Over the years, the number one feature that I have relied on with my GPS is the charts themselves. I’d often put GPS points in where the head of a channel is, we would save our runs in when we had low visibility. Through the years it has constantly been improving and now we have Florida Marine Tracks. There is so much detail, every marker in the Everglades, every detail in the shallow water and they have even drawn in running lines.
One of the key elements to having a soft, dry, comfortable boat ride on the water is trimming your boat efficiently. Starting off the boat is trimmed all the way down, that will help us get on plane quickly. Once we get up to about 30mph we will start to trim the motor up and there is a sweet spot there when you get the trim perfectly.
As a fishing guide you have to really protect yourself from the sun - if you are outside every day you have to be very careful. It used to be Zinc-Oxide Sunscreen, you would see guides cover themselves completely with this stuff to avoid sunburn. But one time I was guiding and I had a customer come and say his wife bought him this thing and he let me try it on. It was a Buff Multifunctional Headgear and within minutes of putting it on I know it was a game changer.
Towing our boats all around the Keys and all over the US. Over the years we have had some issues with our trailers and recently we found Ameratrail and they really take care of our most expensive toy. They upgraded this year and made their great product, even better. The axel has sealed ball bearings which is guaranteed to be maintenance free for 5 years.
If you only had one reel to fish with, what would it be? When fishing for redfish, snook, bonefish, small tarpon and jacks I have a go-to outfit. I use a 3 or 4000 size reel, the 4,000 with more line capacity and the 3,000 for a lighter outfit. What I usually look for it one that will be durable and stand up to all kinds of abuse. On a charter boat the reels are going to get stepped on and dropped, they will get salt all over them.
The way it works is the mapping chip has overlays of arial photos - in the video you can see me pull up a shot of Worldwide Sportsman and you can see the highway, leaves on trees and more. On top of the incredible mapping is the function of safe trails to get to anywhere in the Florida Keys. The red lines displayed on the maps will show you safe running paths. They also did not just run the Florida Keys, but every inch of the state of Florida.
One of the most common questions I get is “What kind of rod should I get? I’m not looking to spend a lot of money but I want a quality rod.” I’m determined that the Mojo series from St. Croix is a great choice. I’ve been using them for the last few years - super high quality rod, at a reasonable price and very durable.
Using binoculars in saltwater fishing is one of the most effective ways to find the fish. Whether its inshore or offshore binoculars can really help me find fish more efficiently. I learned at a young age working on charter boats that if you find the birds you find the dolphins. When looking for birds, if you use a 10-powered pair of binoculars you will find ten-times more birds and ten-times more fish.
Fishing on the flats is can be a challenge to get those skittish fish that face significant fishing pressure and boat traffic. Rich and I will frequently stake out and try two or three times before we can get their attention. Fish like this we refer to as suffering from “lockjaw” as they will refuse to eat.