Captain Nick Stanczyk out of Bud N Mary’s Marina reported offshore boats looking for large sting rays on the bottom in crystal clear waters are catching limits of cobia in the 15- to 61-pound range. On the party boat Miss Islamorada out of their marina, a rare large sawfish was caught and released. On the patch reefs and along the outer reef line, big schools of cero mackerel have moved into the area and these fish are tearing up the ballyhoo schools.
Jamie Owens from the party boat Atlantis out of Haulover Marina reported when the current isn’t too strong offshore of Haulover Inlet, his customers are catching a lot of vermillion snappers plus a few mutton snappers on the bottom. On the surface, a few dolphins and kingfish are being caught. During a Busman’s Holiday, captain Dick Russel of Dania Beach fished by himself offshore of Fort Lauderdale and landed a 100-pound white marlin. The marlin ate a slow trolled “flipper” bonito in 600 feet of water and it took four hours to land the fish using 30-pound conventional tackle.
Captain Bill Hauck on the party boat Sea King out of Marathon reported his offshore bottom-fishing trips are producing some nice-sized black grouper for catch-and-release, just legal size mutton snappers and plenty of yellowtail in the 16- to 24-inch range. The best action has been in 100 feet of water. Captain Bruce Andersen of Captain Easy Fishing Charters out of Islamorada reported early in the week the sailfish were biting well. The best action was taking place in 110 to 160 feet of water with a good flowing current. The best bait was a live ballyhoo. Wahoo are being caught by fishermen high-speed trolling along the reef. On the bottom over some of the wrecks, big black grouper for catch-and-release were biting along with nice-sized mutton and red snappers.
Captain Charlie Conner of FishTales Charters out of Port St. Lucie reported with water temperatures quickly dropping, your best bet could be to target the turning basin in Fort Pierce. In this area, expect plenty of action from Spanish mackerel, jacks, ladyfish and bluefish near the surface. On the bottom and along the jetties, rocks and sea walls look for snapper, black drum and sheepshead. The many docks in the area will hold redfish, snook, sheepshead and black drum. Over the flats in the sandy holes, expect redfish and sea trout to be looking for something to eat. Surf fishing has been very good for whiting, croakers and a few pompano. The surf fish are eating clam strips, sand fleas and shrimp.
Captain Nestor Alvisa of Hooked on Flamingo Fishing Charters reported because of the colder water temperatures lots of fish are moving into the deeper channels, creeks and rivers of Flamingo. During recent charters, Alvisa has had no trouble finding a lot of legal-sized sheepshead, black drum, sea trout and redfish. Almost all of the action has been near the bottom, and live shrimp has been the preferred bait.
Captain Charles Wright of Chokoloskee Charter out of Everglades City reported recent cold weather has most of the catch-and-release snook fishing shut down until things warm up. The snook that his clients are catching are a good size. The trout fishing has been very good on the incoming tides along with quite a few redfish. These fish are biting near the bottom in deeper waters that have a strong moving current. Along the outside where baitfish schools are holding, a lot of Spanish mackerel and bluefish are biting shiny baits and lures.
Mark Escobar of BJ’s Bait and Tackle in Plantation reported Alligator Alley, the Holey Land, Sawgrass Recreation Park and Loxahatchee areas are providing plenty of action from largemouth bass. Many of the larger bass are in the shallow waters as they prepare to spawn. Large live shiners are getting the bigger bass strikes and flukes, Rapala’s, soft plastics and frogs are getting the smaller fish. Plenty of panfish are biting in the canals. The panfish are going for red worms, crickets, wigglers and jigs. Fink Finklestein of Canada fished the C-6 canal with guide Alan Zaremba and released 28 peacock bass to three pounds, 12 largemouth bass and a baby tarpon using suspending Rapala’s.