Captain Nick Stanczyk from Bud N’ Mary’s Marina in Islamorada reported the offshore boats working out of Bu N’ Mary’s Marina have had some real good catches since the cold weather moved in. The Relentless charter boat had five cobias to 30 pounds plus yellowtail and mutton snappers plus a bunch of king mackerel to 20 pounds. The Kalex charter boat had catches of yellowtail and mutton snappers to 12 pounds on the reef plus blackfin tuna over the Hump and cobias to 40 pounds in Hawks Channel.
Captain Dean Panos of Double D Charters out of Keystone Marina reported averaging three to six sailfish a day. His best action has occurred between Government Cut and Triumph Reef. Using live baits fished under a kite and working depths between 100 to 200 feet of water has produced the sailfish action plus some gaffer size dolphins and large kingfish. Captain Bouncer Smith of Bouncers Dusky Fishing Charters reported offshore fishing is picking up offshore of Government Cut. On recent charters his clients have had mackerel, sailfish, blackfin tuna, sharks, snappers and bonitos offshore and tarpon along the beach. Captain Mike Johnson of Local Knowledge Fishing Charters out of Fort Lauderdale reported having action on daytime swordfish offshore of Port Everglades.
Captain Bob Fernicola of Backcountry/Ocean Charters out of Key Largo reported working the backcountry of Florida Bay has been producing steady catches of snook, redfish, sea trout, jacks, ladyfish, snapper and a few pompano. Captain Dexter Simmons of Key West Fly Fishing Charters reported his anglers are having ball catching large jacks and large barracudas on fly. Before the cold weather permits were available on the shallow flats and should return as soon as the waters warm up. Captain Brian Cone of Contagious Fishing Charters reported before the cold weather settled in schools of ballyhoo was attracting the attention of sailfish and blackfin tuna over the reef. Dolphins were chasing flying fish out in 300 feet of water. Cobia fishing has been good in Hawks Channel when the water has been calm and clear. The cobias are holding over wrecks and following large rays on the bottom.
Henry Caimotto from the Snook Nook Bait and Tackle in Jensen Beach reported offshore anglers trolling ballyhoo in 60 to 80 feet of water are doing well on sailfish and dolphins. Beach fishermen should see pompano, bluefish and lots of whiting in the surf. Use clams and sand fleas for the pompano, spoons and cut bait for the bluefish and shrimp pieces for the whiting. In the Indian River look for redfish near Bear Point all the way south to Blind Creek. Sea trout will be in three to four feet of water over grass. Large snook fishing has been excellent around all of the bridges both day and night. Flare Hawk jigs bounced along the bottom is getting most of the snook strikes.
Captain Nestor Alvisa of Hooked on Flamingo Charters reported that before the big chill he was having lots of action from slot size redfish working the Florida Bay island shorelines with jig heads and shrimp. Fishing with shrimp near the bottom during the cold spell his angler had good action from black drum, sheepshead and a few redfish and snook in the protected creeks and back bays of Flamingo.
Captain Rob Modys of SoulMate Charters out of Sanibel reported the creeks and rivers in the Estero Bay area have been producing redfish on the moving tides along the oyster bars and mangrove shorelines. Look for snook to have moved up into the rivers and creeks with the cold water. Sea trout will continue to cooperate over the flats in two to three feet of water. Look for the cleanest water you can find and use shrimp on jigs and popping corks for best results.
Captain Michael Shellen of Shellen Guide Service out of Buck Head Ridge on Lake Okeechobee reported the recent cold spell shut the bass fishing down but the speckled perch continue to bite. Work the Kissimmee grass lines and the mouth of the River with jigs and live minnows for the best action from the speckled perch. Howard Kalika of New York fished with captain Alan Zaremba in the L-38 canal and caught over a hundred largemouth bass using popper flies.
Capt. Alan Sherman