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Ok, as stated many times on this blog, I love a good burger. So much so, that I write these posts about great burger stops all over the lower and middle Keys. I am however, very dissatisfied with the greater 90% of all restaurant burgers here in the Keys. The reason being that the fact is most of the patty that are served are pre-made, pre-packaged, previously soaked, frozen, taste-less, pieces of what once was beef, now made to hopefully be covered up with so much lettuce, onion, pickle, cheese, ext. that you are sure to not know the difference between what is fresh ground beef or not. Sad, really, because when I started this BurgerBlog I was excited to say the least, to find some great burgers that I had never tried, and I have tried just about all of them. Truth is: unless it is stated that the burger is hand pressed, never frozen, it more than likely is not. If you happen to drive through most of Key West and the Lower Key on practically any given morning and take a good look you will notice more food distribution trucks than actual pedestrians on the streets. Companies like Sysco, Cheney Bros., GFS, and a few others, supply almost every burger slinging establishment in town. The truth is that just about every place you sit down to eat a burger its going to come from one of these food distributers. Dont get me wrong, its not like these burgers are going to stop me from having one, its just I’m pretty sure I know what I am getting. Most people don’t know the difference anyway, and even most of those don’t really care. Each and every restaurant just does something a little different in the way the patty is cooked, dressed, and served. Some are flame grilled, some fried on a flat grill, and others even baked. Take your pick.

So, this now being said, I have taken a turn in this BurgerBlog, to now focusing on the cool, unique, and somewhat diverse burger presentations in the Lower Keys. Rather than rate each place as to how the burger was cooked, dressed, presented, and all the other little things, Not anymore. Now I will hopefully show you the best of what a Cheeseburger in Paradise has become. Ok, Let’s Eat!

A Happy Birthday Indeed

You’ve gotta love it when a plan comes together. On a recent rip aboard the Outer Limits, angler Dave Saladino, from Venice, FL, celebrated his birthday in Key West. Along with his girlfriend Katie, the two had a great morning fishing at the “end of the bar”. The day started out a bit on the slow side with some Bonito and Barracuda action, but we were really targeting Wahoo or Tuna. Working the depths between 120 and 250 feet of water, we finally got what we came for as the down rigger went off like a stick of dynamite and the drag peeled out. After a great job by Dave handling the fish, Cory put the gaff into a nice Wahoo. Catching Wahoo on light tackle is always a blast and is sure to put your arms to work.Dave's Wahoo

Once on ice, we quickly went back to working the same depths hoping for another good bite like the last. The bite we were looking for got even better as soon enough the long rigger had a big Sailfish slashing at the Ballyhoo. As the line came tight this fish decided to take Dave for a ride, screaming off no less than 200 yards of line. While the majestic fish went airborne numerous times, Dave made sure to keep a good bend in the rod ensuring that the fish stayed connected. As the Sailfish came close we were able to get some great shots boat side, and the fish was given a healthy release in hopes that somebody else will get the same great experience once again. Celebrating your birthday in Key West is great, but getting world class fishing all the while is priceless. Great job Dave and Katie, and Happy Birthday!!

Birthday Sailfish

If you have never been on one of my charters, let me paint a picture for you. You’ve just spent the day fishing aboard the Outer Limits, and the crew is preparing to back the boat into the slip. A great day of fishing has just ended and now its time to clean up the catch. As the boat backs in, the sounds of live music in the background makes you realize it is “happy hour” and the dock is very busy. On the right, Alonzo’s Oyster Bar, on the left, the Conch Republic Seafood Co., and 25 feet behind the boat is the Boathouse Restaurant, all of which are packed. You step off the boat and an outside table just feet away from the boat opens up and your group sits down. As the fish are being cleaned you get a show from the resident Tarpon as they almost “fight” each other for the filleting scraps. Minutes later, as you snack on delicious appetizers, the catch of the day is given to the waitress, and is taken to be prepared. As the spread of food comes out, everyone’s mouths water from the sight of the presentation. What a bonus!, to be able to step right off the boat and be so close to such great cuisine and libations. This truly is the “place to be” when it comes to the best fishing experience that Key West has to offer.

If you have experienced this, odds are that you are one of our many return clients who come back time and time again to take advantage of such a bonus.

The Fresh Catch

Mahi and Wahoo are the Catch of the Day!!

The truth is that many restaurants around the island will cook your catch, each giving their own style to the dish. Yet, no waterfront area of the island is so lively than the surroundings of A&B Marina. Located on the Historic Seaport Harbor Walk, the marina is surrounded by great restaurants and bars for all tastes. From fine dining like the famous A&B Lobster House and the Commodore Steakhouse, to bars with live music like the world renowned Schooner Wharf Bar and the Conch Republic Seafood Co.. Almost all of these establishments offer some amazing “happy hour” specials such as 2 for 1 drinks, and half priced appetizers. The cook your catch is awesome to say the least though. These places really know how to make your experience that much sweeter, by offering different ways to have the fish cooked, such as blackened, grilled, or fired, and a multitude of different sauces and side dishes. Some will even do certain fish like Tuna or Wahoo, in a sashimi or sesame seared presentation, which is out of sight delicious. Believe me I am a big fan of this style.

Boathouse Tuna Platter

The Boathouse’s Cook Your CatchTuna Platter


If dinner isn’t going to work, or you can’t wait until the evening, lunch is served! From noon until happy hour each of these restaurants will cook your catch for lunch as well. More times than not, our clients who fish with us for a 1/2 day charter step off the boat just in time to set down for a fresh catch lunch.

Whether its lunch, dinner, or “happy hour”, you need to experience the added bonus of fishing out of such a spectacular marina with the best charter outfit in Key West.

Capt. Jay Miller


It didn’t take too long. The Gulfstream current is back to bringing new life to offshore fishing in the Lower Keys. Just in the last few days east bound currents have created a color change just outside of the reef, bringing with it a host of gamefish that have been away for most of the summer. Sailfish, Blackfin Tuna, Kingfish, and Wahoo have been showing up in good numbers. These pushes of east current have also pulled many large schools of Ballyhoo to the reef and deeper giving the oceanic predator’s plenty to forage on. Whether trolling or live baiting, you can bet our boats will be fully stocked with these fresh bait fish. The reef fishing will also start to become action central as many bottom fish such as Grouper and Snapper, and Mackerels and Jacks will take advantage of the Ballyhoo as well. Along with the currents comes a slightly cooler water temperature as well. This change in water temp. is our precursor to fall as summer comes to a close. Offshore yesterday also showed us many different types of migratory birds making the trek south to their winter home. These migrations are always a welcoming sight as autumn is just around the corner. Along with these east currents bring back good billfish fishing. Blue Marlin and Sailfish will start to move back into Key’s waters in the next few oncoming weeks and months offering anglers many opportunities for catch-of a-lifetime experiences. The full moon tends to be a great time to target Marlin in the fall so try to time your Marlin fishing a few days before or a few days after. Along with Marlin, Swordfish start to become more active during the upcoming months. Whether fishing at night, or deep dropping during the day, expect to see some really nice Swordfish.

If you are looking for an awesome fishing experience, make Key West your fall destination. Oh, and take advantage of offseason rates as well.

In many parts of North America, early hunting season begins in August, and here is no exception. The Florida Keys are bustling with hunters of all kinds right now. Armed with spearguns, slings, tickle sticks, and yes fishing poles, anglers and spearo’s alike converge on Keys waters for a multitude of hunting opportunities. August marks the beginning of Lobster season in the Keys and thousands of enthusiasts and commercial fisherman will be deploying gear in search of these tasty “bugs”. August generally is a calm moth for winds and sea conditions can be very light to glass calm, bringing crystal clear waters. These clear waters offer amazing opportunities for spearfishing as well. With clarity as far as 80 feet or more on many days, spear-fishers have their sights set on trophy fish like Hogfish, Grouper, and Snapper. Speaking of Snapper, the outer edges of the reef still have some great Snapper fishing right now. Grey Snappers, Yellowtails, and Muttons have been providing plenty of action while putting a few fillets on the table too! Most days on the Outer Limits in August begins with bent rods and Snappers.

August Reef ActionOn a recent trip our anglers had an awesome experience with big Grey Snappers and Yellowtails, and a 30lb. King Mackerel to top off the excitement. As an added bonus a gigantic Porpoise and a mother and baby showed up as the King was 30 feet from the boat and tried to take the Kingfish, but let it go with teeth scrapes down the fish, which was released into the fish box where it was filleted and turned into smoked fish. On the offshore side the fishing has slowed down quite a bit, but there have been some very quality fish to be caught. A push of large Mahi have shown back up in recent days and have put some serious wear on the drag plates. John Parke got to tangle with a big Bull the other day and ended up with a monster 43.5lb. beast of a Bull. There have also been a handful of Blue Marlin and White Marlin offshore as well. So no matter what Keys treasure you are hunting for there is something in August for everyone!!

John's 43.5lb. Bull