Captain Chris Johnson of SeaSquared Charters out of Marathon reported his clients were catching big numbers of Spanish mackerel and fat mangrove snappers. This action is taking place in the open waters of Florida Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. Johnson has been anchoring in 10 feet of water and deploying a chum bag filled with Aquatic Nutrition chum and then fishing with live shrimp and jigs. During offshore ocean charters, his clients are catching large dolphins that they have encountered under birds and along weedlines.
Captain Mo Estevez of New Dawn Charters reported a few bonefish were feeding on the Oceanside flats near Elliott Key. There were plenty of sharks and barracudas on these flats as well. During a Busman’s Holiday, captain Alan Sherman of Get Em Sportfishing Charters sight casted to a 30-pound sailfish that was chasing ballyhoo schools in 14 feet of water offshore of Elliot Key. The sailfish ate his live ballyhoo and was fought and released in 15 minutes. During the two-day annual Operation Sailfish Tournament held in West Palm Beach, 46 teams released 275 sailfish. Bar South took top honors with 12 releases and took a $157,170 payout. Team Swagger took second-place honors with 12 releases but caught their last sailfish after Bar South caught theirs.
Captain Bruce Andersen of Easy Charters out of Islamorada reported the sailfish action has picked up just outside the outer reef drop off. Captain Bill Hauck of Sea King party boats out of Marathon reported his clients are staying busy catching big porgies, yellowtail, mangrove and mutton snappers, along with legal-size red groupers on cut bait fished on the bottom over the reefs in 40 to 50 feet of water. A mix of Spanish and cero mackerel are being caught on jigs and flashy lures near the surface.
Nedra Maxwell with the Sebastian Inlet District reported jetty fishermen are catching a lot of black drum using cut clams for bait. A few nice sheepshead have been caught on pieces of shrimp. A few oversized redfish and snook are going for jigs and shrimp, and have been released unharmed. Lots of small bluefish have been biting in the mornings. Captain Charlie Conner of FishTales Charters out of Port Saint Lucie reported the best areas to fish recently have been along the docks that have deep water. There have been sheepshead, black drum, redfish and a few sea trout holding next to the pilings. Live shrimp under a float or hooked to a jig head is getting the strikes.
Captain Bob LeMay reported his clients have had plenty of action from sea trout and ladyfish in Whitewater Bay. This action is taking place over shallow grass and hard bottom. Jigs and shrimp is getting the strikes. Oversize skittish redfish can be found along the mangrove shorelines that have clear water. Black drum are available in good numbers along the outside mangrove shorelines near Shark River. Goliath Groupers are feeding in the rivers on chunks of ladyfish.
Captain Rob Modys of Soul Mate Charters, who is out of Ft. Myers, reported large spawning sheepshead have moved into the backcountry and have been eating live shrimp fished near dock pilings and oyster bars where there is a good current. Sea trout have been feeding around the mangrove islands in the open bay areas. Anything that resembles a shrimp has been getting the trout bites. Along the east wall of Estero Bay the redfish bite is on. Live shrimp on a jig head has been working on the redfish. In the creek mouths black drum, sheepshead, pompano and a few permits have been caught on shrimp and jig heads. On the outside lots of Spanish mackerel and bonitos are feeding on small baitfish schools.
Jim Crego from Slim’s Fishing Camp in Belle Glade reported large largemouth bass fishing has been excellent in his area. Fishermen have been catching 30 to 40 bass in the four-to-nine-pound range during mornings and late afternoons. The best bait has been wild live shiners. The bass are in the weeds and over beds in the Tree Island area, Ritta Island and Pelican Bay. Speckled perch fishing has been very good at night. The specks are eating live large minnows, crickets and jigs. Tree Island and the spillways have been the hot speck spots.
Capt. Alan Sherman