The Keys


Florida Keys Fishing Report week of 7/17/17
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As if offshore Dolphin catches could not get any better, they have. There are still plenty of school Dolphin being caught, but the average size had increased. Also, there are more big gaffer size Dolphin and slammer Mahi being caught too. To name individual charters would be a long list, but suffice it to say that fish boxes have been brimming with catches of Dolphin. On the Floridian there was a bonus fish in the form of a 200 pound Blue Marlin that ate a school Dolphin and then spit it out and then ate another Dolphin that was offered with a hook and the Marlin was fought and released. For those who want some Blackfin Tuna, the Islamorada Hump has been the go to area to find them. Just fish the Tuna early as they get shy as the sun gets bright. Otherwise there have been a few Wahoo in the mix also. The Dolphin depth has been from 15 to 20 plus miles and the Mahi will be found under the diving birds.
For those who want a short day the reef has been great action on Yellowtail Snapper. It is imperative that you get anchored down and chumming early. The bite will be two at a time until old Sol comes over the horizon and then things will slow down. Look for Mutton and Mangrove Snapper in the Yellowtail chum slick. The longer you chum and create a feeding frenzy the more filefish and chubs will show up and get your bait before the Snapper and there will be Barracuda and the occasional Shark to munch on your hooked Snapper. Always have a 4/0 or 6/0 size outfit to drop down for a Grouper. Use a big circle hook with a Pinfish or any small live baitfish. Wind the bait ten turns off of the bottom and put the rod in the forward rod holder and wait for the bite. Also on the reef have been a few African Pompano and Amberjack.
Gulf and Bay:
The scenario in this area has not changed much recently. In the Gulf, there is good action on the wrecks and the live bottom areas. Look for Permit and Pompano, Cobia and Tripletail on any floating object. Anchoring and chumming will call in the Mangrove and Lane Snapper and there will be a few trout seeking comfort in the cooler waters of the Gulf also. Back in Florida bay the Tarpon and Shark action is good mostly at the bottom of the falling tide while bait fishing. On the high water look for the Tarpon in just a few feet of water up on the banks. Up on the banks casting a live crab is one way to do it and casting a fly is another for the Tarpon.
Flats, Backcountry and Flamingo:
In the Flamingo area and out at Cape Sable there have been some great Snook catches recorded. Captain Skip Paxton on his Ivory Keys skiff has put his anglers on some nice Snook a couple of times this week. Seeing as the Shrimp are so small in summer most guys are catching Pilchards or using Pinfish to bait the Snook. The Tarpon are still being caught in the Islamorada area. Some guides are fishing Crabs and in the evening, many are chumming and chunk baiting the Tarpon. Trout and Snapper are in good supply in the backcountry also.