Local anglers Dr. Joel Dokson and Dr. Neil Kappelman teamed up to catch and release nine snook to 12 pounds, tarpon, sea trout, Spanish and king mackerel, bluefish and four other species while fishing in North Biscayne Bay. Kappelman caught his first-ever snook and Dokson completed an inshore North Bay slam by catching snook, sea trout and tarpon. The fish were caught on live baits and Rapala X Raps. Captain Chris Johnson of SeaSquared charters out of Marathon reported that offshore fishermen are doing well on dolphins close to the reef. Blackfin tuna and sailfish are being taken in the same areas. Over the offshore wrecks, plenty of kingfish and amberjack are biting. On the Gulf side, plenty of Spanish mackerel, mangrove snappers and a few gag groupers and cobia can be had while fishing over structure.
Captain Mo Estevez of New Dawn Charters reported that schools of pilchards that are located along the Oceanside flats have been attracting attention from snook, jacks, a few tarpon and barracudas. Around structures in South Bay, there have been Spanish mackerel, big bluerunners and lesser amberjacks. Captain Quinton Dieterle from the charter boat Cutting Edge out of Key Biscayne reported that sailfishing is starting to heat up along the Miami coast. Mixed in with the sailfish have been some gaffer-size dolphins. The best action has been outside of 80 feet of water. During the annual Hot Rods and Reels Charity Fishing Tournament held in Homestead, former NASCAR driver Kerry Earnhardt took first-place honors with a total weight of 5.33 pounds of peacock bass. Teamed up with Earnhardt were Terry Knight, Robert Keyes and Jason Young.
Captain Brett Hogan out of the Holiday Inn in Key Largo reported that the offshore boats in his area have had steady action from blackfin tuna, cobia and sailfish. Most of the action has occurred in 100 to 400 feet of water. Over the shallower reefs in 60 feet of water or less, fishermen are catching black grouper, yellowtail, mutton, mangrove and lane snapper, hogfish, barracudas, and cero mackerel. In the backcountry of Florida Bay, snook, redfish and sea trout are available.
Henry Caimotto from the Snook Nook Bait and Tackle in Jensen Beach reported before the big cold front this week, the St. Lucie River was loaded with redfish, sea trout and pompano. The fish were everywhere and eating almost anything thrown close to them. On the beaches, it has been bluefish, big jack crevalles, Spanish mackerel and pompano. The sharks have been eating the pompano, so reel fast when you hook up. Offshore fishermen are doing well on sailfish, dolphins and wahoo. Best depths for the offshore fishing were 70 feet of water.
Captain Ariel Cabrera reported that fishing out of Flamingo has been excellent for sea trout over the grass flats and redfish and snook over the flats. When the temperatures are up in the backcountry of Whitewater Bays, large tarpon can be targeted in the back bays. Captain Nestor Alvisa of Hooked on Flamingo Charters reported having plenty of action from snook and redfish along the mangrove island shorelines in Florida Bay. Live pilchards and chunks of pinfish are getting the bites. Tripletail have been biting along the crab trap buoys.
Captain Jon Fetter of Catching the Cure Backcountry Fishing Charters out of Fort Myers reported that with colder temperatures, fishermen must slow down their retrieves as they work the bottom for sea trout, redfish, snook, sheepshead and black drum. Some of the best fishing in his area has come along oyster bars, mangrove islands, and in the passes and creek mouths. Best baits have been jigs tipped with a live shrimp or imitation shrimp bait. With the cold weather comes lower waters, so use caution when traveling from one location to another.
Alan Zaremba of World Wide Peacock Bass charters reported that water levels in the Everglades canal systems are too high for good largemouth bass fishing. In the residential canals of Miami, such as the C-4, C-100 and C-8, peacock bass continue to blast surface plugs worked fast back to the boat. Besides the peacock bass, a few snook and largemouth bass have added to the action. Rapala floating minnows, Clouser minnows and live shiners have been catching the fish.
Capt. Alan Sherman