Light winds and variable clouds have prevailed the forecasts this past week, and the fishing both inshore and offshore in mid August in the Florida Keys is still producing excellent catches.
The offshore scene remains very productive with lots of quality dolphin catches; our trips this past week have even yielded a few nice wahoo mixed in to spice things up a bit. However, offshore trips require a more significant investment of time and are better suited for more seasoned anglers. This venue requires anglers to put in some time six to eight hours, because our favorite blue and green fish – dolphin, of course – continue to be found a fair distance offshore. Waters about 15 to 30 miles out have produced the best results.
The usual tactics still apply – working the weed lines and searching for floating debris and small groups of birds working to the west. Adhering to these few tips will make your outing successful.
If you and your family prefer a shorter boat ride complete with non-stop angling action, ask your captain to take you out on the patch. Patch reefs are small groups of coral and sea fans right on top of the reef.
Mangrove snapper have invaded these patches as well as mutton snapper, grouper and smaller, but legal, yellowtail snapper. The best depths to find these fish right now are in about 20 to 40 feet of water for some outstanding mangrove snapper action.
The best bait for these tasty sea creatures is small live pinfish, pilchards and ballyhoo. Mangrove snapper are very strong and hard fighting fish.
Did I mention they are excellent table fare?
There are large schools of ballyhoo on the patch reefs right now, so you can either catch them with a cast net, hair hooks or sabiki rigs.
Whatever your preference, please get out and enjoy our beautiful Keys waters while remaining respectful of our sensitive marine environment.
Best Bet for the Week Ahead: Get on the patch reefs; it is so good right now!