This week’s best bet in fishing: Offshore of Government Cut finds bountiful mix

Captain Bouncer Smith, right, is shown in 2013.
Captain Bouncer Smith, right, is shown in 2013. Herald File


Captain Bouncer Smith of Bouncer’s Dusky Fishing Charters out of Miami Beach Marina reported fishing offshore of Government Cut has been very good for a mix of sailfish, dolphins, a few Spanish mackerel and sharks. The best action has been in depths from 120 to 150 feet of water because of the strong northeast and east winds of this past week. Live baits fished on the surface have attracted the most action.


The Kelley Fleet out of Haulover Marina reported their day boats have been catching lots of gaffer-size dolphins, a few blackfin tuna, Spanish mackerel and kingfish to 20 pounds on the surface, and mutton and vermillion snappers on the bottom. The action has been right out front of Haulover Inlet and the fish are eating fresh Spanish sardines and ballyhoo fished on 1-ounce jigs. Andrew Randall of Maryland and his children Emma, 9, and Lucy, 8, and Brandon from California fished North Bay and caught two small mackerel, bluefish, jack crevalles, bluerunners, barracudas and 15 sea trout to 18 inches. All of the fish were caught using live threadfin herring fished under a Cajun Thunder float. Their guide was captain Alan Sherman of Get Em Sportfishing Charters.


Captain Rick Stanczyk out of Bud N Mary’s Marina reported the boats fishing the patches offshore of Islamorada are doing well on lane snappers, porgies and a few Spanish mackerel. On the flats, bonefish and permits have been available. On the Florida Bay side, Spanish mackerel have been hit-or-miss but snook, redfish and black drum have been biting near Flamingo. Captain Jason Long of Best Bet Sportfishing Charters out of Marathon reported the dolphin fishing offshore of Marathon has been good. Captain David Schugar of Sweet E’ Nuf Charters reported catching a bunch of mangrove, mutton and yellowtail snappers, black and Nassau groupers and yellowjacks while fishing along the bridges in Marathon. His clients were using live pilchards for bait. Offshore, the kingfish bite has been excellent and quite a few dolphins and a few sailfish are being caught with the dolphins.


Captain Scott Collins of Getting Lucky Sportfishing out of Jupiter reported sailfish have been available in big numbers offshore but the seas have been too big to get to them. Plenty of dolphins and kingfish are waiting for anglers to catch them just outside the ledge. The bottom fishing has been good when the wind has been down. Snappers, porgies, triggerfish, amberjacks and cobia have been biting in 65 feet of water. The inside waters are producing good catches of bluefish, jacks, ladyfish, flounder and a few pompano. Meg Robinson from the Juno Fishing Pier reported sporadic catches of Spanish mackerel are being made with shiny spoons and jigs, lots of bluefish on cut bait, pompano, croakers and at least 20 small bonefish were caught within the past few days on shrimp, Doc’s Goofy jigs and clams.


Captain Jason Sullivan of Rising Tide Charters reported that cooler weather has the snook and redfish moving into the backcountry. During recent charters, his clients have done well on reds and snook plus jacks, a few sea trout and ladyfish while fishing in Whitewater and Oyster bays and in the creeks and rivers.


Captain Jon Fetter of Catching the Cure Backcountry Charters out of Fort Myers reported sea trout are feeding closer to the bottom in areas that have three to six feet of water with grasses nearby. The trout are going for shrimp under a float and jig heads tipped with soft plastics. Sheepsheads are being caught along the mangrove islands and oyster bars. Small pieces of shrimp are getting the sheepshead. Redfishing has been slow. On the nearby reefs, Spanish mackerel are available. In the passes, pompano, silver trout and small sharks are going for shrimped-tipped jigs.


Pat Stevens from Slim’s Fishing Camp in Belle Glade reported largemouth bass are starting to bed and spawn. For these fish, you need to hit the holes in the grass with jigs. On the outside of the Lake there are still schools of smaller bass chasing baitfish schools. The schooling bass are feeding around the pepper grass near East Long and Long Point. At night, the speckled perch are feeding on minnows and jigs. The best areas have been Lake Harbor and the First Dynamite Hole.