The Keys


Florida Keys Fishing Report week of 8/7/2017
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Dolphin catches have remained very good this past week. The Mahi are being found under diving birds for the most part and there has been a little scattered grass and debris that have held Dolphin also. There are fewer charters out these days as the tourist activity is waning with the beginning of school, but three or four boats out of every Islamorada marina each day tells us the fishing is worthwhile. Blackfin Tuna are feeding on the humps albeit mostly in low light, meaning early or late in the day. Trolling small feathers way back behind the boat wash is the ticket for Tuna success. There have been a few Wahoo caught this past week and there are a couple of charters doing some successful daytime Swordfish trips.
The Yellowtail Snapper are still the species garnering most of the attention on the reef. The Yellowtail will bite better early in the morning with lots of chum of course. One thing that can become a nuisance is there are lots of Filefish and Bermuda chubs in the chum and the Snapper will often lay beneath the bait stealers and it is tough to get your bait to them. When this happens, it becomes necessary to toss the soft chum one way to attract the unwanted marauders and toss the bait the other to get to the Snapper. Look for the occasional Mutton and Mangrove Snapper to be in the mix too. There are often plenty of Cero Mackerel in the chum, so toss a jig on a wisp of wire behind the boat and work it back in an erratic fashion for the Mackerel.
Gulf and Bay:
There are lots of wrecks and live bottom areas in the near Gulf that are holding some great Snapper. On the anchor put a block of chum overboard and the Mangrove and Lane Snapper will show up quickly. Look for Jack Crevalle and Blue Runners with the occasional Ladyfish to provide more action. Why not drop a big bait down on a 30# conventional rig for a Shark too? On the wrecks, you may have a school of Pompano or a pack of Permit cruising around. These guys will eat a Shrimp or Crab. There have been some good Trout taken in the very northern areas of the Bay, very near the mainland shoreline. Captain Lou Brubaker fished two half day trips last week and got into some Trout that measures twenty inches and got plenty of nice Mangrove Snapper too.
Flats, Backcountry and Flamingo:
A few guides are caching Tarpon by dead baiting in the evenings right in downtown Islamorada. There are some Permit in the channels too. One report verified by photographs shows two Cubera Snapper caught at an Islamorada bridge last week that were in the teens in weight. In the deep backcountry one ENP ranger reported that some anglers had caught Trout in very big numbers out near Cape Sable. Probably the best bet for success this time of season with this heat is to leave the dock very early and fish the moats around some of the everglades islands. There may be Trout and Snapper and the possibility of a Snook or Redfish does exist too along with Jacks.