The Florida Keys


Florida Keys Fishing Report week of 5/29/2017
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Simply put, we are in the prime of our Bluewater fishing right now. The Mahi Mahi [Dolphin} catches are good. This past week we had four slick calm days and even lots of bay boat guides were offshore trolling for Dolphin with much success. Captain Juan Garcia had a ball catching Dolphin on his 24-foot Pathfinder bay boat. Captain Paul on the Reef Runner had a full rack of School Dolphin mid-week as did Captain Jon Reynolds on his Drop back charter, but Captain Jon along with the lifter schoolies had six big gaffer size Dolphin also. The Floridain out of Whale Harbor Marina weighed a Dolphin at thirty-eight pounds this past week. There have been good catches of Blackfin Tuna reported as well as a few Wahoo.
For those who opted to stay and fish the reef action and variety was great. Many captains fished the Yellowtail Snapper and did well. Captain Dave Morris on the Miller Time limited out on Yellowtail a few trips this past week. For those fishing the wrecks and rocky bottom areas adjacent to the reef there was good success with Grouper and Mutton Snapper. The big guys are eating live Pilchards. Pinfish and Ballyhoo plugs near the bottom. There have been some monster Mangrove Snapper caught on the big bottom baits too. To add to the aforementioned variety were Amberjack, King Mackerel, Bonito, Blackfin Tuna and the occasional Dolphin and Permit on the wrecks too.
Gulf and Bay:
A few reports from the Gulf tell us that the action is pretty good. There are several species of the Snapper family cooperating well including Mangrove, Mutton, Yellowtail and Lane Snapper. While on the anchor and with a chum bag overboard look for Bluefish, the occasional Spanish Mackerel, Pompano, Permit, Jacks of every description and the Seatrout like to inhabit the ten to fifteen foot depths of the Gulf this time of year too. And, let’s not forget the Sharks that seem to always be present that include Blacktip, Lemon and Bull’s. Back in the shallows of Florida Bay the Trout and Snapper bite is just great. Drifting and bouncing jigs is the method of choice. Tip the jig with a bit of Shrimp, or attach a Berkley Gulp bait and either dredge the offering deep or suspend the jig under a popping cork.
Flats, Backcountry and Flamingo:
There are relatively few guides fishing for anything other than Tarpon these days. For those that do fish the Flamingo or Cape Sable with the light tackle there have been some good reports of Snook and Redfish action. For these two highly revered species there are many methods to the end. Fishing the channels and drains usually on the last of the falling tide is best. The deep ditches around some of the islands hold Snook and Reds. And the Flats fishing technique of sight casting or tossing a Shrimp into a sand hole is another way to produce Snook and or Redfish. And as for the Tarpon, they are holding in the channels and up on and around banks oceanside and backcountry. Dead bait will often get the job done, but live Mullet or crab under a float is the traditional method. The serious Tarpon angler will only avoid the brightest time of day roughly between 10 am and 4 pm.