May 26, 2023
By Capt. Alan Sherman
Capt. Alan Sherman covers Deerfield Beach to Key Largo & Flamingo to Cape Sable, including Pompano Beach, Ft. Lauderdale, Miami and Homestead.
May 26 - 28
Deerfield Beach to Key Largo & Flamingo to Cape Sable
If you’re a boater here in South Florida, then you are in store for what could shape up to be a beautiful Memorial Day weekend. NOAA Weather’s forecasting winds to be out of the south to southwest at 5 to 10 knots throughout this weekend. Please be courteous and safe while on the water. Especially at the boat ramps!
Pompano Beach, Port Everglades, Haulover, Government Cut to Ocean Reef
What remaining tarpons in our area have been hanging out along the oceanside beaches. The tarpon has been feeding on the few pilchard schools along the beaches and on the last of the migrating silver mullet schools that haven’t gone north for the summer. Catching these silver giants has been a challenge due to crystal clear waters. The offshore bite has been better and more predictable. Live baitfish have been scarce unless you can catch them along the beaches before the sun rises. If not, Lester of Lesters Live Baits has been selling them daily out of Haulover Inlet. Decent amounts of spring kingfish have been feeding on live pilchards, threadfin herrings, goggle eye jacks, and ballyhoo. The kings ranged in size from seven to 40-pound fish and have been caught in depths from 40 feet of water out to 200 feet of water. More sailfish were hooked, fought, and released in recent days. The sails were caught using live baits fished from under a kite. The best depths for the sails were from 80 feet of water out to 240 feet of water. Lots of bonito and blackfin tuna continue to be caught in depths from 120 feet of water out to 300 feet of water. Some of the backfins have been up to 30 pounds. Trolling live baits, feathers or fishing the live baits free-lined or from under a kite is working the best on the tunas. The best tuna bite has been early and late in the day. Dolphin fish have been scattered outside of the outer reef and more numerous further offshore along weed lines. The dolphins closer to the reef have been as big as 50 pounds and can be seen chasing schools of flying fish. The weed lines from 800 to over 1000 feet of water are producing a lot more dolphins but you must pick and choose which fish you target due to the size of the fish. Each angler is allowed but five legal-size dolphin fish 20” s to the fork and there is a boat limit of 30 dolphin fish. Floating grass on the surface is making trolling for dolphins difficult. One trick that has worked for me in the past is to rig up two rods with soft plastic baitfish that are hooked weedless with a Mustad weedless hook. This rig will slide through the weeds without hanging up. Often the dolphin fish will find this bait irresistible. During the day, the bottom fishing has been decent with good amounts of mutton snappers being caught. The snappers are feeding over rocky areas, ledges, and wrecks in depths between 80 and 200 feet of water. Nighttime bottom fishing over the reefs continues to provide action from an assortment of snappers, grunts, toros, and blue runners. Low tide at Government Cut Friday night will be at 8:17.
North Biscayne Bay Inshore
The only baitfish schools in the bay are tiny baits that will go right through your cast net, except for a few small schools of threadfin herring that have been tough to locate and then tough to catch up to. Sea trout continue to be scattered over the remaining healthy grass flats in the bay. It takes a lot of patience to locate a few fish. Mangrove snappers are plentiful in the bay. Look for these bottom feeders along many of the dock pilings, bridge pilings, over the artificial reef area on the north side of the Julia Tuttle Causeway, and along the rocky edges of the channels. This past week my clients caught mangrove snappers to 15 inches plus a few jacks and snook. Nighttime snook and small tarpon action was fair this past week. Low tide at Indian Creek Golf Club Saturday morning is at 10:45 AM.
South Biscayne Bay
The forecasted calm days coming up for this weekend could be good for sight fishing bonefish over the Oceanside flats, the flats between Soldiers Key, the flats around Totten Key, Cutter Bank, and the Arsenicker Keys. A mid-morning incoming tide is what the bonefish love in these areas. Have large live shrimp and skimmer jigs ready for the bonefish, plus a few silver dollar-size blue crabs for a permit or tarpon that might swim by your boat. The Finger Channels produced steady action from jack crevalles, yellow jacks, barracudas top 20 pounds, spinner sharks to 70 pounds, huge needlefish, and lots of mangrove snappers to 15” s. The fish ate live pilchards hooked to a Mustad Big Gun #4 short shank hook. Low tide at Soldier Key on Saturday will be at 10:15 in the morning.
A high incoming tide could be perfect for targeting redfish and snook on the Florida Bay flats. The shorelines north of the marina should have enough water to allow you to cast live shrimp or artificial lures up close to the mangroves for snook, redfish, and tarpons. The channels around Conchie Channel, Sandy Key, and First National Bank will be providing action from sea trout, snappers, ladyfish, and jack crevalles. Some of the offshore markers and rock piles have had tripletails and cobia feeding nearby. The inside waters of Oyster, Whitewater and Coot bays have been quite buggy. Small tarpons, snook, redfish, sea trout and Goliath groupers are providing action in these areas if you can handle the bugs. High tide at Flamingo in Florida Bay on Saturday will be at 10:39 AM and at the mouth of Shark River high tide is at 8:46 AM.
Editors Note: Signatures Needed! The "Right to Clean and Healthy Waters" petition needs 900,000 signatures by November 30 to get on the 2024 ballot. Learn more here: http://www.floridarighttocleanwater.org/
Capt. Alan Sherman