The smoke has cleared from
Sunday’s spectacular 4th of July
fireworks display and now it’s time
to focus our attention back on
fishing. I’d like to start this week’s
report by reminding everyone that
the Dolphin Scramble Tournament
is taking place this weekend—with
kickoff festivities Friday at 6:30 pm
at the Sunset Grill, and boats leaving
the dock at 8:30 am Saturday
out of the 7-Mile Marina. For those
of you that don’t remember the
event (it hasn’t been held in a
few years), the Dolphin Scramble
throws a unique twist into your
run-of-the-mill dolphin tournament.

Basically, it’s a race to see
who can catch and weigh-in a
legal size dolphin the fastest. The
event is loads of fun for all participants,
with $1,000 awarded for the
first fish, as well as cash and prizes
for the largest fish.

Speaking of legal dolphin, it
begs repeating that fish must be
20 inches measured from the fork
to keep. We’re still seeing loads of
small schoolies offshore and just
beyond the reef in the 16 to 19-
inch range. Remember, whether
you’re fishing in the tournament
or just out with your buddies,
measure your fish before throwing
them in the box. Unfortunately,
we’re still not seeing great numbers
of large dolphin offshore so
chances are you’ll have to weed
through the small fish before landing
a few keepers. If you are planning
on heading offshore, you’re
best bet may be to make the run
out to the hump and take advantage
of the excellent blackfin tuna
bite. Last week we caught several
fish up to 15 pounds vertical jigging
and trolling feathers.

On the reef, the snapper fishing
has been nothing short of
outstanding. Fish the deep reef
in the mornings and early afternoons
to take advantage of the
red hot yellowtail bite; and in the
evenings and after dark get ready
to slam the mangrove snappers
that are aggressively feeding in
30 to 50 feet of water. Pilchards or
small pinfish fished on jig heads
have produced the best results for
targeting the mangroves.

On the other side of the
islands, Captain Pablo Rodriguez
of Slamtime Charters reports the
lemon sharks are thick just outside
the banks of Everglades National
Park. Last week Pablo’s anglers
caught nine lemons in the 50 to
100-pound class in just over an
hour burning only a single block
of chum. Pablo has also been
catching big redfish early in the
mornings fishing the deeper water
using live shrimp on ¼ ounce
chartreuse jig heads, and says the
snook bite has been phenomenal
pitching live pinfish and pilchards
on the outgoing tide. In addition,
Pablo notes that tarpon “are everywhere”
in the Park, and that he’s
been catching four to five-pound
speckled trout outside the flats
with small pinfish and live shrimp
fished on jig heads. In Florida
Bay, Mike Long, has been tearing
up the mangroves fishing in the
grass in four to six feet of water
just north of East and West Bahia
Honda. Small pinfish and fresh cut
bait has worked the best, and you
should have no trouble catching
your share of pinfish behind the
boat in your chum line.

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