Florida Keys

Florida Keys Fishing Report week of 1/30/17
Provided by:
(this report may be reproduced in any media format as long as credit is given to:www.islamoradasportfishing.com)
Reminder: The Ask the Captain and fishing forums are open for new members once again at
As there is no real presence of Dolphin “offshore” and probably will not be for several weeks some charter captains are getting creative. One boat from Bud and Mary’s went deep and dropped multi hook rigs way down for Queen Snapper, catching several. Captain Paul Johnson on the Reef Runner kept things traditional and trolled the Islamorada Hump and got Blackfin Tuna, Skipjack Tuna and Bonito. Amberjack season is closed, so there will be no dropping on the hump for the AJ’s.
On the reef things are good. The Sailfish action has been good and most charters are targeting the Sails with live bait. When fishing in this manner usually there will be two live baits on the surface and two live baits down deep. The deep baits will attract the Mutton Snapper and Grouper, but remember that Grouper season is closed. The King Mackerel is the other target species on the reef and a short length of wire will be used to not allow the toothy Kingfish to cut you off. And of course, there are always a few boats on the anchor chumming the Yellowtail Snapper. Captain Don Chittick on the Kay K IV fished the reef and got into the Yellowtail Snapper with over twenty in the fish box at days’ end. The Kay K IV catch included a few Mangrove Snapper and one Mutton Snapper and a couple of feisty Bonito also.
Gulf and Bay:
There have been guides fishing half day trips looking for Seatrout and Mangrove Snapper close to home in the upper reaches of Florida Bay. Captain John Gargan fished such a trip and got a limit of Mangrove Snapper and some throwback Trout on the four-hour trip. For most bay boat guides and even plenty of skiff captains, the Gulf is the destination for the most rod bending. The Spanish Mackerel are still in good supply and there may be a good bite of either Mangrove Snapper or Lane Snapper in the same location. Some guides are having Cobia swim up behind the boat apparently following the chum slick or even curiously following hooked fish to the boat. Always keep a twelve or fifteen-pound spin rod baited and at the ready to toss to the Cobia, as the fish may be gone and never come back to give you a second shot. Some guides have been running the trap buoys and casting to Tripletail with some success.
Flats, Backcountry and Flamingo:
There have been some reports of successful Snook fishing. Captain Eric Scoble out of Whale Harbor Marina had a couple of Snook releases last week. Remember Snook season is closed, so no harvest. A few guides on the slick calm pre-front days looked for some resident Tarpon in Flamingo as well as close to home near Islamorada, but had no joy for the most part. In some weeks, the Trout action will begin and there are plenty of Sharks to take up any slack one may have in their day. Captain Lou Brubaker used the last hour of a recent trip to bait up some Sharks and had one Bull Shark of an estimated 150 pounds released after a thirty-minute battle.