The Keys


Florida Keys Fishing Report week of 7/10/17
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The weather was hot and the breezes were moderate over the long Independence Day weekend and the Dolphin catches remained very good. The Mahi were found over a wide depth range from 500 feet of water to basically as far as one wanted to go, but 20 miles was good. The School Dolphin were found under the diving black birds and when caught on the troll sometimes the school would stay and sometimes they continued swimming and you would have to catch up and troll up another bite. There seemed to be a few more big fish around this past week and several slammer size Dolphin were reported. Captain Don on the Kay K IV got slammer Mahi on three trips last week with fish weighing from 24 pounds up to 36 pounds. The Blackfin Tuna were biting on the humps daily until the sun got up and made things bright.
The go to fishery on the reef is still the Yellowtail Snapper. The Yellowtail have been caught from 65 to 80 feet of water and will come up into the chum slick early, but same as the Tuna offshore the bite is great until the sun brightens up the water and then the Snapper get shy. While on the anchor in pursuit of the Yellowtail many captains will put a heavy rod in a rod holder and send a big circle hook down with a Pinfish or some live bait for a Grouper. Make sure you wind the bait up ten turns so as to not give the Grouper the opportunity to get into the rocks. At any time during your Yellowtail fishing try drifting a fresh Ballyhoo plug down with the chum on heavier spin gear as there are certainly some Mutton Snapper swimming with the Yellowtail.
Gulf and Bay:
In the gulf, there are some wrecks and plenty of live bottom or reef areas to concentrate on. There may be Snapper, Grouper, Permit and or their cousin the Pompano and even the chance of a Cobia with plenty of jacks and some Trout seeking out some cooler water in the 10 to 15 foot depths. Anchoring and putting a block of chum overboard while casting jigs or drifting Shrimp will provide action. Make sure you have some Pinfish in the well and use them with a little heavier tackle for the big bite. Back in Florida Bay the Seatrout are on the move and it might take a little looking around to find the body of fish. Drifting and bouncing jigs over the grassy bottom will get the Trout and Snapper bite.
Flats, Backcountry and Flamingo:
In the backcountry, there is little bit of everything going on. The Tarpon are still in the picture and whether you are fishing close to Islamorada or way back in Flamingo or Cape Sable you will have the chance at Tarpon. And in all the Tarpon areas the Snook will be present, so have the ten pound spin and the 20 or 30 pound tackle for the Tarpon. One bait that should always be in your arsenal is the crab. A Tarpon will inhale the crab and there are good stocks of Permit at this time also. When you are keeping busy with Tarpon or in any channel or along the beaches have a crab out under a float for these two species. And last but not least the Trout and Snapper are in the picture all over the backcountry.