Key Largo to Key West
Includes Islamorada and Marathon
Hello everyone! It’s a great time of the year to be in the Everglades National Park fishing. The boat traffic is at it’s slowest and so is the fishing pressure. Look for great redfishing action plus many more while stalking one of the many Island shorelines, grass flats or mainland shoreline. The good thing is that many of these areas can be reached carefully with a shallow drafted Bay boat and a trolling motor thanks to the higher water levels and light winds. Just make sure you know your boats depth limits and be careful not to damage the bottom getting in and out of your destination.
Snook, redfish, tarpon, sharks and big jacks are probably going to show up while on the hunt. Depending on the type of bottom you are fishing a wide variety of artificial baits like scented soft plastics, spoons, top water and many more can be very productive when fished correctly.
The last of the falling tide has been very productive in the Flamingo area if you are fishing the runoffs and deeper channels for a mixed bag of snook, redfish, trout and tarpon. As the water rises look for the fish to go up on the flats. Big sharks and resident tarpon are being caught on a regular basis while fishing fresh dead baits on the deeper channels. Look for the typical summer bite to continue while fishing the Cape Sable area. Snook and redfish can be found along the mainland shoreline, creeks and runoffs from Flamingo to East Cape Canal and north. Chunk bait like pinfish, mullet or ladyfish will get you in the action as well as Berkley New Penny Gulp! Shrimp but a live well full of live pinfish or pilchards will be deadly.
The snapper bite has been great while fishing the grassy bottom from Sandy Key all the way to Sprigger Bank around the park boundaries. We have been bouncing white ½-ounce pompano jigs on the bottom while drifting for a mixed bag of big trout, snappers, ladyfish, bluefish and many more.
The wrecks in gulf waters are providing great action with big sharks, snappers, goliath groupers, permit and a few cobia.
Live pilchards and mullet have been getting some tarpon bites on the daytime hours. Live crabs drifted at night through a bridge channel are still the way to go for guaranteed hookups. Try looking for bonefish on the early or late parts of the day when the water temperature will be the coolest on both ocean and bayside flats. Captain Randy Stallings reports getting his clients multiple shots at tailing and mudding fish while fishing the local Islamorada flats. Permit continue to be seen cruising the deeper edges of flats and banks both Oceanside and bayside. A small size live crab casted on their path will not be refused. Lots of great things going on right now in the Florida Keys backcountry so get out on the water for some great fishing!
Back again with this week’s report! It seems as things have really settled in here in the upper Keys, with consistent fishing being the best part of it. It would also appear that the annual migration south for these dolphin is beginning to happen. Maybe a bit early? It is really hard to tell anymore with the weather patterns being so sporadic, but whatever it is I will take it. The fishing here is absolutely fantastic, and the fish, on average, are getting bigger every day. Plenty of big dolphin in the area with a lot of nice gaffer size fish in the 8-to 15-pound class to round out the box. There are a fair amount of shakers (small undersize dolphin) around, but if you are persistent you will find what I am talking about. Magic depths have been in 1000 to 1800 feet of water, wherever you find the thicker weed, and don’t forget to look for the birds. A little further offshore the swords are still being picked at, with a few fish being caught here and there. It definitely would seem that the guys who are putting their time in are finding success, but it really hasn’t been a one or two drop kind of trip. Some days it’s the last drop, and some days it’s the first. You just really have to be patient and hope it’s sooner rather than later. In a little closer on the deep side of things, the bottom dwellers are still cooperating with enthusiasm as some of the nicest yellow edge groupers I have ever seen. Fish into the 30-pound range were caught this past week, making for some happy faces on the dock. Good bite on the blue line tiles as well, with limits of both fish being caught by most who tried. The Humps offshore are still producing, but very little consistency with the larger Tunas. The AJ’s and sharks are there as usual, but the larger BFT’s are hit or miss.
On the wrecks and reef it remains fairly consistent as long as we have some current in the right direction. The wrecks are continuing to produce a mixture of fish from muttons and groupers to all of the Jacks and sharks. A few kingfish mixed in and all the bonito you want. A little late surprise this past week has yielded a few nice African pompano off a few of the wrecks. That was a nice treat for some visiting anglers for July! The reef continues to produce yellowtails, mangroves, and cero. This will only change with the amount of current you either have or don’t have. Pretty consistent, just the way we like it!
Well, that is it for this week! Remember, if you need a charter please feel free to give me a call at 305-803-1321 or contact me through my website at www.catchalottafish.com. You can also stop by World Wide Sportsman’s Bayside Marina and check us out, as I will be glad to help you out with whatever you need. If you are new to the sport and have checked out the magazine and forum, you can also check out www.Islamoradafishingsource.com for some in depth information on what charter boats we have in our area, and what kind of fishing we all do. It is becoming a great resource and directory for people looking to fish in our area! I hope everyone has a great weekend, and remember to boat responsibly!
As the summer wears on, the fishing begins to slow down. This past week it clearly showed the first signs of that in Key West.
The numbers of tarpon have dropped considerably. The fish are heading north in their annual migration. You can still find them in the harbor and surrounding channels but it takes a bit more work to get on them.
The snapper bite has also slowed down due to lack of current, but it will soon get going as the tide kicks up.
I had a hard time getting on mahi this week. I trolled my way out to the wall through numerous weed lines without any luck.
This slow down in summer time fishing happens every year around this time but don’t let it discourage you there’s still plenty out there up for grabs.