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Author Topic:   Whalering in Key West
kingfish posted 04-20-2000 02:52 PM ET (US)   Profile for kingfish   Send Email to kingfish  
Just a brief (well, I'll try to be brief) report on our Spring Break (4/1 - 4/15 +/-)trip to Key West with our 22' Outrage-

Trailered Outre' with no problems behind our Yukon, 1600 miles each way from Battle Creek, MI to Key West; only notable thing was that when we got up to 70 or 75 mph, it got hard to pass many gas stations...

I had heard from Larry Goltz a couple of days before we left home; he said he'd be in Key West for at least a couple of the days while we were there, and it sounded like he'd be staying close to us on Garrison Bight with his boat, Whale Lure. Turned out he was right next door!

It was a distinct pleasure meeting Larry, talking Whalers, taking turns at the helm of each other's boats, and seeing up close and personal what must be one of if not the most thoughtfully and completely set up classic whalers on the continent in Whale Lure. "Hats off to Larry", as the song went, for helping me dial in my DGPS for the first time, giving me pointers about off-shore fishing around K.W., and "guiding" our two-Whaler contingent some 10 or 12 miles towards the Marquesas Keys to visit a remote beach on Boca Grande Key. That was a great trip, and my daughter and her girl friend are still talking about it.

The weather disturbances that affected a lot of the country during Spring Break exhibited themselves around Key West in the form of wind, so there were precious few opportunities to get out and try the off-shore fishing, though that was what I was really set up for and looking forward to. I got out twice. The first time was under a small craft advisory, but the wind was at my back as I went out, and while it was a little rough, the impact didn't set in until I had gotten out a couple of miles past Sand Key (8 or 10 miles out)and turned around into the wind. I was looking at 6 and 7 footers and building seas; it was a long hour getting back in, and I was more than happy to be in a Whaler!

The second time was under more moderate conditions, but with 2-3 foot seas, I tried and then gave up the idea of setting my downriggers alone. I pulled some ballyhoo around on the surface in 150 to 200 foot depths, got one unidentified strike and pulled in one small dolphin fish that is filleted and in my freezer. The color of the water out there was the most amazing, glowing blue-green I have ever see anywhere; to see it was to experience one of those rare events that you know at the time it's happening it can't be duplicated photographically or any other way, and that words won't do it. It was spectacular, and the water was so clear that you could see bottom at 100 feet.

I was on the water every day and Outre' performed beautifully under all conditions. Nothing could have been better except less wind and more time...guess we'll just have to do it again!



Clark Roberts posted 04-20-2000 07:21 PM ET (US)     Profile for Clark Roberts  Send Email to Clark Roberts     
Kingfish, sounds like a great trip... I have experienced those windy Keys waters and they can kick you around! Got caught in a gale (35mph winds) in my 17 Newport on an aborted trip to Dry Tortugas... What I needed more than anything else was a face mask and ear plugs.. couldn't close my eyes, had to watch the gps and the waves and spray were hitting me in the face and ears... never worried about a boat problem though...
Your 22 and Larry's 25 are ideal Keys boats.. Happy Whalin' Clark
kingfish posted 04-21-2000 02:12 PM ET (US)     Profile for kingfish  Send Email to kingfish     
Hi, Clark-

I had been holding out some hope that conditions would be such that I could make a run for the Dry Tortugas, but things just didn't pan out. I would really like to do that some time. The uncomfortable trip I had back from Sand Key area must not have held a candle to yours in a Newport in 35 mph winds. You must have been happy to reach shelter.

I did manage to get out to the Marquesas Keys - That was kind of a neat experience. I went inside and rummaged around in the deep channels where I could, but didn't have time to explore all around the outside. There was much more flats area than I expected, both in and out.

This Spring trip was the first time I've had Outre' in salt water, and was my first experience with (D)GPS. I can't wait for more opportunities. The next electronic "toy" will be an auto-pilot that talks to my GPS, and a longer kill-switch lanyard (that's the easy one)so I can consider down-rigging in more variable conditions, and for ease of driving under other conditions.



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