Captain Jim Hobales of Caught Lookin Charters reported fishing in Florida Bay has been excellent. Working the mullet muds along the flats, his clients are catching large sea trout, redfish, snook and mangrove snappers. There also have been some lure shy tailing tarpon on the flats. Plenty of sharks are available for rod-bending action. Snook have been plentiful along the beaches north of East Cape for catch and release. These snook are eating swim baits and Gulps hooked to a jig head.
During the Guy Harvey Resorts Bimini Sands Burning Marlin Tournament, 6-year-old Victor Benitez of Coral Gables caught and released 60 fish of 12 species to take the top reef boat, top offshore boat, top overall boat and top captain awards. Benitez’s largest fish was a 25-pound amberjack caught on 20-pound line. Captain Jay Cohen of Spellbound Charters out of Haulover Marina reported during offshore trips this week the bonito fishing was off the charts. Mixed in with the bonitos were kingfish to 20 pounds. Yellowtail snapper fishing has been red hot in 40 feet of water. Fishing out of a canoe in South Biscayne Bay, local angler Matthew Mattia released a 9-pound bonefish on fly then followed that with a 36-inch permit and a small tarpon to complete a Biscayne Bay Grand Slam. Local angler Wayne Russel was his guide for the day.
Captain Scott Yetter of Sight Fish Charters out of Little Torch Key reported many of the large tarpon have moved on but there are still enough to target. Bonefish, permits and large barracudas are also available on the shallow flats of the lower Keys. Captain Nick Stanczyk out of Bud n’ Mary’s Marina in Islamorada reported the dolphin fishing continues to be good offshore of Islamorada. Most of the fish are finicky schoolies but a few have been nice-size slammers. Blackfin tuna are available around the Humps. On the reef, the yellowtail, mangrove and mutton snapper bite has been good. Swordfishing has been slow.
Captain Tom Van Horn of Mosquito Coast Fishing Charters reported once the storm passes by, the seas should subside quickly and offshore anglers can take advantage of the king mackerel action that will be happening in 70 to 90 feet of water. Anglers also should expect action from wahoo and dolphins in the same depths. Good areas to fish are Pelican and 8A reefs. Live pogies have been the top bait this week. Along the buoy line and along the beach, expect to find smoker kingfish, big tarpon, large jack crevalles and sharks feeding around the pogy schools. Inshore, expect big schools of redfish to be feeding on the flats, and snook and snappers to be holding along the mangrove shorelines and along the rocky sea walls.
Local angler Jerome Chaves fished out of Flamingo in Florida Bay with captain Alan Sherman of Get Em Sportfishing Charters and caught and released three redfish to 26 inches, eight snook to 27 inches, mangrove snappers, jacks, bluefish and ladyfish. All of the fish ate finger mullet and pinfish fished under a Cajun Thunder float or hooked to a 1/4-ounce red Hookup Lure jig head.
Captain Pat Stevens from Slim’s Fishing Camp in Belle Glade reported the Lake’s water levels have risen to 13-plus feet, making it possible to run almost the whole Lake without any problems. Out in the open waters of the Lake and along the grassy weed lines, schooling largemouth bass are eating almost anything that resembles a shad. Bluegills seem to be almost everywhere and have been eating live crickets. Large speckled perch are in the deeper holes. Catfish are biting on the bottom, and recently a 20-pound snook and jack crevalles to 8 pounds have been caught in the Lake on surface lures.