Capt. Joel’s Fishin’ Holes

By: Capt. Joel Brandenburg

Ana Banana Fishing Company is on the water 300 days a year or more. Sometimes we go a couple years in a row without getting pulled over by any law enforcement officials on the water and sometimes we get pulled over three times a week for three weeks in a row. My personal record is being pulled over three times in one day. One day I was pulled over by FWC, Coast Guard and Monroe County Marine Division. Last week I tied my record by getting pulled over three times in one day by FWC, Coast Guard and NOAA. We’ve also been pulled over by Homeland Security, Environmental Protection Agency and National Immigration Agency. Yes, it’s a hassle, and yes it’s a time killer especially on a charter, but thank God for these law enforcement officers and all they do for us and the environment. You can complain about them all you want, but have a vessel emergency offshore for example sinking or a fire and see how quickly they are on scene to save you and your crews lives. I’ve fished in a lot of 3rd world countries that don’t have the luxury and security we have if you get in trouble on the water. We sometimes take these luxuries and securities for granted. One time I was stranded 30 miles off the coast of Salinas Ecuador in 8ft waves, 50ft hump back whales crashing all around the boat and pirate warnings in the area and there was nobody available to save us. That’s when I was missing home. That’s when I wanted to tap my heels together like Dorothy from Wizard of Oz and say there’s no place like home. Different agencies typically look for different things, but they all can and do look for many of the same things. For example, Coast Guard is normally all about safety equipment where as FWC is normally about environmental protection, but they will both check for flares and fish at the same time.
I recommend every boater call and make an appointment with the Coast Guard Auxiliary to do a voluntary inspection of your vessel. They will come out for no or little charge and inspect your vessel for all safety issues required. Once you pass inspection you’ll get a sticker that goes on the side of your windshield letting everyone know that your vessel passed inspection and you’ll also get an inspection letter/certificate that shows your vessel passed inspection too. The sticker and certificate are good for one year then expire. I think fishing captains get pulled over more than recreational fisherman and boaters. Maybe it’s because we’re on the water more or because we charter tourist and Florida’s tourist industries are under strict inspection. Charter captains are also held to a higher standard than the general public. We have to have many more licenses, permits and safety equipment that the general public is required to have. Being pulled over on the water is just like being pulled over on the road. If you’re are polite and helpful to the officer, typically they will be too. If you’re a jerk towards them they’ll be a jerk towards you too. It’s important to keep in mind that they have a duty to do and ultimately their job is to protect us and the environment and it can get rather dangerous and it’s a job many of us couldn’t or wouldn’t do, but like I mentioned earlier thank god for all of our law enforcement officers and please thank them for their thankless service every time you get a chance too. On another note, Spring has almost sprung, so look for the fishing to get better and better in weeks to come. For a charter with Capt. Joel or JoJo Brandenburg of Ana Banana Fishing Company call office 305-395-4212or cell 813-267-4401 or visit us at or visit us in person at 11699 Overseas Hwy Marathon Florida Keys

— For a charter with Captain Joel or Jojo Brandenburg of Ana Banana Fishing Company in Marathon Florida Keys call cell 813-267-4401 or office 305-395-4212 or visit
or visit us in person at Ana Banana Marina located at 11699 Overseas Hwy Marathon Florida Keys. Look for the big yellow Ana Banana sign with antlers around it.