Offshore Fishing

Summer Fishing Report

Tarpon

So far the fishing this summer has been great, for the most part I have been fishing the backcountry and doing a lot of of tarpon fishing.  The past few months have been busy and the weather has been good overall.  The tarpon fishing has been decent since April and we had a lot more tarpon around this May, then last year.  The best time to fish them has been in the morning, but we’ve had some good afternoon and evening sessions too.  We actually had 2 palalo worm hatches this year, one on the backside of the full moon in May and one just after the new moon in June.  We found plenty of fish eating both times, but the bite was tough.       

Bonefish

If the tarpon bite slows up later on in the day, we have been moving in a little shallower and targeting bonefish and permit.  There have been a lot of bonefish around and the permit are starting to make their way back into the shallows.  The bonefish bite has been the most consistent thing going the past few months. We have seen big schools of fish on the ocean side and gulf side.  If you can get your fly or your jig out in front of these guys and move it the right way, they will usually eat it.  The permit have been more on the Gulf side, but just this past week I saw a few swimming on the the ocean side with the tarpon strings.  Hopefully we will start seeing a few more out front.

Tarpon Jump

The offshore fishing has been slow so far this summer, there have been some dolphin around, but there’s been a lot of chickens and undersize fish. There have been a few skipjack tunas and small blakfins out in the deep too. The sargassum weeds have been super thick this year, and that has made it difficult to keep your lures clean while your trolling. The wrecks have been holding a variety of fish, like amberjacks, mutton snappers, groupers and other things. I like fishing the the bottom and middle of the water column with live baits, bonita strips and an assortment of jigs.

bonefish 2

Hurricane Season Fishing Report

Tarpon

Tarpon

The fishing over the past few months has been great here in the Lower Florida Keys.  Overall, the weather has been mild and so far this year we have dodged the hurricanes.  The offshore fishing has been decent recently, we had a good mahi bite through July, but it died out as the dog days of summer set in.  The blackfin tunas started showing up around the last full moon, there were a lot of small fish, but some bigger ones were mixed in.  The pilchards have also started to show up along the south side of the Keys.  Both the pilchards and the tunas are promising signs for the upcoming fall and winter live bait season.

Red Grouper

Red Grouper

During the summer months, the full day trips were the most successful.  Having the ability to run way to the west and fish the deeper reefs really paid off.  The mutton Snapper bite on the bottom was excellent and there were plenty of nice black groupers, red groupers, big porgies, amberjacks and other fish.  Blackfin tunas, kingfish, mahi mahi and bonitas were also caught on the surface or in the middle of the water column.  Usually on these trips, we’re using a combinations of live baits, dead baits and different artificial jigs and lures. 

Mutton Snapper

Mutton Snapper

Fishing in the backcountry has been awesome the past few months.  We have had a lot of small tarpon hanging around the mangroves and in the bait schools. Targeting them with a 9wt fly rod or light spinning gear has been really fun.  Those fish should be staying put until the cold fronts start and then they become harder to find.  This is also a great time of year to target bonefish and there have been plenty of them around.  Not only do we have good numbers of bonefish down here, but late summer and early fall offer great conditions for targeting them with typically sunny skies and light winds.  It’s awesome to see big schools of bonefish waking across the flats during the low tides.

Bonefish

Bonefish