This past week, our local waters have definitely calmed down to our normal summer time pattern. The wind that made lobstering difficult for the two-day mini season has since abated.
Regular season starts Saturday, Aug. 6, and the long-range forecast looks good for calmer seas – providing Emily takes off to the east like we all hope.
If you plan on lobstering, please check the rules as Monroe County and the Keys have a different set of rules than the rest of the state.
The tranquil conditions have allowed most boats to fish the reef or make the long runs 15-30 miles offshore in search of dolphin. Working the birds will pay big dividends. While there are lots of smaller dolphins around small groups of working birds, moving west will put you on the bigger fish. Those boats that made the trip were rewarded with great catches of dolphin up to 35 pounds.
Closer inshore, the reef remains very active with nice catches of yellowtail and mangrove snapper with a few mutton snapper and grouper tossed in to mix things up a bit.
The nighttime mangrove snapper bite is outstanding right now in 40-60 of water, and night fishing is a great way to beat the heat. Typical night trips are four and a half to six hours in length and guarantee plenty of action.
Surprisingly enough, the tarpon are still here lingering in the shallower inshore waters. The larger fish over 100 pounds or so, however, have moved on. There are still plenty of tarpon in the ranging from 40 to 100-pounds in the area. Concentrate less on the bridges and more on the area channels, beaches and outside edges of the local oceanside flats. Pinfish and crabs are the best baits to land a late-season silver king.
Best Bet for the week ahead: Mix it up. Mangrove snapper in the morning; lobster in the afternoon.