The Keys


Florida Keys Fishing Report week of 7/3/2017
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Dolphin catches are still very good, that is for those who leave the dock early and go long. The Mahi have been found mostly from 20 to 27 miles from the dock this past week. Often Dolphin anglers are spoiled and find the fish much closer, but many are saying that this is the best Dolphin season in the past few years. The fish are being found under birds for the most part. There has been little flotsam or heavy enough grass to line up and provide food and cover. The Islamorada hump has been very productive for Blackfin Tuna early and the Tuna have been found on the Hump and over a mile to the West in the rips. There have been some big gaffer size Dolphin caught, but most are school size fish of 4 to 8 pounds. Captain Brian Cone caught a Bull of 41 pounds last week.
Captain Lou Brubaker fished the reef two days last week in his 21-foot Parker, as it was very calm. Getting on the anchor very early before sunrise and getting the chum flowing has made for a relatively easy limit of Yellowtail Snapper. Most of those who fish the Yellowtail Snapper will put a big bait down on a heavy rod hoping for a Grouper bite. Captain Lou did just that and got beat three times by assumedly a Grouper. The baits that were taken were a Pinfish, a small True Blue Runner and a Yellowtail head that was the remains of a Barracuda bite. There will be some Cero Mackerel in the chumslick also and when drifting the bait intended for Yellowtail be aware that the Mutton Snapper will often take the bait giving you the somewhat helpless feeling that you have a large rock falling to towards bottom.
Gulf and Bay:
Last weeks weather was calm and tailor made for the long ride to the Gulf. Reports from the near Gulf tell us that it was fair at best. Some Snapper, Pompano and a few Trout were found on the live bottom areas and wrecks. In the bay Captain Skip Paxton found the Seatrout and they were nice ones. Skip fished a half day trip and had to do some exploring, but finally did find the motherlode of big Trout. In the Sandy Key area there were some Tarpon and Sharks caught in the deep channels that drain the huge banks in the backcountry.
Flats, Backcountry and Flamingo:
Guides were finding some Redfish and Snook in the Flamingo area. With the very warm water temperatures the morning bite was best. Bait Shrimp are in short supply as always in summer, so many captains are getting Pinfish or netting Pilchards for bait this time of year. Tarpon are feeding in the Islamorada area mostly in the evening.