Captain Jason Long from Best Bet Sportfishing Charters out of Islamorada reported sailfishing continues to be good off Islamorada in depths from 20 to 60 feet. Slow trolling live ballyhoo is getting action. On the reef in 60 to 80 feet, the flag yellowtail bite has been excellent. Large kingfish have been biting in depths from 40 to 100 feet.
Captain Jimbo Thomas from the charter boat Thomas Flyer out of Bayside Marina reported offshore day fishing off of Miami Beach has been slow. To make a decent catch, he has been concentrating on getting that early morning sailfish before hitting the bottom for deep water tilefish and then looking for amberjacks on the shallower wrecks. Captain Jim Hobales of caught Lookin Charters has been fishing live shrimp on the bottom in Government Cut and catching hogfish, grouper, yellowtail, mangrove and mutton snapper plus an assortment of jacks. Captain Gil Gutierrez from Lucky Fishing Charters out of TNT Marina in Keystone reported having spotty action from sailfish off of Haulover Inlet. Kingfish from small to more than 20 pounds have been available along the reef. At night, he has had steady tarpon action along the beaches from Haulover Inlet south to Government Cut. Captain Paul Roydhouse of Fishing Headquarters out of Fort Lauderdale reported a catch of a 165-pound yellowfin tuna aboard the charter boat Keeping it Reel. The tuna ate a live bait fished under a kite in 150 feet and took three hours to land.
Captain Rick Stanczyk out of Bud N’ Mary’s Marina in Islamorada reported king mackerel to 40 pounds have been biting along the outer reef line. Yellowtail snapper are coming over the rail in good numbers for bottom fishermen. Sailfishing has been fair, and the guys with tuna towers are spotting rays with lots of cobias cruising along the shallow reefs when the water has been clear. Fishing from the Silent Hunt, captains James Platt and BJ Myer and anglers Codie Darbie, John Callion and Michael Paude all from Marathon and angler Paula Marshall from Oklahoma took home the top honors trophy during the Gold Cup Sailfish Championship Series that ended Jan. 24.
Tom Turowski from the Sebastian Inlet Bait and Tackle said snook have been hitting day and night at the inlet. The snook are eating shrimp and flare jigs. During the day sheepshead, black drum, bluefish, flounder up to 91/2 pounds and redfish are eating live shrimp on the bottom and free lined. There have been some night shrimp runs.
Captain Nestor Alvisa of Hooked on Flamingo Charters reported the early morning fishing around Cape Sable has been hot for snook, redfish, sheepshead, black drum and sea trout. They are eating live shrimp hooked to a jig head. Working the Florida Bay islands with chunks of ladyfish on the bottom is producing slot-sized redfish. Captain Ariel Cabrera reported finding plenty of sea trout, redfish, snook and drum on the inside waters of Whitewater Bay. Working the creeks and rivers near Shark River with jigs is producing mackerel, snapper and gag grouper.
Captain Pete Rapps of Captain Rapps Fishing Charters out of Chokoloskee reported water temperatures continue to drop along the coast and inshore. Redfish have been available in good numbers on the edges of the oyster bars during the incoming tides. Sheepshead continue to be caught along oyster bars and over offshore structure. Plenty of spackled sea trout and silver trout are being caught with shrimp under a popping cork on the incoming tides and are being caught along the oyster bars as well.
Ed Lane of Maryland and Dennis Murphy of Plantation fished with captain Alan Zaremba in the L-35 canal and caught 161 largemouth bass using floating Rapalas. Captain Mike Shellen of Shellen Guide Service out of Buck Headridge on Lake Okeechobee reported speckled perch fishing continues to be good at the mouth of the Kissimmee River adjacent to King’s Bar. Other areas that are producing speckled perch catches have been the local canals, Harney Pond, Indian Prairie, Buckhead Ridge and J&S.
Capt. Alan Sherman