LI Fishing Report
By Capt. Kirk Fay
On or about December 15th, my boat was pulled for the winter. It was a very depressing day for me and I’m sure all others that love being on the water. Before my boat got hauled everything that could be removed was removed. A bunch of stuff goes in the shed, however, most of my fishing gear goes in the house. I live on a canal, and saltwater in the air and freezing temperatures can wreak havoc on some expensive investments.
Once in the house, all reels are removed from their rods. Each rod gets inspected for damage to the rods eyes. The slightest nick on an eye can cost you a fish or a very expensive lure. It’s very important to wash down your rods. Make sure you clean out any salt deposits that you may find, especially around the rod seat. As for your reels, your reel’s manufacturer probably has their own set of instructions on how to clean your reel. Make sure you clean your reels after your fishing season ends. Don’t let them sit there all winter doing unnecessary damage. If you are unsure on how to clean your reels, don’t panic - most tackle shops offer great deals on reel cleaning services. Besides rods and reels, I also bring in my life raft and EPIRB. If your raft or EPIRB needs to be serviced, get on it right away; don’t wait until the next fishing season. You don’t want to leave home without those when heading offshore.
Once all your gear is cared for and put away it’s time to head south. I would only recommend places that I have personally stayed at. Hawks Cay Resort in the Florida Keys is my favorite winter destination. Midway down the Florida Keys, you’ll find an island called Duck Key. It’s small and secluded, but also central to Miami and Key West, and easy to reach by car or plane. This isn’t what most consider the “old” Florida Keys. If that is what you desire this is not your place.
This is a great resort for the whole family including the fisherman in your family. The resort offers beautiful decorated resort rooms, ranging in size from single rooms that accommodate 2 people to 4 bedroom townhome villas that can accommodate large family gatherings. Villas allow you to cook up meals in a full kitchen. Relax on a private terrace or balcony and soak up great ocean or island views. Some villas even have their own private plunge pools. Enjoy plenty of living space for everyone in your group – just steps from the lagoon, pool, spa and all of their world-class amenities.
The restaurants at Hawks Cay embrace the true flavor of the islands, both on your plate and in your surroundings. Each of their Florida Keys dining experiences offer fresh local ingredients prepared by world-renowned chefs, while showcasing the unique scenery and culture that make the Keys so special. From a romantic dinner at Alma and cozy glass of wine by the fire pit, to a toes-in-the-sand lunch at Beach Grill, Hawks Cay restaurants offer diverse menus and settings that turn any occasion into a memorable event. And with all of their Florida Keys restaurants located on the resort property, you’re never more than a short stroll from your next meal or cool drink. If you are staying in a villa and you have kids who are craving pizza fear not. You can have Puglisi’s Pizza delivered right to your door.
I couldn’t imagine going to the Florida Keys and not booking a day of fishing. The Hawks Cay Marina is home to some of the finest backcountry fishing charters in the Florida Keys. These guys have been fishing the flats for a long time. They know the secret spots. They know what’s biting. Whether you prefer a fly rod or a spinning rod, the backcountry captains at Hawks Cay Marina are the ones to call. Tarpon to bonefish to redfish to snook, they’ll get you on the fish. At Hawks Cay Marina, you can also hook up with some of the finest offshore Charter Captains in The Florida Keys. Head out into the deep Atlantic on a rigged to the max sportfishing yacht or aboard a fast and no-fuss open fisherman. Whichever you prefer, you’ll be in the hands of a local fishing fanatic, who knows how to get you on the fish. Mahi mahi, wahoo, sailfish, tuna, they’re all here in the Florida Keys and these Captains know what’s biting and where they’re running.
I wasn’t kidding when I mentioned that this place had something for the whole family. How about five different pools including a pirate ship pool. The unique pirate ship pool gives kids their own place to explore, splash around and interact with children their own age. It features slides, water cannons, raining palm trees, and shallow areas that are perfect for new swimmers. When it’s time to dry off, you’re just a hop, skip and a jump from the Coral Cay Grill for a delicious lunch and the Coral Cay Club for video games, sand volleyball, miniature golf and basketball. If your kids are too old for the pirate ship pool then I suggest they make their way to the saltwater lagoon. Enjoy your own private Florida Keys ocean at Hawks Cay’s enclosed saltwater lagoon. Snorkel and search for small tropical fish, soak up some rays on your sandy Keys beach, paddle around in tiki boats and keep a look out for sea turtles swimming by in the clear waters of the harbor. The saltwater lagoon is fed straight from the ocean, raising and lowering with the tides.
While you take the kids out for an afternoon of fishing it’s the perfect time for the wife to hit the award winning spa. Calm Waters Spa offers traditional and locally-influenced spa treatments and therapies that utilize the natural ingredients and aromas of the islands. Choose from one of their signature Florida Keys spa packages or customize your own unique Florida spa experience. Before treatments guests can enjoy a refreshing glass of fruit-infused water in the relaxation area. Afterwards, unwind in their Jacuzzi or dry sauna.
The list of activities goes on and on. Scuba diving, kids environmental camp, jet skiing, paddle boarding, kayaking, sunset cruises, boat rentals and many more. However I saved the best for last. Guests at Hawks Cay Resort have the unique opportunity to encounter bottlenose dolphins in this marine mammal’s natural environment. The Dolphin Connection program, located in an ocean-fed saltwater lagoon, is home to a pod of friendly dolphins that Florida Keys visitors can interact with while learning the importance of protecting Florida’s marine ecosystem. Hawks Cay Resort is the only hotel or resort in the mainland United States that offers free public viewing of trained dolphins. Hawks Cay offers a variety of educational and exciting programs for adults, children and the entire family to enjoy. Whether you choose to jump in the water for a hands-on dolphin encounter, learn how to train dolphins or sit on the dock and admire fantastic aerial behaviors, join them at Dolphin Connection for a one-of-a-kind Florida Keys vacation experience.