We have been catching a little bit of everything over the course of the last 10 days. This is a transitional time of year and our catch reflects that. Some days we’ve been catching Snapper, Grouper and Kings on the reef edge, other days we’ve been trolling the blue water for Tuna, Dolphin and Wahoo.
Monthly Archives: March 2014
The first week of March finds us between seasons with very little good fishing to report. Our winter action which consisted of Sailfish, Tuna, King Mackerel, and Cero is about over, but spring action has not yet begun. Water quality along the reef edge and beyond has frequently been poor this winter. As an example of what Iâm talking about, consider what I found on a recent trip just offshore of the reef edge. The water was a dull dark green. There was a lot of scattered weed, not the kind that holds fish, but rather the stuff that makes it hard to keep your lines clear. When we anchored down we found that what little current there was, trickling up under the boat, into the wind. Thatâs a tough condition; no life on the surface, hard to make a Snapper drift, and too weedy to troll. On that particular day we did manage to bend the rod on âsnakeâ King Mackerel, Little Tunny and a few large Blue Runners. The several snapper we hooked were all eaten by sharks before we could get them to the boat.
On days when we have the time and decent weather, weâve had success making longer runs to areas less heavily fished. With south wind, weâve run up into the gulf and had some good kingfish action with fish averaging 20 lbs. Weâve also hit various rock piles in the gulf for a mix of Lane, Yellowtail, and Grey Snapper as well as throw back Grouper. A good thing to remember is that just as the Southside patches can provide calmer water on a north wind, so too can the gulf areas provide calmer conditions on the south wind.
The reef edge west of âthe end of the barâ has yielded some decent catches providing there is current to move the chum. Big Yellowtail, Mutton Snapper, and legal size but out of season Grouper are all available. Amberjacks are congregating on the wrecks in advance of their spring spawn. Offshore remains spotty, you might find a few Dolphin and the occasional Wahoo or you might not.
Good Luck and tight lines,
Finally the wind has slacked off at least for the last week or so which is about all you can expect this time of year. I hope everyone has had a chance to take advantage of the calmer weather and get out on the water.
A pretty good Wahoo bite headlines the recent fishing action. We saw a peak during the Jan full moon but the action on Wahoo remains steady through the dark of the moon and now with the waxing Feb moon. Best areas to encounter Wahoo have been âthe end of the barâ, the vicinity of the local wrecks and anywhere between 120â and 250â where the water is blue and the current is moving. Trolling wire rigged ballyhoo and lipped plugs or live baiting âspeedosâ Goggle Eyes, Thread Herring and large Pilchards has produced fish.
King Mackerel have also belatedly moved into our area in pretty good numbers in the last 10 days. The run of Kings is very late this year but welcome for those of us in the Charter Fishing industry as they produce great action for our clients. The Kings can be found on both the Gulf side and the south side of our Keys. Try trolling to locate the fish and then anchoring and chumming to hold the fish.
Snapper fishing has been unreliable of late owing to very clear water conditions and fickle current. Clear water and no current is a prescription for poor snapper fishing on the reef edge, either anchor out in the deep where the clear water doesnât matter as much, or find the current by moving east or west along the reef edge.
Sailfish action is so so, there are a few Sails lurking around the shallow fore reefs where Ballyhoo are still congregated, keep an eye out for Bait showers which will alert you to their presence. Tight Lines and good luck,
Capt. Brad Simonds
In the temporary absence of Tuna, Sailfish and other bluewater fish we have been catching King Mackerel, Yellowtail Snapper, Amberjack and other assorted reef and wreck dwellers. All of these fish are fine fighters and many of them are delicious eating.