Florida Keys Weekly

April 27th, 2012
Sailfishing is red hot


Dolphin fishing is not too bad, either!

We’ve had plenty of east to northeast winds, and as if on cue, the sailfish are here in big numbers. Some of our crews are posting double-digit numbers, spotting as many as two dozen sails in a day and hooking at least half that. This is an exciting type of fishing that only happens at certain times of the year, and we are smack dab in the middle of the red-hot bite.

The Best Bet fleet led their charters to 18 sailfish hookups on Tuesday.

Sight fishing for sailfish means the boat is constantly on the move with the crew scanning the water for tailing sailfish. Tailing is a term used to describe sailfish that are up on the surface traveling in a westerly direction in the course of their annual migration. Once sighted, the crew, or clients if they are so inclined, will cast any manner of live baits just in front of their migration path, and there ya go…fish on! The fish travel in numbers, so it is possible to hook two or three fish at a time. Tthat’s when it gets crazy. There is nothing more exciting than having three or four sailfish hooked up at the same time, each of them tail walking in different directions. It is a pure adrenalin rush! If you have never experienced this type of fishing, you have to give it a shot – it is intense!

In the same general area there have been a lot of dolphin coming through. All our boats have been catching good numbers of nice size schoolies and gaffer dolphin, working the color change and current edges. Out in about 100 to 300 feet of water, keep your eyes open for the birds as they will, more often than not, put you right on top of these tasty game fish.

Matt from Oregon with one of the nice gaffer dolphin caught last week aboard the Best Bet IV with Capt. Bobby Manske

The reef fishing in the Middle Keys area continues to be very good with great catches of nice size yellowtail snapper filling our coolers on a daily basis.

The Middle Keys tarpon fishing scene has seen plenty of activity as well. Both the Seven Mile Bridge and Bahia Honda Bridge offer great venues for catching The Silver King (Tarpon). Early morning or early evening trips are most common, although they can be caught all day. Tarpon fishing should do nothing but get better for the next several weeks, and it is a great way to get on the water in pursuit of one of the Keys’ most renowned game fish. Area bridges offer relatively calmer waters even during high winds.

Well, I’ve got to get back out on the water in search of some live bait. This week, the fishing continues to be red hot, and the sailfish are stealing the show!

Best Bet for the week ahead: Ask your captain about heading offshore in pursuit of sailfish and dolphin. Wrap up the day with an evening tarpon trip at the area bridges.

Terry Janney and Shane Alexander, hailing from Spartanburg, South Carolina, boated a beautiful pair of permit aboard Angler Management Charters with Capt. Jim Griffith.

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Jason is the owner of Best Bet SportFishing.

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