By now, you’re probably a bit tired of dragging people behind your boat and dealing with the crowds of boaters anchored on the reef and congesting channels. I don’t blame you; lobster mini-season can be a bit taxing, both physically and mentally.
Hopefully you had a successful and accident-free couple of days and were able to load up the coolers with tasty tails. If not, there’s plenty of hungry fish out there that will make an excellent consolation prize served grilled, fried or blackened if the lobster eluded you. So before trailering your bug-hunting vessel back home, or before catching your flight out of paradise, you may as well hit the water one more time and take advantage of the world-class Florida Keys fishing.
Offshore, the dolphin fishing has heated back up and we’re again loading the boxes with quality fish. The dolphins remain scattered, anywhere from 12 to 22 miles out, but they can be found if you put your time into it. Keep an eye out for birds and weed lines and have a live bait ready to pitch when you see the fish. The warm water temperatures have made the dolphin a bit sluggish and they’ve been a little picky lately about what they’ll eat.
On the humps the blackfin tuna bite remains excellent. The smaller fish have been extremely aggressive lately and can easily be caught while trolling. For the larger fish, live baiting and vertical jigging has produced the best results but be prepared for the smaller fish to slam your bait before the larger blackfins can find it.
Also offshore, daytime swordfishing is quickly becoming one of the most popular types of fishing in the Keys. Best Bet captain Nick Borraccino had three straight successful trips last week where he returned to the dock with at least one sword. If you have caught your share of dolphin and snapper over the years and are looking to try something different, I highly recommend taking a daytime swordfishing trip with Nick or one of the Best Bet captains. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime thrill to reel a monster sword up from the deep depths of the Atlantic.
For those of you wanting to test your strength and endurance a little closer to home head to the deep wrecks to battle hard-fighting amberjacks in the 60-plus pound range. Just make sure you have plenty of beers waiting for you back at the dock to ease the soreness in your arms and shoulders after reeling them in.
Also on the wrecks we’re continuing to catch big mutton snapper in good numbers and we’ve been catching our share of summertime kingfish as well. For those of you looking for a kingfish or two to throw on the smoker put out a live bait on the surface with a stretch of wire, or drop down a vertical jig for best results.
Out on the reef the daytime yellowtail bite has been superb with quality flags in the three-pound range ready for the taking. The nighttime mangrove snapper bite also remains red hot for those of you looking to beat the heat and load the coolers during the evening and after dark hours.
Your Best Bet for the Weeks Ahead: Take a daytime swordfishing trip.
If you’re looking for a truly unique and exciting fishing experience I recommend taking a daytime swordfishing trip with Best Bet Sportfishing. Stop by charter boat row in Key Colony Beach (mile marker 53.5) or give me a call to book your trip. Catching a daytime swordfish from half-a-mile below the surface is a fishing accomplishment you won’t soon forget.
Swordfish- Captain Ty Price (left) and Captain Nice Borraccino display their daytime swordfish catch.
Dolphin- Use live bait to entice big dolphin when the water temps rise.
Lobster- Hopefully everyone found their share of these guys the last couple of days.