The Keys


Florida Keys Fishing Report week of 5/15/2017
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The Bluewater action was red hot the second week in May. Suffice it to say that the Dolphin catches have been great. Captain Billy Chrisman on his fast 36 foot Vera Vita picked up a charter with an eleven o’clock departure. Normally leaving mid-day would leave most captains with their head shaking, but Captain Billy put his clients on Dolphin, catching one 20-pound cow and a good bunch of school fish. Pretty much any charter that ran to the Bluewater racked between ten and twenty Dolphin including a few slammer size fish. Captain Casey Scott on his Sea Monkey had a career day releasing a Blue Marlin estimated at 250 pounds and a White Marlin with the catch consisting of Dolphin and Tuna otherwise.
Once again, there is not enough room on the page to mention individual boat catches. Yellowtail Snapper action is just off the chart and there are Mangrove and Mutton Snapper caught in the chum slick too. As Grouper season opened May 1st most captains are dropping down heavy tackle with big baits for Black and Gag Grouper while on the reef. Captain Don on the Kay K IV has been doing it all and successfully, but there was a rare catch, a large True American Red Snapper on one trip. Captain Paul Johnson on the Reef Runner released two Sailfish one day and the days catch also included Tuna, King mackerel and Mutton Snapper. The charter “Legasea” out of Post Card Inn had a great day with a limit of Yellowtail Snapper and two Gag Grouper.
Gulf and Bay:
In Florida Bay the Seatrout catches have been great and including some nice Mangrove Snapper too. Captain Lou Brubaker has been doing a number on the Trout catching a few up to twenty inches each trip and releasing them to spawn. The breezes have been light and some guides have been in the Gulf fishing structure and live bottom areas getting some nice Snapper and the occasional Grouper. But of course, the Tarpon is the big draw in most of the backcountry and shallow water areas. First and foremost, do be courteous when you are traveling out back and give skiffs that are sight casting Tarpon a wide berth. The Tarpon are feeding on chunk bait on the bottom and live Crabs or Mullet or Ladyfish under a float.
Flats, Backcountry and Flamingo:
Again, about the Tarpon, they have taken up residence in the channels and on and around the banks near the Islamorada area. Techniques range from live and dead bait to Fly casting and success rates are great. In Flamingo Captain John Gargan has been putting his gang on Snook along shorelines and in the island moats. In the backcountry, there are also a myriad of areas to find Trout and Snapper. Drifting and jigging in the grassy basins or in a drain or cut in a bank. And, May is Permit month so always carry a few small crabs to drift on structure or around bridge abutments. For those of you fishing in Everglades National Park be advised that the park has introduced a new plan limiting areas to fish or use engines. Find out the details on the ENP website.