As many south Floridians anticipate the kickoff of another season of Miami Dolphins football, the dolphin of a different variety; aka, the mahi mahi, have again returned just offshore and are providing anglers an excellent opportunity to load the coolers with tasty fillets without having to venture miles out into the blue water.
The dolphin bite has again moved in as close as eight to 10 miles offshore, and we’ve been loading the boxes with great numbers of schoolies and gaffer-sized fish on a consistent basis. Large weedlines have been showing up in 400 to 600 feet of water, and those willing to put their time into trolling and pitching live baits should be able to take advantage of the hot bite while it lasts.
Further out, the larger dolphin have been making appearances in the 15-20 mile range, albeit scattered at times. Keep an eye out for frigate birds and floating debris to find the larger fish, and don’t be afraid to venture out even deeper to find fish in the 15 to 30-pound class and larger.
Out on the humps the tuna fishing has been on fire. On the surface and down deep, the blackfins and skip jacks have been aggressively slamming baits and we’ve been catching loads of fish in the five to 10-pound class, with some larger ones mixed in. All methods (jigging, trolling and live baiting) have been productive, but butterfly jigging has worked best to target the blackfins hanging out below the skippies.
While you’re at the humps be sure to have a heavy rod on hand should you encounter a blue marlin feeding on the tunas. Just last week we had a big blue slam two blackfins right at the boat, but unfortunately they were the first two fish we hooked that day and didn’t have a spare one ready to pitch back out. Nonetheless, witnessing the marlin’s bill slash through the water as it charged a blackfin on the surface was a site to behold. If you do happen to see one, grab a fresh tuna from the cooler, drift it back, and hold on!
Elsewhere offshore the daytime swordfishing remains excellent. Best Bet captains Josh Gilmartin and Nick Borraccino continue pull up these majestic billfish from the deep on a consistent basis, and are open for trips if you’re looking to get out and catch a daytime sword.
In addition, captain Gilmartin has been having success deep dropping for the tasty species such as barrel fish, queen snapper and tile fish.
On the deep reef and wrecks the mutton and jack fishing continues to be steady, however the strong current has made it difficult to get the baits down. Last week we encountered two-knot currents just beyond the reef that made dropping rather difficult. Fortunately, the current hasn’t affected the yellowtail bite on the reef and we’ve been catching large numbers of flag tails up to 26 inches.
On a side note, I will now be writing the Weekly Newspaper’s fishing report on a weekly basis from now on, so be sure to check in each week to read about the hot bite and for more tips on how to catch the big ones. In the future we also plan to cover more inshore reports so you will be able to read all about what’s going on in the backcountry and on the flats.
Your Best Bet for the Week Ahead: Mix the Bag!
Best Bet Sportfishing offers a variety of trips that combine the thrill of fighting exciting gamefish, with the reward of taking home an abundance of tasty fillets! Catch mouth-watering yellowtail snapper at the reef; head offshore in search of hard-fighting and equally delicious dolphin (mahi); or venture out even deeper for the chance to fight a giant blue marlin or broadbill swordfish- it’s entirely up to you! Just give me a call or stop by the Key Colony Beach marina and we’ll customize your fishing trip to target the exact species that you want to catch!
1) Jim Negus with a sword he caught aboard the Best Bet II with Capt. Josh Gilmartin and Capt./Firstmate Nick Borraccino.
2) Rhe crew of the Best Bet II with a mixed bag of nice dolphin and barrel fish.
3) Capt. Nick Borraccino releases a sword hooked during a daytime charter.