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Saltwater Experience's Capt. Tom Rowland on Fishing at Hawks Cay

Saltwater Experience's Capt. Tom Rowland

Hawks Cay Resort has become a second home.  My daughter thinks she was raised at there and I guess she kind of has been.  My family and I have enjoyed great times around this resort. Plus, Saltwater Experience has now been on the air for 10 years and much of that time has been spent at Hawks Cay.

On the first day of our film shoot this year, the marina was buzzing.  The fishing was great and guides were streaming back into the resort with smiles from ear to ear.  This is always a good sign for a week of filming.  Beginning our 10th year of production, we had big plans for the kind of shows that we hoped to get this year.  Certainly we planned to revisit some of our old favorite haunts, but Rich and I both wanted to try a few new things and expand our knowledge of the Florida Keys.  Many might think that having guided in the Florida Keys for 15 years that there might not be much left to explore, but anyone who has spent that kind of time on the water around Hawks Cay Resort knows that exploring the Florida Keys would take many lifetimes.  The fishing never gets old here.  We routinely fish for more than 50 species of fish from Hawks Cay Marina and find new opportunities regularly.

This year we did something entirely new by exploring the deep (600-800 feet) spots that we have run over for years.  By the end of the day, we had caught three new species of fish; Tile Fish, Snowy Grouper and Barrel Fish. Just a few years ago, Rich and I went fishing with Hawks Cay Guide Captain Scott Walker and landed our first Swordfish in the middle of the day!  Last year, we documented an accidental, first time Sawfish catch.  This place is amazing, unique and different every single day. 

No matter how long you have fished in the Florida Keys, there is always something new to do.  Conversely, for those who have not fished much or are very young, the Florida Keys offers something for every skill level. This season, we will feature more shows with kids than we have ever filmed before.  Rich brought his two young sons for an amazing day of Dolphin fishing. My sons, who are now almost grown, tested out their muscles with some giant fish in the Gulf and explored deep creeks in the Everglades with us. Plus, we were privileged to fish with Riley Stevens, a young viewer from Fort Myers, Florida, who won a trip with us through the Yellowfin Owners Tournament, an annual Hawks Cay event, and caught his first tarpon. 

Whether it is your first time angler or you’re a seasoned expert, the Florida Keys is sensational.  Hawks Cay is situated exactly in the middle of the Florida Keys chain and also exactly in the middle of the shallow and deeply hidden areas of the Everglades and the offshore waters.  It’s the perfect home-base for all kinds of fishing opportunities. 

I am happy to call Hawks Cay Resort a second home and look forward to many more years of exploration right from the marina.  To check out my fishing adventures and the beauty of Hawks Cay and the Florida Keys in high definition, be sure to watch the new season of Saltwater Experience now airing on NBC Sports, Destination America and Sportsman Channel.  No matter how good your TV is or how good our cameras are, no technology can replace seeing it with your own eyes.  Get out of the cold and come on down to Hawks Cay this winter! For more blog posts about our adventures at Hawks Cay, visit

-Capt. Tom Rowland

Saltwater Experience