Outdoors notebook

South Florida fishing report



Best bet

Mark Escobar of BJ’s Bait and Tackle in Plantation reported dropping water levels in the Everglades Conservation Areas has moved a lot of largemouth bass into the canals. Catches of more than 100 largemouth bass has not been uncommon recently. Good areas to try are Sawgrass Recreation Park, Alligator Alley and the Holy Land. Floating Rapalas and soft plastics are getting a lot of action.


Captain Mo Estevez of New Dawn Charters reported the sea trout bite has really turned on along the western shorelines of South Bay. Casting jigs tipped with soft plastics and fishing with live shrimp under a floating cork in areas that have three to six feet of water is resulting in sea trout more than 18 inches. Captain Paul Roydhouse of FishHeadquarters.com out of Fort Lauderdale reported having action from sailfish and large bull dolphins along the blue-water edge in 300 feet of water offshore of Port Everglades. The dolphins and sailfish have been eating live goggle eye jacks and mullet. Paul Ripa of Rippy’s Bait & Tackle in North Miami Beach reported pier fishermen from the Newport Fishing Pier reported having steady action from Spanish mackerel. Most of the mackerel were caught on jigs and live shrimp.


Captain Chris Johnson on the charter boat SeaSquared out of Marathon reported having plenty of action from mangrove snappers, bluefish and Spanish mackerel. Most of the action is taking place on the Gulf side of the Keys. During the 50th Annual Islamorada Sailfish Tournament, the 4 Aces team set a record and took first place by catching and releasing 34 of the 330 sailfish caught during the three-day event. Captain John Dudas of Miami guided anglers Peter and Christian Adrian of Miami to the win. Jeffery Liederman of Key Biscayne and Robbie Ramirez of Miami were crewmates. Captain Nick Stanczyk of Bud N Mary’s Marina reported besides the great offshore sailfish bite taking place offshore of Islamorada, there are plenty of blackfin tuna available on the surface. Plenty of yellowtail and a few mutton and mangrove snapper plus some nice groupers are being caught on the reef. Deep dropping has been good for queen snapper and swordfish.

Treasure coast

Captain Charlie Conner of FishTales Charters out of Port St. Lucie reported sea trout fishing has slowed a bit over the grass flats but plenty of sheepshead and black drum were biting around the bridges, docks and structure in the St Lucie River. Redfish are being caught next to the dock pilings. Pompano and whiting are being caught in the surf and the inlets seem to be full of jacks, ladyfish and some decent-sized flounder. Snook season on the Atlantic coast closes Dec.15.

Florida Bay

Captain Nestor Alvisa of Hooked on Flamingo Charters reported finding plenty of spooky redfish on the most shallow of the grass flats in Florida Bay. These redfish would eat white soft plastic jerk baits. There has been a few snook, redfish, sheepshead, black drum and snappers in the Florida Bay channels as well as up close to many of the outside Island shorelines. Sea trout are available in the channels and grass flats around Conchie Channel.

Southwest Coast

Captain Terry Pitz fishing Southwest Florida Charters out of Pine Island Sound reported the snook fishing has been excellent for catch and release in his area. Fishing the back bays and flats with white bait and cut ladyfish on a good tide has resulted in some large snook catches. Redfish have been tailing along the oyster reefs and sand bars and when the tide is moving, these reds will eat live shiners, shrimp and jigs. Sea trout have been easy to catch and a few cobia, tripletail, Spanish mackerel and pompano have made it into the back bays as well.


Captain Michael Shellen of Shellen Guide Service out of Buck Head Ridge on Lake Okeechobee reported flipping and pitching weighted baits into the thick cover of Lake Okeechobee is how Illinois angler Chad Morganthaler caught 64 pounds of largemouth bass during the three-day Last Chance event that gave him the “Golden Ticket” to a spot in the upcoming Bass Master Classic. Speckled perch fishing has turned on in the mouth of the Kissimmee River at night and in the grass areas around the islands during the day. Live minnows and jigs is what the specks are eating.

Read more Outdoors stories from the Miami Herald

Greg Shaughnessy, left, and Dillon Justice show off a large snook they caught and released using a SpoolTek lure in Jupiter Inlet.


    New SpoolTek lure catches monster snook in dark of night

    There’s an oft-repeated bromide that nothing good happens after 2 a.m., but that’s not necessarily true when it comes to snook fishing. Snook angler extraordinaire/fishing tackle maker Dave Justice insisted that that’s when he, his son Dillon, 18, employee Greg Shaughnessy and I should test his latest innovation, the SpoolTek, for catching huge linesiders in Jupiter Inlet.

  • Fishing Report

    South Florida fishing report: Aug. 20, 2014

    Captain Jimbo Thomas from the charter boat Thomas Flyer out of Miamarina at Bayside reported that large schoolie dolphins have been pretty thick along a giant weedline that has been located between 20 and 25 miles offshore of Miami.

  • South Florida outdoors notebook: Aug. 20, 2014

    Bassbusters Florida will hold silver and gold division team tournaments Saturday and Sunday out of Roland Martin’s Marine Center in Clewiston. Register at 5 a.m. both days. Weigh-ins will begin at 3 p.m. For more information, call Chris Fickey at 941-232-9539.

Miami Herald

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