The Bull and Cow Dolphin Tournament kick off this weekend and is the beginning of a very busy tournament season for us aboard the Best Bet boats. With numerous dolphin and tarpon tournaments on the horizon, sleep is going to be a thing of the past. Our crew for the Bull and Cow includes my father, (Happy Birthday, Mike Long!), Joe Martz, Matt and Carolyn Anthony of Sparky’s Landing and her parents Dean and Betty Pickard. Dean and Betty are newcomers to our tournament team, and we’re all excited to get out there and have a great couple of days of fishing.
We’ve spent several days this past week scouting offshore for the tournament and the fishing has been awesome across the board. The dolphin bite has really picked up with lots of school fish scattered from 400 feet out to 700 feet, so for those of you who don’t like to run way offshore, you can stay within sight of land and catch plenty of fish. Look for scattered weed lines with birds working for your best results. Further offshore we located dolphin in excess of 30 pounds under birds and in current rips, so there should be plenty of quality fish weighed in this weekend at the tournament.
The black fin tuna have been very active on the humps this past week as well. Quality size fish from 12 to 25 pounds have been consistent for us on every trip. Vertical jigging has been the most consistent way to catch the larger fish. If you want a real battle, drop that jig all the way to the bottom and make sure you have plenty of line left on your spool. The big amberjacks are going to give you a run for it and really test your strength and stamina.
Inshore, the deep reef has come alive with yellowtail. Mixing it up a bit from the patch reef fishing we have been so accustomed to over the past few months. We have been fishing in 40-65 feet of water and limiting out on fish is the 16-18 inch range. The bull sharks did not waste any time, almost as if they have been waiting out there for us all winter and spring so they make the yellow tailing that much more challenging. While flat lining has been producing quality yellowtail, the bottom is alive with groupers. On more than one occasion this past week we released several groupers, all of which will once again be legal to keep beginning this month. There have also been some big mangroves and muttons on the bottom. A half-ounce jig head with a live pilchard or shrimp will do the trick.
The backcountry has been heating up as well. I have spoken with a number of guides, and they are all talking about the number of tarpon they are seeing on the flats and in the channels. That’s good news for us in the upcoming tarpon tournaments. Captain Shelby Bentley of On Point Charters reported landing multiple tarpon on fly this past week with double digit hook ups. Now that is good fishing!
Best Bet tip of the week: May is the most versatile month for fishing here in the Florida Keys so get out on the water and take advantage of the pristine weather and world class fishing.
Bull sharks can make the yellow tail fishing even more challenging truly testing ones light tackle angling ability.
The yellowtail fishing is getting better by the day and over this past weekend, a group of anglers from the mainland limited out on yellowtail in one hour.