Reelin’ in the Keys

By Misti Wells:

It is always a great feeling loading up the truck, heading across Alligator Alley to go bend a rod in the Keys.  No matter which Key you are heading to, the minute you hit HWY 1 you start to relax.  My trip destination was Marathon to go fishing with Sea Squared Charters and host the TV Show “Reelin in the Keys.”  I checked into the historic Faro Blanco Resort & Yacht club landmarked by their red & white Lighthouse, star treatment all the way.  Our plan was to head out to Hawks Channel but the winds were pretty high so we headed south to fish along the 7 mile bridge.  Our targeted species for the day were mangrove snapper, mutton snapper, jacks and yellow tails.  Capt. Jason and Capt. Chris were on board along with fellow angler Marissa and we can’t forget the owner, producer and Telly Award winner “Fernando” Fred Barta catching all the action.

Capt. Chris had told me about this “super secret” dry chum called ChumDrop & Yellowtail Up from Aquatic Nutrition, he swears by it.  I tossed in a few handfuls, put some live shrimp on a jig and Marissa and I went to work.  Right away her rod bent and she was hooked up on a Nassau Grouper, really nice size about 16 inches, then a nice Gag Grouper showed up.  The first spot was a little slow and we decided to move down the bridge a little north to catch us some mangrove snapper and maybe hogfish.  Started by tossing in some of the secret chum and bam the bite was hot, it was hard not to catch a snapper every cast.  If you don’t know, the trick is to put a live shrimp on your jig head using a spinning rod and let it slowly drop with the current behind the boat.  Keep your spool open and your hand close by because you will need to set the hook pretty fast when they are biting.

Mangrove Snapper spend most of their juvenile life inshore and as they mature they start to move out off shore.  Inshore they average about 10-14 inches, 1-2 lbs., offshore they can reach up to almost 20 lbs.  Offshore these snapper are found around reefs and wrecks, while inshore they live right were we found them around bridges, docks, piers, rock piles and oyster beds.  Now remember you are fishing around all this structure so braided line about 10 to 20 lbs. test works the best.

“Reelin in the Key’s” is an entertaining series shot documentary style, it is all about Charter Sport Fishing the Florida Keys and meeting the captains who make their living doing it.  We take you out on the water fishing with various different captains, fishing in the backcountry and offshore.   The Keys is the “Sport Fishing Capital of the World”, I can’t believe I have the job of fishing it with these amazing folks.  Every episode you will learn tackle tips, pro secrets and hear “true” fishing stories about the captains of the Keys.  Want to watch it, tune in to Destination America, Tuff TV, Action Channel, BoaterTube and NauticaProTv to catch all the action. I want to thank Capt. Chris & Capt. Jason of Sea Squared Charters for taking Fernando and I fishing and filming another great episode of “Reelin in the Keys”.

Misty Wells Host of the National Radio & TV show “Let’s Take It Outside”, Outdoor Pro –Writer & Adventure Guide for Fishing & Hunting trips. Founder of “A Reel Future”  a non-profit organization devoted to sharing knowledge & passion of fishing and the great outdoors to future generations & foster kids in need.

Sponsor Clearwater High Fishing Club.  Show info or be a guest go to

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