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Captain Joel’s Fishin’ Holes

Published on: September 13, 2018

A new chapter begins in the Florida Keys

Over two decades ago, my wife and I incorporated Ana Banana Fishing Company in North Hutchinson Island, Fla. In 1999 we moved to Apollo Beach and started chartering full time. Our son Joseph was 1 year old and our daughter Brooke was born four years later. We’ve had our ups and downs. Some of our “downs” were red tide, fish kills, oil spills, record cold snaps, hurricanes, recessions, tornadoes, chemical/toxic spills, several different resort and marina owners changing hands at Little Harbor, EPA area seagrass closures, Homeland Security area restrictions, manatee area restrictions, and several other personal and professional trials and tribulations. 

Some “ups” were Ana Banana Kids Fishing Camps and Derbies, being featured on several TV and radio shows, clinics at fishing and boat shows, being displayed in many magazines and newspapers, several tournament wins and placements, and I even became honorary Mayor of Apollo Beach. One thing that stayed constant was chartering, and no matter what we were up against, we overcame adversity as a family. Fishing is our passion, and we live to hunt game fish and lead our clients to them for the memories of a lifetime. 

After many years of chartering in Tampa Bay we have decided to expand Ana Banana’s operations to the Florida Keys. On Oct. 1, 2018, Ana Banana Fishing Company will offer charters out of Marathon, Fla., too. We will have a fleet of different-sized boats from 21 to 45 feet. We will offer reef, wreck, flats, deep sea, big game, spearfishing, diving, snorkeling, lobstering, bully netting, bow fishing, night fishing, overnight excursions, bar hopping, shelling, eco tours, dolphin/manatee/bird watching, shark/stingray feeding and sunset booze cruises. 

We’ll target sailfish, wahoo, tuna, swordfish, dolphin, marlin, cobia, tripletail, amber jack, kingfish, tarpon, grouper, snapper, tilefish, shark, snook, redfish, permit, pompano, bonefish, barracuda, sea trout, hogfish, flounder and many more species. It’s always been our dream to live and fish in the Florida Keys. I was born near there and fished the keys all of my life. Grandpa John captained the Flamingo Bell down there for over 40 years, and we even celebrated our honeymoon in the keys. It’s good timing to make our move because I turn 50 in January, our son Master Captain Jojo Brandenburg and his fiancée, Master Captain Quinlyn Haddon, have started their own charter company in Tampa Bay and will also be chartering Ana Banana Fishing Company clients. Hopefully, Jojo and Quin and our grandson Atlas will join us in the keys soon. Jojo and Quin will continue this weekly fishing column in The Observer News, and the monthly forecast in Coastal Angler Magazine. 

We want to thank our loyal readers, fishing clients, local anglers, business owners/workers, friends and family for all your trust and support. We want to recognize some businesses and individuals who have helped us shape Ana Banana Fishing Company over the years: Chuck Atkins from Coastal Angler Magazine; Chere Simmons of The Observer News; the Dickman family; Captain Brian Lemelin of Optimis Charters; Linda Cook of Bayside Living Magazine; Beagle, Meagan and Jesse at Alafia Marine; Clear Channel; 1250 WHNZ; Greg, Steve, Mark and Robert at Bob’s Machine Shop; Mike Mahoney of TA Mahoney; John Olivera, Power Pole; Mustad Hooks; Penn rod/reels; Granowicz’s Circles Restaurant; Lands End Marina; Hooks Bar and Grill; Rose and Rose, RnD Tackle; JC Bait Shop of Apollo Beach; Maurice, Ruskin Bait & Tackle; Bobby Ramey, All Steel Metal Buildings; Little Harbor Resort; Julie, Village Marina; Robert Newhart, Sunset Grill; Sanchez Brothers; Hanson Boats; Yamaha Outboards; Robby Golden, JP Frog; Tim Salisbury, United We Stand; Captains Bill and Billy Miller of Lucky Strike/Hooked on Fishing; Stephen Warenchak our webmaster; Don and Rebecca Dingman, Hook The Future; Jon and Gina Brunson, Addicted to the Outdoors; Bruce at West Marine Apollo Beach; Shawn Haverfield, The Docks; Robin Conely at National Pediatric Cancer Foundation; Mary & Martha House; Col. John McDaniels, WWIA, MacDill Air Force Base; Dave Rigner, Hillsborough County Marine Sheriff’s Office; Mike, Hillsborough County Marine Safety Division; Dr. Hueter, Mote Marine Laboratories; Tracy Cannon, Southshore Signs; and the Southshore Chamber of Commerce.

For a charter with Captain Joel Brandenburg in the Florida Keys, call 813-267-4401, or visit

For a charter in Tampa Bay with Captain Jojo Brandenburg or Captain Quinly Haddon, call 813-458-5758.