South Florida Fishing Report


Captain Mark Schmidt of Sundancer Charters out of Murrays Marina in Key West reported permits, barracudas and sharks have been plentiful on the shallow flats around Key West. Tarpon have been active in the mornings. Bottom fishing the rock piles on the Oceanside and Gulf side has produced quality catches of mutton, mangrove and yellowtail snappers plus large red groupers. A lot of dolphin are biting offshore, with most fish on the small size, but some larger dolphin are also being caught. Nighttime mangrove snapper fishing has been excellent on the offshore reefs.


Captain Gil Guitierrez of Lucky Fishing Charters out of TNT Marina in Keystone Point reported fishing offshore of Haulover Inlet has produced a lot of bonito, a few kingfish, plenty of small dolphin, some large blackfin tuna and big hammerhead and blacktip sharks. Captain John Barker from the charter boat Blue Water out of Bayside Marina reported working the blue-water edge outside of Government Cut has been good for dolphin and bonito. Captain Mo Estevez of New Dawn Charters reported his clients have been catching plenty of mangrove, mutton and lane snappers using live shrimp and pilchards fished near the bottom in the finger channels of South Biscayne Bay.


Gary Gomer and his wife, Kimberly, of Hallandale fished the backcountry of Islamorada with captain Rick Killgore and caught 10 redfish, with most measuring more than 28 inches. Captain Nick Stanczyk out of Bud N’ Mary’s Marina in Islamorada reported sailfishing has been great one day and hard to come by the next. Blackfin tuna and dolphin are available, but they, too, have been unpredictable. Bottom fishing for yellowtail and mutton snappers has been good during day trips on the reef.


Captain Tom Van Horn of Mosquito Coast Charters reported his clients have been tearing up the black drum. The fish are ranging in size from 15 to 35 pounds. The drum have been holding in areas of deeper and cooler water in the Indian River Lagoon. Redfishing has been good early in the days along the mangrove shorelines before the winds start to blow. Sea trout, ladyfish, jacks and snapper can be found scattered throughout the Indian River Lagoon grass flats. Offshore, anglers should be able to find kingfish, cobia and dolphin over the wrecks and reefs near Chris Benson, 8A and Pelican Flats.


Captain Nestor Alvisa of Hooked on Flamingo Charters reported recent rains and high winds have made fishing in Flamingo difficult. Snook are biting soft plastics and live baits fished around Cape Sable. Lots of mangrove snappers and sea trout can be caught over the deeper grass flats south of Conchie Channel. Cut pinfish have been the best bait. Redfish have been eating chunks of ladyfish and mullet fished close to the deeper edges of the Florida Bay islands.


Captain Pete Rapps of Captain Rapps’ Charters out of Chokoloskee reported most guides in his area are targeting redfish, sea trout and snook. Fishing with live shrimp, jigs and popping corks has produced limit catches of sea trout in the 18- to 23-inch size. The best areas to target are the outside creek mouths, grass flats and bars. Snook and redfish have been feeding in the same areas. Captain Butch Rickey of BarHopp’R Kayak Fishing out of Pine Island Sound reported tarpon action has been hot with lots of fish seen rolling and a few being hooked. The area around Knapp’s Point has been a recent tarpon hot spot. Live ladyfish and the DOA CAL airhead plastics are getting most of the strikes.


Mike Wisnowski and his son, Lance, from Melbourne fished the C-8 canal with guide Alan Zaremba and caught and released 12 peacock bass up to 2 1/2 pounds using Jungle jigs and live shiners. Jim Crego from Slim’s Fishing Camp in Belle Glade reported high water has the largemouth bass moving around as they chase schools of gizzard shad. Live shiners have been getting the bass strikes, as well as spinner baits and lipped plugs. Good areas to target for the bass are Tree Island, Ritta Island and Kramer Island. Panfish are eating live worms and crickets in the Rim Canal. Crego reported seeing three large schools of snook in the Rim canal recently.

Capt. Alan Sherman

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