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Brandon is a fourth generation native of Key West who hails from a family of charter guides and commercial fisherman. He was exposed to saltwater fishing at a young age primarily through his father. There was never a weekend that wasn’t spent fishing – as well as a few other days of the week. “I can remember countless times him pulling me out of school when the sailfish bite was going off or if there was a ton of cooperative permit around. Which was always followed by ‘don’t tell your mother,” he reminisces.
Brandon picked up the fly rod at the early age of 6, constantly obsessing with getting better and practicing in the canal behind his house. “The addiction took ahold of me when I was 7 and was able to land my first bonefish on fly. From then on, I knew that I wanted to be a fishing guide like my father. A week after I graduated high school, I got a loan for skiff and started guiding.”
Guiding in the Keys is one of the most challenging fisheries in the world, and the challenge is addicting for Brandon. He is always trying to figure the never-ending chess game that is flats fishing.
“If I had to say what my favorite part of guiding would be, I’d say hands-down, my clients. The fly-fishing community isn’t bound by age or geographical location. It’s a brotherhood of like-minded people sharing their passion for water. Whether it’s salt or fresh, we are all bonded by the sport.”
Brandon has become passionate about fishing in tournaments and chasing world records. “When you’re looking down the rod at a possible world record or tournament win, you want to have confidence in your equipment,” he says, which is why Make is his reel of choice. He recently had the honor of guiding Kat Valillee to the women’s world record permit (21lbs on 6lb tippet). Kat used her Mako 9550 to land the record-breaking fish.
Consistency, reliability and toughness are the reasons Brandon chooses Mako. “Guiding over 280 days a year, I’m happy to have the reels able to withstand all of the harsh environments I put them through.”