Rick Berry of Key Largo Rods reported some remarkable catches were made by anglers fishing aboard more than one of the charter boats out of Bud N’ Mary’s Marina in Islamorada. At least eight dolphins in the 40 pound range and two dolphins in the 50 pound range were weighed in on their docks. Four white marlin and three blue marlin were caught and released from the same marina.
Kim Mills from the Kelley Fishing Fleet out of Haulover Inlet reported blackfin tuna have been the most plentiful fish being caught during offshore day fishing trips. The tuna have been eating vertical jigs and drifted ballyhoo and Spanish sardines. During night trips, plenty of yellowtail snappers are being caught. Captain Dave Kostyo of Knot Nancy Charters out of TNT Marina in Keystone reported dolphins continue to be the main target of offshore anglers this past week. The action has been from 130 feet of water out to 1,000 feet of water. Nighttime tarpon fishing continues to be good. The tarpon are eating large live shrimp and medium-size blue crabs in and around Government Cut.
Islamorada.com reported windy conditions made it tough for the offshore fishermen, but those who ventured out into the blue water found tons of undersized dolphins as well as plenty of slammer and heavy-lifter-size fish. The yellowtail snapper fishing has been excellent in 60 to 80 feet of water. Tarpon fishing continues to be good around the channels and Keys bridges. During the Inaugural Skippers Dolphin Tournament hosted by Skippers Dockside Restaurant in Key Largo, Miss Shell took first-place honors. Anglers Beau Vaeth, Christina Vaeth, Bryce Vaeth, Chad Lanchaster and Mandy Gatorno, all from Tavernier, landed the three best dolphins of the tournament that had a combined total weight of 105.8 pounds. Captain Scott Vaeth was at the helm.
Captain Michael Savedow of Edgewater River Guide Inc. reported having excellent action while fishing both the Mosquito Lagoon flats and the Indian River backcountry. During these charters, his clients had sea trout to 27 inches, slot-size redfish, black drum, jacks, ladyfish and mangrove snappers. Captain Scott Collins of Getting Lucky Sportfishing Charters out of Jupiter reported finding dolphins scattered from 115 feet to 500 feet of water. The dolphins have been feeding along broken weed lines, under floating debris and have been following sea turtles. Kingfish have been biting early and late in the day along the blue water edge. Live threadfin herring, sardines and bluerunners have been the top kingfish baits. The bottom bite for snapper, porgies, yellowtails and cobias has been good in 80 to 90 feet of water.
Captain Jim Hobales of Caught Lookin Charters reported there has been an excellent mangrove snapper and sea trout bite south of Sandy Key in areas that have big mullet muds. Bouncing soft plastics off the bottom is getting nonstop action. Huge schools of small baitfish that are holding at every pass, creek mouth or shoreline from East Cape Canal to Lostman’s River have tarpon, snook, redfish, jacks, ladyfish and snappers so full that it is hard to get these fish to look at your artificial or natural baits. Lots of big sharks can be caught in these areas using chunks of ladyfish fished under a float or on the bottom.
Captain Jon Fetter of Catching the Cure Fishing Charters out of Fort Myers reported mangrove snapper fishing has been red hot in his area. Fishing the mangrove islands, oyster bars, passes and the reefs with shrimp tipped jig heads will keep your rods bent till you catch your five snapper limit. Along the beaches and floating docks snook have stationed themselves as they wait for threadfin herring and finger mullet to swim by. Big sharks are also in the area waiting to jump on an injured or lazy snook. The sharks can be targeted with big chunks of ladyfish or mullet.
Thomas Dean out of Slim’s Fishing Camp in Belle Glade reported the blue gill fishing has been excellent. The blue gills are feeding on crickets next to the rocks in the Rim Canal. Lake Okeechobee’s water levels continue to drop so bass fishermen are having to be extremely careful when heading out to the outer grass line where the bass have been holding. Swim baits have been the top bass producer this week.
Capt. Alan Sherman