The fishing is on fire right now in the upper Keys and we are open for business! With water temperatures cooling, along with the cold fronts, it is my favorite time of year to target sailfish along the reef. They will be migrating in groups from the north and looking to attack the baitfish inside, on top, or just outside our barrier reef.
Setting up a live bait drift with live ballyhoos out of the outriggers, or dangling live goggle eyes, sardines, or cigar minnows from kites, is a sure way to get multiple bites. Also, using the sun to your advantage when it gets high in the sky, by driving the boat from the tower, you can locate swimming sails in the sand or on the rocks. They will be swimming shallow, chasing ballyhoo and houndfish. Seeing spraying bait is a sure indicator that there are sails chasing them, so try to position the boat in front of the bait shower, and be on the watch for one or multiple sails pushing the bait. Getting a downwind cast in front of the pushing bait, will likely get you a bite.
Offshore, the mahi have still been plentiful, along with some blackfin tunas on the offshore humps. Looking for birds working floating debris will get you in on the action.
The patch reefs have been excellent when the water is not gin clear. The mutton snappers are very plentiful. Try and anchor the boat not on top of the patch so you can fish the sand edge of the patches. This will prevent you from getting rocked up so much. Live ballyhoo or pilchards on a knocker rig should yield plenty of action.
The deep edge of the reef is loaded with yellowtail snappers as well. Days with current and wind going the same direction, can produce a box full of yellowtail quickly. Lots of chum and free lining cut bait on super light line should get plenty of action. Also, while drifting for yellowtail, put a bottom rig down for grouper or muttons, and put out a live bait under the kite for sails or mackerels.
The wreck fishing is also very good now. Mutton snappers and grouper catches have been excellent using live baits with a fairly long leader on the deeper wrecks.
All of the different types of fishing we offer here in the Keys are excellent right now--from snappers to swordfish, or cobias to mahis, it’s all good right now. There are plenty of places to stay and us charter captains depend on your business. So, come on down and go fishing! You won’t be disappointed!
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