Our northern friends have begun migrating south in search of warm weather, cool drinks, and year-round great fishing (without the need for an ice auger). So for those of you just joining us, this fishing report is for you. I’m going to fill you in on what you missed while you were away, as well as inform you on what to expect for the weeks ahead.
While you were gone
Inshore, late spring and summer brought phenomenal tarpon fishing up and down the Keys. The spring tarpon run offered non-stop action with 20-plus hookup trips not uncommon on a single tide.
Offshore, blackfin tuna stole the show on the Marathon Hump. On numerous trips Best Bet anglers loaded the box with fish in excess of 30 pounds—using both live bait, and on vertical jigs. The dolphin season started well, with many big slammers taken early, however everything slowed as the summer progressed, with many days when we had to put our time in to find quality fish.
The summer reef bite was highlighted by both the mangrove and the yellowtail snapper fishing. Both day and night, anglers were able to limit out on big mangroves on the shallow reef from 25 to 40 feet of water. While on the deep reef, early morning yellowtail fishing produced excellent catches of big flag tails.
What Lies Ahead
For those of you who missed out on the tarpon run, the excellent bonefish bite will help make up for it. Throughout the islands guides have been catching big bones on the flats, and I am more than happy to set you up with a captain that will put you on the fish. In the backcountry, target redfish, speckled trout, and snook. And don’t forget that all snook must be released. The FWC passed a law prohibiting the taking of snook in all of Florida’s Gulf, Everglades National Park, and Monroe County state and federal waters until Sept. 1, 2011.
Offshore, scattered dolphin can still be found around thick grass and current edges. Spend time trolling these areas and you may be able to raise a few nice gaffers which tend to stay deep this time of year. On the hump, the tuna bite remains excellent; however the sharks have started to move in making it difficult to land fish when you do hook up. Look for more sailfish to begin showing up as the water cools, and with all the bait still around (similar to last year), expect another terrific sailfish season ahead.
On the reef, the yellowtails continue to reward anglers fishing in 60 to 100 feet of water. While yellowtailing, don’t forget to drop a bait down to the bottom, as both mutton snapper and black grouper have been extremely active. Also on the reef, the cero mackerel have been thick, and more and more kingfish are showing up each day.
Your Best Bet for the Weeks Ahead: Give your local fishing captains a call.
We’ll be happy to take you fishing, or offer friendly advice on what’s biting, and how to catch the big ones. The Best Bet boats are located on the Sadowski Causeway in Key Colony Beach, just before Sparky’s Landing restaurant. Welcome back!
Mutton for Proudnik! Just this past Thursday, Key Colony Inn proprietor Sergei Proudnik (aka Captain Chernobyl) boated a healthy mutton while fishing aboard the Best Bet.