The strong southwesterly winds put an end to the great offshore fishing that we were experiencing. Once the winds lay down for a few days things should return to normal. All of the charter boat docks were abuzz with conversation and anticipation regarding the “For Hire” opening of red snapper season on June 1. Boats that targeted them found that it took a run of 40 to 60 miles offshore to insure success and a lot of time spent was riding and not actually fishing. Our clients opted for the normal trips that we offer that consist of making several trolling stops on the way to the 70 to 90 foot depths where we targeted red and gag grouper, white grunts ; mangrove ,Lane, and vermillion snapper.
Trolling both with artificial baits and planers and also live bait trolling has been consistently above average. On the nearshore artificial refs Spanish mackerel have taken up their summer residence and usually cooperate along with barracuda which wait to devour a mackerel being brought in. Youngsters are amazed when their hooked fish stops fighting and they reel in a set of lips. There are many undersized king mackerel mixed in with the Spanish and it pays to check for the pronounced dip in the lateral line of the juvenile kingfish. Larger legal size (24 inch fork length) kingfish have been on the mid water reefs and can be caught by either using live sardines and hardtails caught on site or large spoons
In the past when we have targeted the smaller snapper employing a 2 hook snapper rig with the 3 ounce sinker on the bottom resulted in banner catches of Lane and vermillions. Recently when using a regular sabiki offshore to catch a bait for the flatline vermillion and Lane snapper almost became a nuisance, getting to the sabiki hooks before the sardines and hardtails could and breaking off the hooks. Switching to large #12 sabikis, cutting them in half so that 4 hooks remained and using light spinning tackle has resulted in adequate numbers of these tasty fish.