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RGC Members Shelter-In and Fish-On!

The fishing conditions have not only been amazing, but historic! This year’s Sailfish migration has been once in many generations!  Rob Gothier and Jeff Bae went out on Bar South April 24th and caught 41 Sailfish!  Although there are no official records, the previously known highest Ocean Reef total was 30 Sailfish caught on the Sweet Release with Captain Chris White, back in 2014.  Rob said the Sailfish were migrating and floating all around the boat and some almost jumped into the boat! They have never seen anything like it. Sight fishing for Sailfish is exciting and our Rod & Gun members are out on the waters enjoying this unprecedented time. Trey Wills sailfished last Wednesday on Main One out of Marathon. It was an incredible day with 28 Sails caught. Jessica Blackie on Red Lion took her sportfish to Duck Key and had the thrill of site casting for Sails and then landed a huge Dolphin the next day and plenty of Tuna. Mike Jones with guide Jared Raskob had an Epic day Tarpon fishing! Mike saw the huge fish going away from them and Jared did a great job poling the boat to set up an angle shot. It followed the fly for 20 feet and he inhaled it. It was both visual and totally exciting! Congratulations to all our Rod & Gun members!

And let’s not forget our charter boats!  The boats and Captains are available for charter by appointment. The offshore, reef and flats boats are all available to go fishing, with pickup at the Fishing Village charter dock, by the Raw Bar or home pickup. Boats thoroughly cleaned and wiped down prior to departure, for no contact fishing!

For Offshore and Reef:
Mr. Nice                               305-321-6921
Mr. Nice II                           305-766-1694
Warbird                               305-394-7420
Good Life                             305-546-1277
Reef Relief                           305-905-3639

For Flats:
Capt Darrick Parker         305-498-4811
Capt James Koch             305-394-0791
Capt Nick Varnberg          970-390-0142
Capt Jack McCoy               305-619-0398

Share your Member Sporting Pictures by texting photos to Wendy at 203 253-7790. We love sharing our Rod & Gun Members photos and including them in our website photo gallery. Please go to Membership sign up and to read current and past articles go to News.

Rob Gothier and Jeff Bae’s trememdous tally of 41 sails on Bar South! :

Trey Wills with his epic day in Marathon – 28 sails! :

Jessica Blackie on Red Lion with a whopper bull dolphin:

And last but certainly not least, Mike Jones with his INCREDIBLE Tarpon:

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Rod & Gun Club Members’ Swordfish!

With sport fishing tournaments being cancelled, some Rod & Gun members are having their own tournaments between friends… Reaching out to friends and competing for the biggest fish of the day. A fun competition while sheltering here at the Reef.

Swordfishing has been popular the past few weeks for our Rod & Gun Members. The Florida Recreational Saltwater Fishing Regulations have a daily recreational bag limit of one per harvester per day, not to exceed a maximum of 4 per recreational (not for- hire) vessel or 15 per for-hire vessel. Swordfish are deep water fish and fished with an electric reel. Daytime Swordfishing is done by deep dropping a bait in excess of several thousand feet to the ocean floor while slowly trolling as efficiently as possible. 

Members, when you bring in your large fish, the weigh station is in the boat basin behind Marine Max. Rod and Gun Members please contact Ken Reda for weighing larger fish at 305-367-3969.

RGC members please text me your fishing photos to Wendy at 203-253-7790. Stay safe everyone!

Check out these catches!

Art Berry with a beautiful swordfish:

John Brainard and swordfish caught on Reel Deal with Kevin and Zoey Fish, Captain Chris and mate Sean:

Zoey Fish at the docks preparing the steaks for friends and family:

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Rod & Gun Swordfish!

Rod & Gun Members have been enjoying the beautiful waters as they hunker down during the Covid-19 pandemic. Rob Gothier and Jeffery Bey caught this 6ft+ over 200lb swordfish during this rough time for our world. The Gothiers put a large cooler outside their front door and had a stream of friends and neighbors showing up for fresh Swordfish! Over 14 families enjoyed this fresh catch! This is the very essence of what this sport is about -now more than ever!

Keep sharing your sporting pictures by texting Wendy at 203 253-7790. And each one you send is also posted to our GALLERY.

Bar South Swordfish picture – Gareth Haddam, Eddie Ferrer, Rob Gothier, Jeffery Bey

Mattie Johnson and his son Riley enjoyed a catching a nice 18 lb Mutton Snapper on the patches right in front of the Reef.   And Riley Johnson with a beautiful Parrot fish, released.

And see Mattie and Art Berry with a 75lb swordfish which they released.

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Rod & Gun Event Postponed to November

We are postponing the Annual Event and celebrating our 25th year in  November. Rod & Gun members are used to social distancing with fishing and shooting activities! Our Card Sound Range will remain Open. The rental guns will be wiped down. As group activities come to a halt, come out and try our newly renovated Range. It is a fun and a good way to enjoy our outdoor facility! Range Hours: Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday 10-3pm.

Share your Member Sporting Pictures by texting Wendy at 203 253-7790. We love sharing our Rod & Gun Members photos and including them in our Annual Event slide show!

And check out Pam Cook with a 26lb Black Grouper and our own Wendy Brainard with a Bonito on Red Lion with Capt Brendon Muller!

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Rod & Gun Annual Event -Tuesday, March 31st

We are excited to see our Members and their guests Tuesday, March 31st at 5:30pm in Cultural Center! The dinner will feature a hunting and fishing theme. The highlight of the Raffle will be a brand new high-powered Stoeger S4000 pellet gun with scope donated by our own Mike Murphy!

We will then head into the theater for new hunting & fishing related short films with an emphasis on one of our Members completing the Keys grand slam on fly. Please confirm your reservation by emailing Events@Rodandgun.org with your member number, $150++ per person.

Up Coming Dates:
March Fish of the Month: Snapper, All Species
March 31st – Rod & Gun Annual Event featuring cocktails, a raffle, The Short Films and a delicious dinner.
Range is Open: Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday 10-3pm.

Share your Member Sporting Pictures by texting Wendy at 203 253-7790. We love sharing our Rod and Gun Members photos and including them in our Annual Event slide show!

And check out Wade and Thomas Copeland, 6 for 7 on sail fish last Sunday. Not pictured, Chris Page and Bud Copeland.

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Rod & Gun reminder – “Keep ‘Em Wet!”

With the great fishing and fishing tournaments in full gear comes a reminder for best practices. Sailfish, Tarpon, Bonefish and Permit need to stay wet so they can survive after being released.  Below, Rod and Gun board member Jack Salisbury shows the proper release of a Permit caught here in our waters. Catch and Release only works if the fish are spared from coming out of the water. Sailfish a favorite sport fish should never come out of the water for a photo! The Bonefish & Tarpon Trust has the following recommendations for catch and release:

Best practices include: Always use barbless hooks. When fishing with bait, use circle hooks. Minimize handling all fish; slime and scales can be easily damaged and removed with excessive handling, thereby greatly increasing risks of infection. If a bonefish loses equilibrium after you land it, revive it until it can swim upright, then shorten the fight time on future fish. More on proper catch and release can be found at bonefishtarpontrust.org

  • Up Coming Dates:
  • February Fish of the Month: Tuna and Snook
  • March 9thCoral Reef Restoration Presentation at the Cultural Center, 5:00 P.M.
  • March 31st – Rod and Gun Annual Event featuring The Short Sporting Films and a delicious dinner.
  • Range is Open: Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday 10-3pm.

Share your Member Sporting Pictures by texting Wendy at 203 253-7790. We love sharing our Rod and Gun Members photos and including them in our Annual Event slide show!

See Jack Salisbury releasing a nice Permit! And Rob Gothier with a 32lb African Pompano caught in the Palm Beach inlet on Bar South.

2020 – Jack Salisbury Releasing a nice Permit. Jack has a Flats Slam – Bonefish,Tarpon and Permit.
2020 – Rob Gothier snagged this 32 lb African Pompano while fishing in the Palm Beach inlet aboard BAR South !
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R&G – Card Sound Shooting Range open for Private Events

The Rod & Gun’s Card Sound Shooting Range is available for private events. Members have had private family days and the Bonefish Bonnies had a Cast and Blast day at the Range. This past Sunday afternoon ORC Rod & Gun Club hosted Girl Scout Troupe 1804 for a gun safety presentation, private lessons and fun on the sniper range (Air guns). Range safety officer, Rich Wright did the presentation, Corey Carr, our target specialist took charge of the sniper (Air guns) range and the head shooting instructor from Orvis, Truel Myers provided lessons.

Up Coming Dates:

February Fish of the Month: Tuna and Snook
March 9thCoral Reef Restoration Presentation at the Cultural Center, 5:00 P.M.
March 31st – Rod and Gun Annual Event featuring The Short Films and a delicious dinner.

Card Sound Shooting Range is Open: Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday 10-3pm. And try out the Bow Range with 3D animal targets!

Share your Member Sporting Pictures by texting Wendy at 203 253-7790. We love sharing our Rod and Gun Members photos and including them in our Annual Event slide show!

See the pictures at the Range with the Girl Scout troupe.

And finally see 10 of our Rod & Gun members on a quail hunt at Gilchrist Hunt Club in North Florida:

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Coral Reef Restoration Presentation at Cultural Center!

Please come to Cultural Center at 5:00 P.M. on March 9th to hear about the Coral Reef Restoration taking place!

Corals are thriving at Carysfort Reef! Ocean Reef Club, Ocean Reef Conservation Association, Ocean Reef Rod & Gun Club, and the Coral Reef Restoration Foundation embarked on an unprecedented project to restore Carysfort Reef by hand planting of 32,000 individual corals.  So much so that NOAA and other funding sources plan to spend $100 million dollars to restore the seven iconic reefs of the Keys including $40 million for Carysfort.

Looking ahead, please mark your calendars; March 31st for our Annual Event. We will be having the The Short Films, back by popular demand, and a delicious dinner.

For you shooters check HERE for directions to the Range and hours: Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday 10-3pm. The Range is open to Rod & Gun Members. Membership details are available HERE. Share your Member Sporting Pictures by texting Wendy at 203 253-7790. We love sharing our Rod & Gun Members photos and including them in our Annual Event slide show!

And check out John Imbesi who recently caught a rare Pomfret at 1800 feet on the Huntress. This was a first for John after decades of fishing. The beauty of our waters and the diversity of fish makes Ocean Reef a very special place and last week was an extra special day for the Huntress.  John and friends enjoyed a very tasty dinner! John with mate Jesus Baylina, on Huntress with Captain Dan DeBonis:

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Rod & Gun’s Get Together with Bill Tweardy

Speaking to a large group last week at our monthly Rod & Gun gathering, Bill Tweardy demonstrated the intricate process of making a bamboo fly rod. For the demonstration on hand, shown were the stages of the process from the uncut Bamboo piece, the cut pieces, the tools and of course the end product. Bamboo has greater tensile strength (or resistance to being pulled apart) than steel, and it withstands compression better than concrete. It was truly fascinating to see how it is done! In real time, the process on average takes about 40 hours! Bill’s handmade bamboo fly rods are his legacy to pass on to his children and grandchildren and a true work of art and no he does not sell them! Check out the pictures below from the gathering:

Looking ahead, please mark your calendars; March 31st for our Annual Event. We will be having the The Short Films, back by popular demand, and a delicious dinner.

For you shooters check HERE for directions to the Range and hours: Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday 10-3pm. The Range is open to Rod & Gun Members. Membership details are available HERE. Share your Member Sporting Pictures by texting Wendy at 203 253-7790. We love sharing our Rod & Gun Members photos and including them in our Annual Event slide show!

Check out these action shots from the 2020 Reef Cup from Ken Hendrick!

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RGC – Conservation

Rod and Gun Fishing Members and anyone, for that matter, who enjoy our unique environment, are encouraged to give feedback, concerns, issues and recommendations to help design the new blue print for our waters.

The plan includes four alternatives including status quo and three alternatives that range in levels of protection.  Each alternative addresses potential boundary changes, sanctuary wide-regulation changes and potential new zones (and associated regulations).  The alternatives also include a Management Plan, which speaks to the considerable activities sanctuary staff undertake on a day-to-day basis that provide resource protection benefits.

The public is invited to comment on these plans to help shape the future of these precious resources.  Public comments will be taken until January 31, 2020.  Comments can be sent by letter to Sarah Fangman, Superintendent, Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (33 East Quay Road, Key West, FL 33040) or using Regulations.gov using docket number NOAA-NOS-2019-0094.   Comments received to date can also be viewed on that regulations.gov web site.  As a reminder: comments can be taken on any aspect of the proposals, and may support actions that are included in different alternatives.  More information about the proposals (including interactive maps that can be used to visually explore the alternatives) and how to get involved is available at www.floridakeys.noaa.gov/blueprint

Now is the time to have your voice heard as we make important decisions about the future of our marine environment. 

Looking ahead, please mark your calendars; March 31st for our Annual Event – Rod & Gun Movie Night. We will be having the the Short Sporting Films, back by popular demand, and a delicious dinner. If you haven’t already done so, visit HERE info and directions to the Range and hours of operation: Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday 10am-3pm. Membership details are available on the website as well. Share your Member Sporting Pictures by texting Wendy at 203 253-7790. We love sharing our Rod & Gun Members photos and including them in our Annual Event slide show!

And check out JJ Henn on Wingman with a sailfish – Reef Cup 2020. And congratulations to Sweat Release/Buckalot for the victory!