Key Largo Fishing Charters with Capt Dana Banks

Key Largo Fishing Guide for Reef, Wreck and Deep Sea Fishing - Captain Dana BanksWith over 25 years of experience, Captain Dana Banks, possesses an amazing knowledge of the local Key Largo waters which has earned him the respect of his fellow fishing guides and the endorsement by Orvis as an offshore fishing guide.

Capt. Banks offers Deep Sea fishing, Reef fishing, Florida Keys Wreck Fishing and Backcountry fishing in the Northern part of the Florida Keys area in Key Largo.


Captain Dana Banks provides;

  • Deep Sea fishing for Sailfish, Mahi Mahi, Marlin, Tuna, Wahoo, King Mackerel – (Kingfish), Cobia, Swordfish
  • Key Largo Reef fishing – Grouper, Mutton Snapper, Yellowtail Snapper, Cubera Snapper, Mangrove Snapper, Kingfish, Spanish Mackerel, Cero Mackerel, Cobia, Hogfish, Amberjack, Baracuda
  • Florida Keys Wreck Fishing
  • Gulf side fishing trips
  • Photographic Trips

Offering great package rates for 1/2, 3/4 and full day fishing trips out of Key Largo. Evening cruises, private parties and group charters can be arranged.

Contact Captain Dana Banks today to book your fishing trip
Call (305) 394-7420 or use our online form –

Regular lobster season opens Monday

Now that the craziness of lobster mini season has passed, serious lobster hunters are getting ready for the regular lobster season, which is Aug. 6-March 31.

The regular season limit is six lobsters per person per day statewide. To take lobsters, you must have a saltwater fishing license ($17 for residents) and a lobster stamp ($5).

Lobsters must have a minimum carapace length of more than 3 inches to be legal and must be measured in the water. (Those who catch lobsters with a bully net are allowed to measure them in the boat and release the small ones.) No egg-bearing females may be taken.

Night diving is allowed in Monroe County during the regular season and divers may take lobsters in John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park in Key Largo.

For information, visit

Key West is the best for vacationing

On the east coast of Florida is a road known as U.S. 1 which begins in Maine and ends in Key West, Fla. at a spot commonly called Mile Marker Zero or MM 0 on Whitehead Street at the courthouse in downtown Key West.

While there are several roads by which drivers can get to Florida City, Fla., south of Miami, there is only one that leads to Key West — U.S. 1, or as it is commonly referred to by those of us who love the Florida Keys and Key West, The Overseas Highway. Even if people detour onto Card Sound Road (Fla. 904) just south of Florida City, U.S. 1 is rejoined at Key Largo. At the end of this road lies Key West, which has to be the best-kept secret in the world of fun vacations for those who enjoy the outdoors and water-borne recreation activities.

The trip from Florida City to Key West requires a great deal of patience and attention to speed restrictions and traffic conditions. There are many areas of no passing zones and traffic congestion. The speed limits in the National Key Deer Refuge on Big Pine Key are 45 mph daytime and 35 mph nighttime. These limits are strictly enforced — if one is fortunate enough to see one of these tiny Key deer, the reason becomes obvious.

My wife and I grew fond of the Florida Keys and Key West during the 12 years we were stationed there, me with the U.S. Navy and her with the U.S. government as military housing director. After I retired, we continued to live in the Keys for two more years until she obtained a transfer to Mayport, Fla., near Jacksonville so we could be near aging parents.

We try to return to Key West every May for fishing and recreation. Each return trip brings new excitement and enjoyment. This year was no exception and this column is being written while we are in Key West. We will have returned home by the time it is published. Other than spectacular offshore fishing, perhaps the most exhilarating moment of these trips occurs as we cross the high bridge at Snake Creek near Islamorada in the upper Keys, for it is from this vantage that we get our first glimpse of the crystal clear blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the Gulf of Mexico on the other. Eager anticipation of what lies in store “jump starts” the heart, restores vim and vigor and the attitude skyrockets. From this vantage point on toward Key West lie many fantastic sights in an ever-changing landscape with many restaurants, marinas, wildlife attractions and truly unique people.

Both us are big on seafood and although we have tried, we have yet to dine at all of the multitudinous restaurants, some upscale and some laid back, but wonderful establishments with names such as Bo’s Fish Wagon, Half Shell Raw Bar, 7 Mile Grill, Alonzo’s, Turtle Kraals. Mangrove Mama’s, Cuban Coffee Queen (the best Cuban mix sandwich), Dante’s, A B Lobster House, El Siboney and assorted others, all with colorful and very descript names and scrumptious food.

The trip from Houston County to Key West is best handled in two days via Interstate 75 and the Florida Turnpike to Florida City. We usually spend the night in Florida City at the end of the first day (about eight hours) as we enjoy the daylight trip down the Keys, about three hours depending on traffic on U.S. 1. We make the return trip in one day as we usually have fresh fish to get into the freezer. We have found that it is much easier and less costly to charter a boat for fishing instead of towing a boat. There are numerous private charter captains available at reasonable costs and we do have a favorite who always puts us in the fish!

This year has been no exception and as of this writing, we have fished one day and will fish two more days. On the first day we caught mutton snapper, yellowtail snapper, black grouper and cero mackerel — a tasty mixed bag of salt water delicacies and a very worthwhile trip. We look forward to two more days of fishing with eager anticipation!

True, the road (U.S. 1) does end in paradise! But as with any trip, no matter where we roam, the best part is coming home — to Houston County!

Walton Wood lives in Kathleen. He may be contacted at

Road trip route of the week: The Florida Keys

Highway 1 is draped with classic Americana, from kitschy gift shops selling seashell jewellery to burger stands offering shakes and fries, here’s the low down on this scenic island-hopping adventure.

When it comes to all American road trips it’s easy to think of the mighty popular Route 66 straight away. But forget the Midwest and East and West coasts; it’s all about The Overseas Highway in Florida.

Ok, so it’s not going to take you through rugged country and “real” America, but it’s worth a drive just for the simple reason that it’s known as “the Highway that Goes to Sea”.

A modern wonder in its own right, this route is the “magic carpet” by which visitors from Florida’s mainland can cross countless coral and limestone islets through that special world of the Florida Keys.

The highway follows a trail originally blazed in 1912 when Henry Flagler extended his Florida East Coast Railroad from Miami to Key West.

It was in the late 1930s that the highway was begun allowing for The Florida Keys — which now host more than three million visitors annually —to become an easily accessible tourist destination by car and bus.

And what do these visitors see?  

Key Largo

Key Largo, called “the first of the Florida Keys,” because of its northernmost location along the Florida Keys chain, is an hour’s drive from South Florida’s two major airports. Yet it is a world away.

Home to two state parks, a national park, a national marine sanctuary, Key Largo boasts some of the most fascinating botanical scenery in the state.

Also visit the ‘African Queen’, the boat made famous in Humphrey Bogart’s film of the same name.


Our Village, a collection of Islands, is situated between the saltwater wilderness of Everglades National Park in one direction and North America’s only coral barrier reef and the deep blue waters of the Florida Straits in the other.

This might be the only place on Earth where it is possible to catch a sailfish in the morning and then venture into the backcountry in pursuit of bonefish, permit, tarpon, snook and redfish in just inches of water.

With a fleet of highly-skilled recreational fishing captains, Islamorada’s reputation as The Sport Fishing Capital of the World is well earned.


This quaint tropical city is conveniently situated in the middle of the Keys island chain.

Located mainly on Vaca, Fat Deer, and Grassy Key, Marathon is a 10- mile-long family-oriented island community rooted in a heritage of fishing, and reflects the old-Keys lifestyle that residents, snowbirds and visitors enjoy so much.

It is maintaining this simple, seafaring tradition that has made Marathon so special, celebrated through the community’s annual family-friendly seafood festivals.

Big Pine Key and the Lower Keys

If you’ve had enough of an overcrowded and weary world, the islands of the Lower Keys are the place for you.

Here, you can snorkel or dive over the Looe Key coral reef, ride a bicycle through Key Deer country, take a fishing adventure in the back country or troll the deep blue waters beyond the reef.

At the end of the day, you can trade stories with family and friends at one of the area’s tiki bars, RV parks, campgrounds, quaint resorts or licensed vacation homes. The Earthy fragrance of mangrove forests and wetlands is never far away.

Key West

Discover a city where real estate titles date back to the Kings of Spain.

Stroll the palm-lined streets and spot the gingerbread mansions, tin-roofed conch houses, the John Audubon House and Ernest Hemingway’s home.

Walk in the footsteps of Thomas Edison, Lou Gehrig, Harry Truman, and Tennessee Williams.

Gaze at the fabled treasure of the galleon Atocha and discover tomorrow’s fine art treasures by Key West’s well-known and unknown artists.

Watch the video below and take a first0hand sneak-peek at what this magnificent 125 mile route has to offer.


Have you been on a road trip through America? Tell us more about your experience below or tweet me @Shabana_FAM


Shabana Adam


Original Marathon Seafood Festival on March 10-11

Original Marathon Seafood Festival

on March 10-11, 2012 at Marathon Community Park in The Islands of Marathon!

Original Marathon Seafood Festival on March 10-11, 2012 at Marathon Community Park here in The Islands of Marathon!

The Original Marathon Seafood Festival is truly a family friendly event; featuring fresh-caught local keys seafood at amazing prices, cold beverages for adults and the kids, live entertainment the entire weekend, over 200+ vendors to satisfy all your shopping needs, and plenty of rides and games for children.

Admission is only $5/person and kids under 10 are free!

The Marathon Seafood Festival is the 2nd largest FL Keys event with over 24,000 attendees in 2011 & growing every year.  The festival is the premier event for great seafood and entertainment in the Florida Keys.  Bring the whole family for two days exciting food, entertainment, and fun!

  •     Fresh local seafood including lobster tails, stone crab, fish, shrimp, etc.
  •     Cheap beverages to quench your thirst from all that fresh seafood
  •     Live music entertainment throughout 2-day event
  •     Games for children, rock-climbing wall
  •     Keys Artist Village & Art Show
  •     Over 200 vendors selling jewelry, clothing, arts & crafts, and other great souvenirs
  •     Raffle give-aways and other great prizes and games

For more information, email or Call 1-800-262-7284

Keys overflowing with holiday tourists

Florida Keys roads and resorts filled this holiday week as visitors headed south in droves to celebrate the new year.

“It’s always insanity down here between Christmas and New Year’s,” said Jodi Weinhofer, president of the Lodging Association of the Florida Keys and Key West, “but this year has been incredibly busy.”

Traffic delays on U.S. 1 were frequent all week in all the usual spots, said Deputy Becky Herrin, spokeswoman for the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office.

“We know it’s frustrating for everybody but it’s a crowded road that can only hold so many cars,” Herrin said.

Long backups in the southbound lanes were reported at the approach to the Jewfish Creek Bridge on Key Largo, the Snake Creek Bridge in Islamorada, at the traffic light on Big Pine Key, and on Stock Island at the entrance to Key West.

“There have been traffic issues all week,” Herrin said. “The positive side is that when it’s this busy, the number of serious accidents tends go down because people are traveling slowly.”

At the Islander Resort in Islamorada, Eric and Lynne Perry spent Thursday savoring their last day in the Keys sunshine before returning home to Derby, England.

“We’re leaving paradise to go back to work and reality,” Eric said.

“It’s warmer in England than it usually is but it’s still cold compared to this,” said Lynne, clad for swimming. “Do we want to go? Absolutely not.”

The Perrys marked a decade of spending three December weeks in Islamorada with this year’s visit for “the sunshine, the fishing and the company.”

Weinhofer said this would be a very bad time to arrive without a reservation for New Year’s weekend. “This is not the time to do that,” she said. “Most of our properties have been sold out for a while.”

Carolyn Caplan, owner of the Sea Dell Motel in Marathon, agreed.

“This is our best holiday season in the five years since we bought the property,” she said. “In fact, 2011 has been our best year.”

Factors that tourism professionals say are contributing to the higher visitation include:


  • An improving economy. 
  • A Christmas-to-New Year’s week that ends with a three-day weekend. 
  • Balmier than in a cold January 2011.”Historically Christmas to New Year’s has always been good but this weekend has been a particularly good,” Weinhofer said.

    Reservations at the association’s nearly 100 member properties indicate the upswing may continue through March.

    “In recent years, visitors had fallen into the habit of not booking in advance, just coming down at the last minute,” Weinhofer said.

    “In talking to our members, I’m hearing there has been a huge amount of business booked in February,” she said. “Not only vacationers but small business groups, as well.”

    “Now people actually have some idea what will be going on for the next three months,” Weinhofer said. “It’s been a few years since they had that luxury.”

Key Largo Fishing report October

Well just about done wit this rebuild and she is sounding great!!! I will give you all an update on the fishing, the sailfish are close and it is time to start our search for the live bait.

Ok make your plan to go fishing it’s getting cooler and the fishing is good !!!


Come fish with us down in the Keys

Captain Dana Banks
The War Bird – Charter Boat – Sportfishing
Florida Keys Saltwater Fishing
Key Largo, Florida
(305) 394-7420

Deep Sea Fishing – Reef Fishing – Wreck Fishing , Sailfish, Dolphin, Kingfish, Snapper, Grouper, Cobia, Tuna