South Florida Fishing Report


Captain Matt Bellinger of Bamboo Charters out of Islamorada reported the cold weather has black drum, sheepshead and redfish schooled up in the deeper channels of Florida Bay. A few snook and tarpon, jacks and ladyfish are also being encountered.


Captain Bouncer Smith of Bouncer’s Dusky out of Miami Beach Marina reported before this week’s cold front hit his anglers had action from kingfish, dolphins, big barracudas, skipjack tuna, amberjacks, almoco jacks and Spanish mackerel. Captain Mo Estevez of New Dawn Charters out of Miami reported finding some hot action in the Finger Channels of South Biscayne Bay. Using large free lined live shrimp his clients caught snapper, grouper, porgies and bar jacks.


Captain Nick Stanczyk out of Bud N Mary’s Marina in Islamorada reported offshore anglers have been having better action from sailfish along the outer reef edge. Kingfish from five to 30 pounds are being caught along the reef. Trolling black and red feathers around the Humps is producing nice catches of five to 10 pound blackfin tuna. Bottom fishermen are doing well on yellowtail and mutton snappers. Groupers are being caught for catch and release only. Captain Chris Johnson from the charter boat SeaSquraed out of Marathon reported having plenty of action from large mangrove snappers and Spanish mackerel to six pounds.


Nedra Maxwell with the Sebastian Inlet District reported inlet fishermen having action from sheepshead, black drum and redfish. In the surf there have been quite a few bonefish and some pompano caught. Kandiss Molitor from the Juno Fishing Pier reported pier anglers were having good action from large bluefish, Spanish mackerel, jacks and ladyfish. The top bait was a silver spoon.


Captain Raul Montoro of Shallow Tails Guide Service reported large sea trout are being caught on soft plastics and top water plugs fished over grass and pot holes in three to six feet of water in Florida Bay. Henry Monaco and his son Daniel of Del Ray fished Florida Bay with captain Alan Sherman of Get Em Sportfishing Charters and landed snook to 27 inches, sea trout, snappers, jacks and redfish to 26 inches using live shrimp on a Hookup lure.


Captain Dave Hanson of Fishbuster Charters Inc. out of Bonita Springs reported when the weather will allow offshore wreck fishing is producing Spanish mackerel, cobia, snapper, grouper and jacks. Fishing inshore in the Broadway Channel area and around Hickory Bar with live shrimp his clients are catching sheepshead to 20 inches, black drum and pompano.


Jim Crego of Slim’s Fishing Camp in Belle Glade reported the recent cold snap has shut down the Lakes fishing for the time being. Largemouth bass are still in the Lake and holding in the reeds and grass where they are spawning. Mark Escobar from BJ’s Bait & Tackle in Plantation reported the canal systems in the Everglades are producing big numbers of largemouth bass.

Capt. Alan Sherman

Read more Outdoors stories from the Miami Herald

File Photo: Captain Bouncer Smith catches a mackerel near Bug Light on December 15, 1997.


    Popular artificial reef and live bait spot Bug Light demolished

    Bug Light was demolished and removed, which means anglers and charter captains have to look elsewhere for live bait.

 <span class="cutline_leadin">Good to go:</span> Ryan Bancroft of Weston measures one of the lobsters he caught in the waters of Biscayne Bay near Fishermen’s Channel in July 2013.

    Lobster fishing | Annual two-day miniseason (Wed.-Thu.)

    Claw and order expected for Florida’s annual two-day lobster miniseason

    Florida’s largest undeclared state holiday — the annual two-day lobster miniseason — arrives Wednesday and Thursday. Thousands of hopeful scuba divers, snorkelers and bully netters will crowd the state’s waterways, vying for neighborhood barbecue supremacy.

 <span class="cutline_leadin">Saving the day:</span> John Long releases a tarpon caught on fly rod by Sue Cocking off the Marquesas Keys.

    In My Opinion

    Tarpon make for nice backup plan

    Captain John Long and I zipped west in his skiff from Key West to the Marquesas Keys on Wednesday, filled with anticipation of permit. A few days earlier, anglers competing in the three-day Del Brown Invitational Permit Tournament had released 15 on fly and the winner, Nathaniel Linville, had five releases. That might not sound like much to a non-fly angler, but it’s huge. And on the previous day, Long and a friend had no less than 40 shots at permit on the flats west of Key West. They hooked two and lost them.

Miami Herald

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