The people who I like to go fishing with in the Florida Keys have just been in touch to inform me that they are running an incredible deal for the rest of 2009 - essentially one person stays for free, so it can work out at £82.50 per person per day, and this silly price covers the boat, car hire, and accommodation right on the waterfront on a B&B basis. I have been with these people multiple times now, and I can not speak highly enough of the whole operation. The last thing I am going to do is to recommend a foreign fishing set-up that I have no experience of.
Let's be honest, with the dire weather we have been having for most of the summer, how desirable is a bit of sunshine and awesome fishing in one of the most prolific and varied fisheries on earth ? You need to contact the people at Fish the Dream right here (or ring 01668 216173 from the UK), say you have come via this blog, and get yourselves some dates as fast as possible. Getting there could not be easier - loads of flights run direct from the UK to Miami, and then a hire car will be waiting for you to pick up. Drive on down to Marathon, perhaps stopping on the way at Bass Pro in Islamorada (resist and you are stronger than me !!), and get fishing. Simple as that.
The number one mistake that people make about the Florida Keys is thinking that it's simply a tarpon-only destination, when in fact there is some incredible fishing all year round. Big numbers of monster sharks, the immense Goliath grouper, sailfish, jacks, barracuda, snapper, cobia, tuna, you name it, the Keys has the lot. Our autumn/winter is a great time to go as the temperatures are comfortable (i.e. nice !!) and the fish are prolific.
The beauty about the Florida Keys for those who don't know is that there is quick and easy access to both very deep and very shallow water, and many of the biggest species are regularly caught on the Gulf side where the water tends to be really shallow. Big sharks (lemons, bull, hammerhead etc.) run like crazy when they are hooked in three metres of water, and I can not tell you how scary it is to hook a Goliath grouper in water like this. Mad stuff. I can't think of a better or cheaper way to access this world class fishing.
I now need to get all my gear together again for a trip over to a remote part of Mongolia, where the emphasis will be on fly fishing for the legendary and original salmon, the taimen. I have wanted to see these fish for years now, and this should be my chance. I am traveling with a bunch of guys from Aardvark McLeod. The contrast between Mongolia and Bolivia I imagine could not be more acute, and I am relishing the chance to spend a little time "out east". We should be arriving in Ulaanbaatar (the capital of Mongolia) itself sometime early on Monday morning (leaving Heathrow Sunday morning), and we then have a day there before flying out again into the middle of nowhere. We will then be rafting and camping our way down a river that I am told is not that far from the Siberian border - think of me in my sleeping bag !! This should be a very, very cool trip for photos.