A somewhat rude awakening.......

The lads got a "gentle" welcome to Keys fishing today (Friday) !! Nick landed this smallish amberjack that I think gave him one hell of a fright, but they weren't really playing ball like I hear they have been recently. The amount of fish that we could see on the sounder covering the wreck was amazing though. It's not until you are lucky enough to hook fish like these that you realise how hard some fish actually do fight - and as much as we have some outstanding fishing in the UK and Ireland, we simply do not have fish that scrap like some of the warm water species. Out here is a place to push your fishing gear really hard. I think the lads on this jaunt have very quickly had their minds opened after just the first day......

I am already very much starting to like these travel rods I have brought out here. I gave a nice permit (might have gone around 20 -25lbs) some proper grief, and the rod, reel and braid are doing me proud so far. Here is Nick holding on to another permit on one of my travel rods. These fish smoke line off the reel. We were lucky and got away today without any fish being taken by sharks. Nick did have a nice snapper unceremoniously decapitated by a rather large barracuda though. And yes, none of these photos are exactly "award winners", but it ain't remotely easy to really go to town when it gets really hectic, fighting fish are leading somebody a merry dance around the boat, you then want to get the fish back in the water ASAP, the angler is momentarily shattered after their bruising encounter, and the light is as harsh as this. But then on the flipside the fish basically speak for themselves I reckon.

Just the most wonderful fish - there seem to be a lot of permit on the wrecks out here at the moment. Crab is the killer bait. They were actually biting really finicky, but when you hook up the line just melts off the spool. Very tight drags and as much horsing of fish as you can, but when they want to go they just seem to go with such ease.

Check out the bend in Paul's Tenryu Super Mix 240 - that is how a rod like this can bend !! I can't repeat the language that poured forth from Paul's mouth when he hooked his first permit, but I don't think he will ever be the same again. Watch out Irish bass, you might be going water skiing sometime soon......

The last fish of the day was this 29lb permit caught by Cian (weighed on a Boga). He had a fish break him off a little bit before hooking this one, but holy cow did this fish take some string. We are a somewhat buzzed up bunch of guys at the moment. Some very good fishing, huge fun, a great bunch of blokes, and plenty more days to come.Early morning on the tarpon tomorrow. This was just a gentle warm up. Bring on the mayhem.......