Early winter time fishing has kicked into high gear with the recent full moon Wahoo bite. Sailfish are also showing up in greater numbers with multiple bites per day becoming the norm. Blackfin Tuna are also more abundant, particularly early and late in the day. On the reef edge Yellowtail action is steady. It’s still a little early for King Mackerel.
Steady Dolphin fishing has been the rule during the last month. In terms of sheer numbers of fish, the last month has been better than July. As has been the case all season, there are very few fish over 20 pounds being caught. Yellowtail Snapper fishing has also been good on days featuring the right current.
The Florida Keys reopened during the first week of June. We have had a very busy charter schedule ever since. Historically June and July are prime time for Dolphin. This year that fishery has been a big disappointment. While Dolphin have been plentiful on many trips, the average size has been way down with many days featuring nothing but fish which are just below to just above legal size, (20″ to the fork of the tail). As a result we have done more reef fishing and deep dropping to produce action for our clients. The four day Red Snapper season produced good results as did the Mangrove Snapper spawn.
While the Covid-19 pandemic has put an end to charter fishing over the last two months, we will be back in operation in early June when the Keys reopen for business. We have been getting out with family and friends. The fish are still here. Lets go fishing…..
Having fished in the Florida Keys for 40 years, I continue to be reminded of how fickle fishing can be. What worked yesterday will not always produce results today. Changes is wind direction and velocity along with water quality and the direction and amount of current all affect the wintertime fishing. Of late, it’s been a little of this and a little of that to make up a decent catch. On most days in the absence of “go to” fishing we employ a variety of techniques. kite fishing, slow trolling, anchoring the reef, with some dead bait trolling thrown in, are all tactics we use almost daily.
As we begin the new year, King Mackerel fishing has really heated up. We have been catching them both on the anchor and on the troll or kite fishing. Our largest so far has been 38lbs with several others in the low 30’s. They provide great action on light tackle. We’ve also been catching Mutton Snapper, Amberjack, Dolphin, Cero and plenty of Yellowtail. Sailfishing has been slow and the Tuna bite is slow as well.
We’ve been catching a mixed bag of species of late. Sailfishing is decent, most days we’ve fished for them we’ve caught them. There has also been a few Wahoo bites. Kingfish are starting to show up in greater numbers, and on the reef Yellowtail Snapper have been biting consistently
Fall Dolphin fishing has remained consistent over the last several weeks. We have found the fish on the reef edge chasing Ballyhoo some days, under frigate birds other days, or along current edges and around floating debris. Most of the fish are 5 to 15 pounds. Also getting some Sailfish bites both on the troll and while live baiting. Sailfishing should continue to improve now that the weather is beginning to cool down. On the reef, we’ve had decent action on Yellowtail Snapper.
After our annual fall boat yard trip we are back in the water to resume running charter fishing trips. There has been good fall Dolphin fishing with a few Sailfish bites mixed in. The Sailfish action should continue to improve as the weather cools down. On the reef, the Yellowtail Snapper fishing has been consistent. Plenty of Cero on the reef as well.
Dolphin fishing has been our primary focus over the last month. This is typical for this time of year. Most of the action has taken place well offshore from the edge of the wall where water depths fall from 900′ to 1500′ out to 6-8 miles beyond the wall. finding Bird life and weed lines has been the key to success. We have also had a reasonable number of billfish bites. 4 Blue Marlin bites, a double header White Marlin bite and 3 Sailfish bites scattered over the last 3 weeks. On shorter trips we have had action fishing the reef edge for Yellowtail and Mangrove Snapper.