The Keys


Florida Keys Fishing Report week of 8/14/17
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Dolphin catches are still quite good. Some captains report a little more of a “hunting trip” to find Dolphin, but still at days end catches are good. Captain Don on the Kay K IV reported catching six Dolphin early and then finding plenty more late in his trip to top off the fish box. On the Floridian, Captain Scott put his anglers on a great catch of Mahi including one bull in the thirties in weight. As far as the Blackfin Tuna things are good also. The Tuna bite on the Islamorada and 409 humps is good. The standard method of trolling small “jap” feathers is productive and there are many more methods to get your Tuna catch. Chunking with cut fish then drifting a chunk on a hook will also do the trick. Deep jigging the “butterfly jig” can also be productive although tiring. Then, arguably the most productive method is to live bait the Tuna. Either chumming “livies” then drifting a live bait on a hook or slow trolling live bait.
Once again most of the reef action is centered around the Yellowtail Snapper. The Yellowtail are residents of the reef and will come up [out of the coral] to a chum slick and eat your bait. In this process Mutton and Mangrove Snapper will sometimes also volunteer. Look for Cero Mackerel and occasionally Bonito and even Dolphin will cruise the chum. There has not been any talk of bottom fishing the reef or the rubble and wrecks, but there will be a variety of Snapper and Grouper and Jacks to provide action off the deep side of the reef.
Gulf and Bay:
Reports are few and far between from the Gulf. There will be good fishing for Snapper, Trout, Jacks and Sharks in the Gulf. Look for the occasional Cobia or the lone wolf Permit and Pompano will school up on wrecks and show their presence like dozens of dull yellow mirrors shining in the sun. Back in Florida Bay the Trout are still viable and the northern areas of the bay remain productive for Trout. Snapper are on the feed in the hot August waters. Drifting and jigging or drifting Shrimp in a channel is the method for the Snapper.
Flats, Backcountry and Flamingo:
The first choice of areas to concentrate on might be the Cape Sable area. This is of course a full day endeavor, as it is over an hour run from most Islamorada ports. There are numerous creeks and a couple of canals and miles of beach to fish. With lots of tide moving water and bait throughout the entire Cape Sable area is a target rich environment. Look for Tarpon, Snook< redfish and several other fishy types to round out your day. Back in the Islamorada area captain Tim Klein caught a couple of Tarpon on live bait one evening. Drifting Crabs in one of the big channels did the trick.