Captain Jamie Owens from the party boat Atlantis out of Haulover Marina reported there has been a steady kingfish bite in 90 to 130 feet of water outside of Haulover Inlet. The kingfish are eating ballyhoo and Spanish sardines attached to a 1-ounce jig or a three-hook rig. The kingfish also have been biting at night. In 200 to 400 feet of water under frigate birds during day trips, large schoolie dolphins and gaffer-size dolphins are being caught. There also have been some Spanish mackerel caught just offshore of the beaches.
Brittany Washington from the Pompano Fishing pier reported a decent bite of Spanish mackerel, a few bluefish, jacks and bluerunners and some nice-size pompano. The mackerel were eating spoons, jigs and shrimp and the pompano were eating sand fleas, jigs and shrimp. The jacks and bluerunners are eating shrimp.
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During the two-day Islamorada Winter Classic, Kenny Raspberry, Zachary Wolf, Jake and Shai Cohen and Ryan McKay, all from Cooper City, fished aboard the Sandy Wolf offshore of Islamorada and released 12 fish including sailfish, mackerel, dolphin, barracuda and snapper to take the nonguided Grand Champion Honors for Team Most Releases. In the guided division, anglers Dustin and Heath Beard of Texas fished aboard the Out of the Blue with captain Todd Monson and had 11 releases. Their catch consisted of sailfish, barracudas and blackfin tuna. Captain Dexter Simmons of Key West Fly Fishing Charters reported tarpon have been schooling on the Basin flats and there have been a lot of permits almost everywhere. Captain Chris Johnson on the charter boat SeaSquared out of Marathon reported his clients have had a nice mixed bag of snappers, hogfish, groupers for catch and release and an assortment jacks fishing along the Oceanside of the Keys bridges. On the Gulf side, his clients are catching bluefish, cobia, Spanish mackerel, sharks and pompano.
Freddy Caimotto from the Snook Nook Bait and Tackle in Jensen Beach reported in the St. Lucie River pompano are scattered but being caught on jigs and shrimp, redfish have been up tight to the mangroves near Middle Cove and sea trout to 9 pounds have been caught and released over the grass flats and potholes. Along the beaches, the mackerel are thinning out and a few pompano are being caught on sand fleas and clams. Offshore, a few cobias are being caught in 40 to 50 feet of water, along with some large kingfish to 20 pounds. Dolphins have been plentiful in 230 to 250 feet of water. On the bottom, the lane snappers have been plentiful.
Captain Jim Hobales of Caught Lookin Charters fished the backcountry of Whitewater and Oyster Bays and found plenty of hungry tarpon feeding in open water. Besides the tarpon, there were jacks, ladyfish, sea trout and a few redfish to be caught as well. During a two-boat charter fishing Florida Bay in Flamingo, local anglers Adam Rice, his daughter Margie, son Ryan and neighbor Larry Hobbs caught sea trout to 23 inches, jacks, ladyfish, catfish and redfish, and fought sharks and a large tarpon before losing both big fish. Captain Mo Estevez of New Dawn Charters and captain Alan Sherman of Get Em Sportfishing Charters were their guides.
Captain Terry Pitz of Fishing Southwest Florida charters out of Pine Island reported the snook fishing is picking up in his area. Snook are being found around creek mouths, passes, canals, pot holes and points. The snook are eating white bait, pinfish, shrimp, chunks of ladyfish and artificial lures when the water is moving. Redfish are moving up on the flats. The redfish are biting the best when the tide is moving, and the best baits have been shrimp, shiners and cut bait. There have been small groups and big schools on the flats and along oyster bars. Sea trout have been plentiful over grass flats, pot holes and in the creeks that have 3 to 5 feet of water.
Alan Zaremba of Worldwide Sport Fishing Inc. reported peacock bass fishing in the urban canal systems is as good as it gets in South Florida. Working the C-100, C-60, C-8 and C-4 canals, his clients have had up to 39 peacock bass to 7 pounds. The bass are eating Clouser flies and 1/4 ounce Urban Jungle jigs in a chartreuse-and-white color.
Capt. Alan Sherman