The Keys


Florida Keys Fishing Report week of 8/21/2017
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Dolphin catches have been just great and there have been a lot of big fish too. Captain Benny Spaulding on the Play Baby out of Whale Harbor Marina has been getting into some slammer Dolphin this past week catching one bull that weighed over forty pounds. Captain Alex Adler on the Kalex out of Bud and Mary’s Marina had six nice gaffer Dolphin and ten heavy lifters with some school Dolphin also in the 4 to 7 pound range. Captain Don on the Kay K IV had a split party of two couples and kept 40 Dolphin making it 20 for each group. Otherwise, captain A J Stewart on the Priority out of Post Card Inn caught a Swordfish last week. And, Captain Charlie Tindall fished a bay boat with a friend last week and they too caught a Swordfish. Beyond that, it seems some captains are deep dropping and getting into a variety of Snapper and Grouper with some Porgy too.
If the Bluewater action slows down, then we will have more to talk about on the reef. For now it is still the Yellowtail Snapper that is the big draw. If the customer can only fish a half day then it is the reef option due to the short run time to fishing. Expect the charter boats to begin live bait slow trolling soon and then we will see King Mackerel along with some Mutton Snapper and Red Grouper. With two baits up and two baits deep the variety can be great and will include Sailfish, Dolphin, Bonito, Tuna and more.
Gulf and Bay:
With school back in session the business has slowed down some. Fishing is still great for Tarpon in the bay and in the island channels. Captain Tim Klein is still getting lots of action at the big channels west of Islamorada using Mullet and Crabs. Some guides are dead baiting and chumming with carcasses in the evening and scoring on Tarpon most trips. Trout action is fair to good from day to day, but Snapper are biting well in the warm bay water. In the Gulf, good Snapper catches are the norm with Jacks, Trout and Ladyfish rounding out the bite. There are plenty of Sharks cruising around the chum and the action created by the catching of fish. Some captains will put a heavy rod out with a wire and Jack or Ladyfish as bait to entice the Shark.
Flats, Backcountry and Flamingo:
Again, the Tarpon action in the channels and around the bridges is good early morning and late afternoon/evening. Look for the opportunity for a Permit also, so always keep a few small crabs in the bait well for Permit bait. Fish the crab under a float just like when using a Mullet for Tarpon, just smaller everything. Lighter leader and smaller hook such as a 3/0 or 4/0. In the Flamingo and Cape Sable areas the Tarpon are also in good supply. Fish the canals and creeks and shorelines for Snook and Redfish. There have been some reports of Black Drum also.