, Cocking covered the full spectrum of outdoors adventure opportunities in South Florida and beyond for the Miami Herald, including fishing, diving, hunting, paddling camping, sailing and powerboat racing.  She is a certified scuba diver and holder of an IGFA women’s world fly fishing record for a 29-pound permit. 

**********

  Share your photos, videos and experiences with Guy Harvey Outpost by hash tagging #OutpostAttitude to all of your social media posts.

Get the Stu Apte Edge in the Blazing Mako

March 3, 2016 at 8:34 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , ,

StuBy Sue Cocking, Guy Harvey Outpost staff writer

scocking@guyharveyoutpost.com

A little over one year ago at the 2015 Miami International Boat Show, a handful of luminaries from the sport fishing industry, including Dr. Guy Harvey, assembled in a meeting hall to roast Stu Apte– then 84 years old. They cracked goofy and ribald jokes about his age, health, crankiness, fishing abilities, and anything else they could think of in the way of deprecating humor.  Apte was a good sport throughout and even came back with some witty barbs of his own.

Fast-forward to March 2016 and you will find that the leading pioneer of light tackle and fly rod fishing in the Florida Keys and beyond has slowed down not a whit.  The 85-year-old former fishing guide and airline pilot recently won one of the top awards in a prestigious Islamorada back country fishing tournament competing against anglers one-quarter his age.  He’s introducing a new line of signature fly rods from 4- to 13-weight by Tycoon Tackle and new signature fly reels by 3-TAND.  He’ll celebrate his 15th wedding anniversary with wife Jeannine in May, followed by a ten-day fishing trip to Cuba.

But Apte will be back in Islamorada just in time to fish with YOU (!!!) –in the Blazing Mako Tournament and Festival on Father’s Day weekend June 16-19 at the Islander, a Guy Harvey Outpost Resort.

The Blazing Mako is conducting an auction where the highest bidder will get to fish the one-day back country tournament June 18 with Apte and one of his favorite Islamorada guides, veteran captain Steve Thomas.  With Thomas poling the skiff and pointing out fish, and Apte coaching (or not), your chances of winning cash and trophies in this catch-measure-photograph-release competition increase exponentially.

CLICK HERE TO BID ON THE STU APTE AUCTION!

            With optimum fishing conditions expected in June, you should be able to find plenty of tarpon, snook, and other inshore species, according to Apte, who promises not to be a fish hog.

“They are going to be on the casting platform,” Apte said of the auction winner.  “I’m going to help them.  I’ll back them up with a spinning rod.  If they want me to demonstrate on fly rod, I’ll do it.  Whatever makes them happy.  I’m really excited.”

Money raised from the auction will benefit marine science scholarships at Nova Southeastern University’s Halmos College of Natural Sciences and Oceanography through the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation.

‘Fish whisperer’ won’t be Apte’s only function at the Blazing Mako.  He’ll join other top local guides at a seminar at Angler House Marina, where inshore tournament boats will launch. And he will dedicate his signature cocktail — the Stu Apte Rum Dumb Boogie Punch–as the event’s official beverage.

In the unlikely event that you are not familiar with Apte’s fishing credentials:

-Since the 1950’s, he has held more than 44 saltwater light tackle and fly rod world records.

– He’s a member of the Fishing Hall of Fame (1969); the International Game Fish Association Hall of Fame (2005); and the Fly Fishing Hall of Fame (2012).

– His Stu Apte tarpon fly adorned a U.S postage stamp in 1991.

-He has written numerous fishing articles for national and regional publications; published three books; and appeared in scores of television fishing programs.

Best of all, Apte developed the “down-and-dirty” style of fighting large tarpon– an effective technique to shorten the battle by pulling the fish in the opposite direction of where it wants to go.

Be the top bidder, and learn this and other tricks from the master himself.

Don’t miss out on this chance to fish with one of the world’s true mater anglers – Stu Apte! Go HERE now to bid!

******************

 Sue Cocking chronicles the Guy Harvey Outpost travel and adventure experience in regular blog posts on GuyHarveyOutpostNews.com/.  For 21 years, Cocking covered the full spectrum of outdoors adventure opportunities in South Florida and beyond for the Miami Herald, including fishing, diving, hunting, paddling camping, sailing and powerboat racing.  She is a certified scuba diver and holder of an IGFA women’s world fly fishing record for a 29-pound permit. 

**********

        Share your photos, videos and experiences with Guy Harvey Outpost by hash tagging #OutpostAttitude to all of your social media posts.

Get Your AARGH on with Guy Harvey Outpost Outfitter Full Moon Treasure Dives

February 10, 2016 at 2:44 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , , ,

gvilleBy Sue Cocking, Guy Harvey Outpost staff writer

scocking@guyharveyoutpost.com

The treasure won’t consist of authentic pieces of eight, nor will it be buried. But divers will still get to hunt for some special hidden coins at two popular South Florida dive sites under the full moon Feb. 22 and then redeem them for Guy Harvey swag and other prizes, including scuba trips and gear.

This month’s Guy Harvey Outpost Full Moon Treasure Dive is the first of a series of monthly night dives being conducted by Outpost Outfitters South Florida Diving Headquarters in Pompano Beach and Capt. Slate’s Scuba Adventures in Tavernier, Florida Keys.  Enough coins will be sprinkled around the dive sites so that everyone has a shot at taking home a prize.  A grand prize of a three-night lodging package at Hotel Playa Media Luna, a Guy Harvey Outpost expedition property in Isla Mujeres, Mexico will be awarded at season’s end.

Captain Jeff Torode of South Florida Diving Headquarters plans to host a one-tank dive departing from his new dock at Sands Harbor Resort at 6 p.m. to the wreck of the Ancient Mariner, 70 feet deep off Pompano Beach.  Upon returning to the dock, divers will exchange their coins for prizes and enjoy a waterside after-party at the tiki bar.

Captain Spencer Slate will conduct a one-tank dive departing at 6 p.m. from his Tavernier headquarters to the popular Davis Reef, about 30 feet deep off Islamorada.  In addition to hunting for hidden treasure coins, divers may enjoy a visit with Wasabi– a large, friendly green moray eel who frequents the reef.  (Don’t worry; Wasabi isn’t interested in grabbing a share of the treasure.)  An after-party and prize-giving will be held at Slate’s dock, followed by an optional after-after party at the nearby Morada Bay Resort in Islamorada.

For reservations or more information, call 1-800-513-5257.

*****************

Sue Cocking chronicles the Guy Harvey Outpost travel and adventure experience in regular blog posts on GuyHarveyOutpostNews.com/.  For 21 years, Cocking covered the full spectrum of outdoors adventure opportunities in South Florida and beyond for the Miami Herald, including fishing, diving, hunting, paddling camping, sailing and powerboat racing.  She is a certified scuba diver and holder of an IGFA women’s world fly fishing record for a 29-pound permit. 

**********

Share your photos, videos and experiences with Guy Harvey Outpost by hash tagging #OutpostAttitude to all of your social media posts.

Capt. Slate’s ‘Creature Feature’ Dive – New Location, New Thrills

September 22, 2015 at 1:58 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , ,

Slate

By Sue Cocking, Guy Harvey Outpost Staff Writer

(Tavernier, FL)  The five-foot-long green moray eel glides out of its coral reef cave and heads straight for the ballyhoo that Captain Spencer Slate dangles from two gloved fingers.  The eel quickly gulps the bait then allows Slate to cradle it in his arms and stroke its slick sides.  Slate holds the eel out to a ten-year-old diver sitting nearby who gives it a pat, and it returns to its cave.

“A sweetheart, a doll,” Slate says later of the eel, who he has named Wasabi.

Slate has been making friends with eels, sharks, barracudas, Goliath groupers, and numerous other Upper Keys reef denizens since the late 1970s.  His twice-weekly ‘creature feature’ feeding dives on Fridays and Sundays conducted from Captain Slate’s Scuba Adventures Dive Center, a Guy Harvey Outpost outfitter in Tavernier, regularly draws a sell-out audience.

On a recent Sunday, two families from Fort Pierce– both with newly certified scuba diving ten-year-old daughters– travelled to the Keys for the third time to participate.  Both girls thoroughly enjoyed the dive, and declared they would share photos and videos upon returning to school.

“They were cute!” one girl said of Wasabi and Lester, another green moray befriended by Slate.

Slate escorted his guests to the first dive at Davis Reef, a shallow, scenic coral ledge about 25 feet deep where Wasabi makes her home.  Slate dropped to the bottom carrying a PVC canister filled with chum and bally hoo, quickly attracting a school of yellowtail snapper and grunts that followed the scent trail.

The captain stopped in front of a shallow cave near a large Southern stingray that rested half-buried in the sand and kept a wary eye on the food fest.  The swarming snapper and grunts were so thick around the chum canister that the divers could barely see Slate.  The divers settled down in the sand to see what would happen next.

10924171_770345289702868_1772420048942809884_o

Wasabi appeared pretty quickly after Slate took out the first bally hoo.  Her jaws flexed open and closed as she approached the bait, then devoured it.  She held pretty still for all the public displays of affection by the humans, then went back to her cave to digest the meal.  She never snapped at anybody.

The stingray, tired of the hoopla, slowly dusted itself off and swam away.

Slate let the schooling fish have their way in the chum slick for a little while, then got out another bally hoo for Wasabi.  She re-emerged from her cave, ate her snack, indulged the divers, then departed.

None of Slate’s guests has been injured by his featured creatures in decades, but he has. Following numerous nips to the fingers requiring multiple visits to a hand surgeon over the years, Slate began wearing chain-mail gloves.  Even today, he has very little feeling in his digits. Trying to feed barracudas bally hoo clasped between his teeth, Slate has suffered split lips, a black eye and a severed nerve in his cheek.

“Like getting  a haymaker from Sonny Liston,” he said.

A Goliath grouper he fed regularly at the wreck of the City of Washington off Key Largo once swallowed his arm and part of his head in its haste to score a meal.

He just laughs off the injuries and vows to keep hanging with the sea life.

“You know me.  If I find an eel, I am going to make a buddy out of it,” he said.

On the second dive with the group from Fort Pierce, Slate headed to nearby Pleasure Reef where he is trying to cultivate a more solid friendship with Lester, another moray.  Lester responded a bit slowly to the offered bally hoo and didn’t want to hang around too long for the requisite love fest.  But he didn’t display any hostility, just shyness.

During that dive, the guests also spotted a large nurse shark and a sea turtle passing by. Nobody was scared — just excited.

That’s the whole purpose behind the creature feature, Slate said — showing visitors that residents of the underwater world are not out to get them.

“I’ve done this my whole life, so people will respect them and get over the idea they’ll eat you alive,” Slate said.

That message certainly went a long way with two very exhilarated ten-year-old girls.

Sue Cocking chronicles the Guy Harvey Outpost travel and adventure experience in regular blog posts on GuyHarveyOutpostNews.com/.  For 21 years, Cocking covered the full spectrum of outdoors adventure opportunities in South Florida and beyond for the Miami Herald, including fishing, diving, hunting, paddling, camping, sailing, and powerboat racing.  She is a certified scuba diver and holder of an IGFA women’s world fly fishing record for a 29-pound permit.

Guy Harvey Outpost’s Islander Resort Profiled in “Southern Boating” Magazine

September 17, 2015 at 8:14 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

IslanderBeachThe following article appears courtesy of Southern Boating magazine.

“If it swims, I’ve caught it! How’s that for a one liner?” he chuckles. His white mustache is Tom Selleck-esque, and the sparkle in his blue eyes intimates wisdom, adventure… and a bit of trouble. Sitting in his office at the Bud N’ Mary’s Marina in Islamorada, Florida—the walls covered with pictures of himself, friends, family, celebrities, and the fish he’s caught—Richard Stanczyk captivates me with countless tales of the sea in his 50-plus years as an angler, captain, guide, and owner of the marina. Stanczyk is a bit of a celebrity himself. He’s often credited for reinventing swordfishing and once caught seven of these gladiators in a single day.

I’ve come to visit to talk about Guy Harvey Outpost Resorts & Lodges (GHO) and their expeditions—organized trips for adventure-oriented travelers. The expeditions are a new product for the brand, created “given the time poverty prevalent in everyone’s life,” says Mark Ellert, president of GHO. There’s “Mako Mexico” to follow and tag a shark off Isla Mujeres; “Panama Trifecta Safari” for a chance to tailor your experience on three fishing machines; and “Fish Daze Islamorada,” a three-day adventure with Stanczyk to battle swordfish and tarpon. (More expeditions are available and some are in the making in Central America and the Galapagos Islands.) “I’ve had the pleasure of taking Guy Harvey fishing,” Stanczyk says. “We had a stellar day. We ended up catching four of these giant swordfish.”

Guy Harvey—marine biologist, artist, diver, and conservationist—has come to embody the ocean lifestyle. Ellert saw the opportunity to create a lodging brand that would resonate with families and the salt life, and the Guy Harvey Outpost was born. Current destinations include The Bahamas; Isla Mujeres, Mexico; Dominica and Little Cayman Island in the Caribbean; and Isabela in the Galapagos—a project on the easternmost side of the island is also underway. In the U.S., GHO locations are only in Florida so far. The first was the TradeWinds Beach Resort in St. Petersburg Beach on the Gulf of Mexico. A new spot is set to open in this fall in St. Augustine on the Atlantic Ocean. A freshwater resort with RV campground and marina on Lake Okeechobee is also planned for 2017. Then there’s the Islander Resort in Islamorada—it joined the GHO brand in 2014—with unique access to the bay and the ocean.

The Islander Resort offers two locations: on MM 82 (Oceanside) and MM 81 (Bayside). With 114 guestrooms that spread across 25 acres, the Oceanside exudes the island resort feel that one expects in the Florida Keys. Past the reception area, pristine white sand paves the way—with scattered palm trees from which hammocks hang—to rooms with a screened front porch and full kitchen. Chirping birds and conservation quotations from famous characters accompany you while the salty sea tang lures you closer to the beach. The typical Jimmy buffet melodies hint of the two pools’ proximity and Guy’s Beachside Bar & Grill—Fish Daze participants get to dine with Stanczyk right here, a “truly memorable opportunity to hear Richard some incredible fishing tales,” says Ellert. (I second that.) the restaurant will cook your catch of the day—Harvey’s words on the menu remind you of ocean preservation just like in the rooms.

The Islander Watersports (IW) by the pier has water toys galore—all the GHOs do. There, Donna Warwas and her friend, Joni Taylor, are looking for fun while their husbands are out fishing on a Bud N’ Mary’s charter boat. “What do you have for women like us in their fifties?” Warwas, a petite brunette asks Jaime sanders, a tan and toned IW attendant. They settle for kayaking from the bayside (“it’s calmer,” says sanders) and a snorkeling trip to Cheeca Rocks Reef, a shallow site less than five miles away. Wave runners, sailboats, aqua cycles, and three 18 to 29-foot powerboats are also available. Sanders says she sends boaters to the sandbar right off Whale Harbor bridge on mm 83. “It’s ankle deep, the kids can snorkel and the dogs can play,” she adds. “There’s also the Alligator [Reef] Lighthouse. It’s only six feet deep and it’s St. Thomas [U.S.V.I.]-beautiful.” She advises using Whale Harbor rather than Tea Table Channel bridge on mm 79.1 to go from the bay to the ocean because the latter is lower. Rent a mooring ball on the Oceanside for boats up to 30 feet, or dock on the bayside complete with 14 slips (for boats up to 24 feet), fish cleaning stations and shore power—guests must stay at one of the 25 bayside townhomes to use a slip. There’s no onsite ramp but plenty nearby, and trailers may be stored on the Oceanside property by the Florida Keys Conference Center.

The bayside has more of a private property feel. Colorful two-story townhouses are lined up leading to the docks, the small saltwater pool and beach area. Standing aboard his flats boat, Daniel Brotzky, a husky red-haired man in his early 30s with an infectious laugh, is getting ready for another relaxing outing to the sandbar. It’s his fi rst time at the Islander and he’s beyond ecstatic, most likely due to his recent engagement (wedding scheduled for January 9th). “You’ve got everything you need—you’ve got your home feel with the townhome, the bay, the ocean… the markers are all right there,” Brotsky says. “It’s a beautiful dock with easy access and [the slip rental] is dirt cheap!”

Back at Bud N’ Mary’s, Stanczyk ponders the Islander. “I have a lot of respect for the owner David [Curry]. They’ve maintained what I call the ‘character’ of the Florida Keys, and when you go to the Islander… you find their own feeling of the Keys.”

Help Guy Harvey Outpost Volunteers Clean Up the Keys

September 15, 2015 at 3:50 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , ,

11990489_10154198595179027_1235612983481628913_n            By Sue Cocking, Guy Harvey Outpost Staff Writer

Some staff members of Islander Resort, a Guy Harvey Outpost in Islamorada plan to don work gloves, long pants and sun hats to join hundreds of others collecting trash along U.S. Highway 1 and ocean and bayside beaches on Sept. 19.

The Florida Keys Scenic Corridor Alliance has partnered with the Ocean Conservancy for the 30th anniversary of the International Coastal Cleanup– a one-day effort that last year attracted 560,000 volunteers in 91 countries who picked up more than 16 million pounds of trash.

For this year’s cleanup, teams will fan out along the entire 110-mile U.S. 1 corridor and adjacent beaches from Key Largo to Key West, clearing roadsides and waterfronts of trash and debris.  Some employees of the Islander are expected to join a team organized by the Islamorada Chamber of Commerce cleaning the area from Tavernier Creek Bridge to the Channel 5 Bridge including Sea Oats Beach, Anne’s Beach, and Indian Key Fills.  If you would like to help, call or email Judy Hull, executive director of the Islamorada chamber at 305-664-4503/director@islamoradachamber.com.

Discarded plastic items — flip-flops, water bottles, bags, and popped balloons–are a serious environmental and ecological problem worldwide, with more than seven million tons ending up in the world’s oceans.  Not just an eyesore, they sicken and kill sea birds and marine mammals.

For more information about the Coastal Cleanup, visit the Ocean Conservancy’s web site!

Sue Cocking chronicles the Guy Harvey Outpost travel and adventure experience in regular blog posts on GuyHarveyOutpostNews.com/.  For 21 years, Cocking covered the full spectrum of outdoors adventure opportunities in South Florida and beyond for the Miami Herald, including fishing, diving, hunting, paddling, camping, sailing and powerboat racing.  She is a certified scuba diver and holder of an IGFA women’s world fly fishing record for a 29-pound permit.

“Underwater Realism” Art Course Offered at Islander Resort In Islamorada

September 14, 2015 at 2:07 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , ,

RoysterBJ03tn-300x278Islamorada artist BJ Royster will unlock the creative process in you in a relaxed, informative and creative manner. This class is for designed for complete beginners, as well as those artists who want to enhance their knowledge and discipline within the creative process. You will take home a Keys reef scene on 11 x 14 stretched canvas.

WHAT: “Underwater Realism” art course

WHEN: Thurs, Oct 8, 22, Nov 5, 19; 1 – 4 pm

HOW MUCH: $165 REGISTRATION (Materials Included)

Born and raised in South Florida, BJ is recognized as a foremost artist specializing in reefs. After overcoming a fear of diving, she became a certified SCUBA diver and now translates the underwater beauty to her canvases. Her award winning work can be seen around the world, in several publications, and in her gallery, BJ Royster Ocean Gallery in Islamorada.

CALL 800.513.5257 TO RESERVE YOUR ROOM AT THE ISLANDER AT OUR INCREDIBLE WEEKDAY RATES!

Fall: Prime Time for Flats Fishing in the Keys and Bahamas!

September 10, 2015 at 6:17 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

“Flats Slam” by Guy Harvey.

By Sue Cocking, Guy Harvey Outpost staff writer

Late summer/early autumn is prime time for flats fishing in the Keys and the Bahamas.  With few visiting anglers and plenty of bonefish, you have the shallow, target-rich environment pretty much to yourself.  And in the Keys, you’ll also get shots at tarpon and permit, raising hopes of a flats grand slam.

Fall brings higher tides and cooler waters, expanding the territory of feeding bonefish that spent less time foraging on the flats in the searing summer heat.

You can sight-fish for them from a poled skiff or you can simply stake out up current from a sand-and-grass-dotted flat and wait for them to feed into the tide.  By far, the best bait is a live shrimp with the tail pinched off fished on light line with a split shot for added casting distance.  To better your chances, carry dozens more live shrimp than you need for bait, cut them into pieces and toss them out as chum.

The islands of the Bahamas present your best chance of catching and releasing a bonefish on fly rod.  With seemingly endless shallow-water habitat and abundant fish of all sizes unaccustomed to encountering most fly patterns, the islands allow the novice angler to make plenty of mistakes, learn from them quickly, and eventually capture the prize.

Bonefish are fun to catch on the flats on any kind of tackle because of their warp-speed, drag-screaming runs after you hook them. Keep your line tight and a bend in the rod, and eventually you’ll catch up to them.

Bonefishing  is big business in the both the Keys and Bahamas, generating tens of millions of dollars in economic impact each year.  In the Keys, anglers fishing the ocean sides of Islamorada and Key Largo can pretty much expect to encounter bonefish most days, but the fishery has suffered declines in the Florida Bay back country over the past decade. Anglers and guides want to know why and what can be done to reverse the trend. The non-profit Bonefish Tarpon Trust has commissioned a study by scientists from Florida International University to look into everything from water quality to prey availability to determine the causes and identify solutions.  The researchers are also surveying and interviewing bonefish enthusiasts from Biscayne Bay through the Lower Keys to chronicle their experiences.

In the Bahamas, the government recently announced draft legislation that would impose licenses and fees on foreigners fishing for bonefish and require operators of fishing lodges to be citizens or permanent residents of the Bahamas.  Bonefish Tarpon Trust– in collaboration with scores of anglers, guides, scientists, conservationists and lodge operators– countered with its own recommendations for a comprehensive conservation and management plan for the species.  The government is mulling over those suggestions.

Completing the flats grand slam with tarpon and permit is more than doable in the Keys in early fall, especially if you use live bait.

The onset of cold fronts to the north pushes huge schools of forage fish such as mullet, pilchards, sardines and glass minnows south along ocean and bay waters in the Keys, with tarpon happily chasing and devouring them.  These ‘silver kings’ are not as large as the monsters typically encountered in the spring and summer migrations, but they are sporty enough on 20-pound tackle.  Your best bet for a spectacular experience is to use a live mullet hooked with a circle hook through the upper lip and rigged with a float along the edges of flats, in channels and around the U.S. 1 bridges.

Tarpon typically pile on the mullet, crashing, splashing and leaping while you hang on tight and let the fish have its way.  The moment it lets up, you put the heat on it.

The experience is so addictive that a veteran Keys guide once said that if tarpon could only be found in the Himalayas, anglers and guides wouldn’t hesitate to follow them there.

Permit, with an oval-shaped silver and yellow body and black sickle tail, is more common in the Lower Keys than the Upper Keys, but you still stand a decent chance of catching one in the northern regions.

These bulldogs of the flats rarely hesitate to gulp a live crab cast in front of their noses.  But accounts are rampant of anglers making bad casts to the fish’s tail only to have it whirl around and inhale the bait.  For sight-fishing, the best locations are narrow strip banks along both the ocean and bay sides of the Keys with hard bottom and a strong current.  Permit also can be found in channels and around bridges waiting to pounce on crabs sweeping by on the tide.

Trying to catch them on the flats with a fly rod can end up being a lifelong quest similar to the 100 Years War.  Tame your bucket list to include live crabs, and you will not be disappointed.

Sue Cocking chronicles the Guy Harvey Outpost travel and adventure experience in regular blog posts on GuyHarveyOutpostNews.com/.  For 21 years, Cocking covered the full spectrum of outdoors adventure opportunities in South Florida and beyond for the Miami Herald, including fishing, diving, hunting, paddling, camping, sailing and powerboat racing.  She is a certified scuba diver and holder of an IGFA women’s world fly fishing record for a 29-pound permit.

Guy Harvey Outpost Offering Front Row Seat to Florida Keys Coral Spawning

August 17, 2015 at 12:33 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
Tags: , , ,

NOAAIt looks like a brilliant fireworks display, except it’s underwater.  In the middle of the night several days after the August 29 full moon, boulder corals all along the Florida Keys reef tract get together to do the wild thing.  And you are invited to watch.

These simultaneous acts of coral sex make for spectacular viewing.  Millions of tiny white bb’s erupt from the polyps of large mounds of coral, scattering bundles of eggs and sperm into the water.  Many are immediately consumed by marauding schools of shiny silver pilchards– hence the fireworks effect. And the swarming pilchards attract larger predators such as barracuda and tarpon to the fray. The lucky coral gametes that manage to survive the fish fest fertilize one another to create larvae which eventually settle to the bottom to form new coral reefs.

For a front-row seat on the nights of Sept. 3 and 4, make a reservation with Captain Slate’s Scuba Adventures Dive Center in Tavernier (305-451-3020).  The crew will escort you to one of several reefs about 25 feet deep where you have the greatest chance of watching coral reproduce.

However, it’s never a sure thing where Mother Nature is involved; the annual spawning is triggered by various cues that are not well understood such as lunar cycle, water temperature and tides.  But the good news is that scientists correctly forecast that staghorn coral would spawn the first week of August– and they did on Aug. 5 in the Coral Restoration Foundation’s nursery off the Upper Keys.  Scientists and dive operators are hopeful that the larger mountainous species such as brain and star corals — which put on a much better show than the staghorn–should do the deed as predicted just before Labor Day Weekend.

If you don’t want to stay up for the late-night coral viewing party, you can hunt lobsters in daytime from one of Captain Slate’s boats.  Florida’s regular lobster harvest season, which opened Aug. 6 and runs through March 31, allows divers and snorkelers to take six per person per day.  Slate’s crews will take you to the patch reefs that hold the big ones.  You need a Florida saltwater fishing license with a lobster endorsement which can be purchased online at MyFWC.com or at county tax collectors’ offices and some retail outlets.

Get busy; spots are filling quickly. For more information, contact GHO Reservations at 800.513.5257, or sales@guyharveyoutpost.com.

Join Us for Sea Turtle Release Saturday at the Islander Resort, a Guy Harvey Outpost

May 1, 2015 at 1:57 pm | Posted in Conservation | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , ,

The public is invited to join the Turtle Hospital for Miley’s release back to the wild on Saturday, May 2nd at 10:30 a.m. at The Islander Resort, a Guy Harvey Outpost M.M. 82.1 on the Oceanside.

The Turtle Hospital ambulance will arrive at  the Islander in Islamorada at 10:30 a.m. and Miley will be released off of the beach promptly at 11:00 a.m.  Miley was rescued off of Dove Key in early March where she was found floating and what rescuer’s described as “twerking”.  The rescuer’s named her Miley, after Miley Cyrus.
DCIM100GOPRO

Loggerheads nest on beaches at or near most all Guy Harvey Outpost properties. It seems they know good fishing and diving spots.

Miley is a sub-adult Loggerhead sea turtle.  She arrived at the hospital on March 8th following a boat strike.  She weighs 117 pounds.  Loggerheads are the largest hard shell sea turtles and adults typically weigh between 180 and 440 pound.  They can grow to over 1000 pounds. Loggerheads are considered a “Threatened” species and are protected under the Endangered Species Act.  Following a treatment course at the Turtle Hospital that included broad spectrum antibiotics, lactulose, beano, vitamins, and a healthy diet of squid and fish, Miley is ready to hit the main stage.  Miley is swimming strong, healthy, and no longer “twerking”.  Bring your friends and help us to give Miley a proper send-off on Saturday!

GHO-Turtle-ReleaseMore Information on Guy Harvey Outpost & their great resorts:  http://www.guyharveyoutpost.com/

For Fishing with Guy Harvey Outpost: www.ghofish.com

For the Guy Harvey Outpost Blog www.guyharveyoutpostnews.com

For Guy Harvey Outpost on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GuyHarveyOutpost

For Guy Harvey Outpost on Twitter https://twitter.com/GHOutpost

For Guy Harvey Outpost on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/user/GuyHarveyOutpost

00 GHO-Logo

Next Page »

Blog at WordPress.com.
Entries and comments feeds.