Over the weekend I decided to take advantage of living in Key West and went shark fishing with Dream Catcher Charters. While I am afraid of these toothy critters, I was assured by Capt Tommy that I was perfectly safe viewing them from the boat and that I did not have to handle a shark once I caught one unless I actually wanted to. That put me at ease straight away.
I showed up at Sunset Marina for my charter around 7am with my sunglasses and an energy bar in case I got hungry. Dream Catcher Charters provides plenty of bottled waters, so that was one thing I did not have to worry about. They also provide license, gear, bait, and everything else one would need on a fishing charter. Capt. Tommy met me at the tackle shop and brought me to the boat where he proceeded with his speech about where the safety equipment was located on the boat and what to do in an emergency. We stowed my small bag and were off.
The vessel was a 24′ bay boat, so while it floats very shallow, the gunnels are slightly higher than those of a flats boat and I felt safe from falling overboard. It is also a more stable platform and has lots of neat gadgets like shallow water anchors called Power Poles and electric Motorguide trolling motors. These additions to the boat might seem like bling, but they also make the captain’s job easier and allows him to give more focus to the client.
We made the run out to Capt. Tommy’s pinfish traps and retrieved some bait there. It only took a few minutes and it was a fun start to the day. We then went out to an area where we could use our pinfish to catch some shark bait. Using both pinfish and lures, we managed to get into some nice sea trout, different typed of jacks, and a bunch of other species. Some we threw back while others we kept in order to lure in our sharks.
I was having a blast just bending a rod and conversing with my captain. But since this was a shark trip we eventually moved to another area that I was told were proven shark fishing grounds. Capt. Tommy cut up some of the bait fish that we hooked earlier and baited my hook. He directed me where to cast and after a very short time waiting I hooked up. I lost my first few fish to angler error, but I eventually hooked into another one, and by following Capt. Tommy’s directives I landed myself a huge Bull Shark. Because he was so big and I was a little fearful of the teeth, Capt. Tommy did not bring him into the boat, but instead released him using a de-hooking tool and we watched him swim away. To me the shark looked like he weighed a ton, but Capt. Tommy assured me that he was only about a buck eighty which is still a really big fish.
After the Bull Shark episode we headed back to the dock. I was tired and hungry after fighting all of those fish. Capt Tommy even cleaned one of the trout I had caught when we got back to the dock and I brought it over to the Hogfish Bar and Grille where they cooked it up for me. Yum!
To make a fishing charter reservation contact Dream Catcher Charters at 888-362-3474.
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