11/29/23 Patch reefin’ on fire in Islamorada!

Capt. Stephen got out with some of the crew from SCB/Shallow Sport to do a little patch reef fishing.  We had a minor front come in and the temperatures dropped to the mid 60s, not super cold but definitely a change from the near 80 degree weather we’ve had.  Bait has been plentiful we’ve been getting good sized shrimp at the marina office and catchable pilchards are in quite a few areas near Islamorada and beyond.  One thing about this time of year is the bait is usually a gimme and that is often half the battle of a good day of fishing.  The guys fished the ocean side patches which are small bits of coral reef you can find on the Atlantic side in generally shallow water 10 to 30 ft.  They caught a wide variety including snappers (mangroves, yellowtails, and muttons), groupers, hogfish, mackerel, and more.  The nicer snappers take the pilchards well and so do the groupers.  The hogfish definitely prefer the shrimp for a meal.  They are great eating but unfortunately we cannot keep them this time of year any longer.  A big bull shark was also had which are fun to catch if you are looking for something big to pull on too.  Look for patch reef fishing to be a good option here in the Florida Keys through the spring.  I often recommend it more on half day trips though you can definitely make a day out of it too, or at least do it for part of the day and then try other things too.  We’ve got availability now through christmas so if you want to get out give us a shout.  After Christmas is booking up quick and next year seasonal fishing time is starting to fill up too.

Capt. Rick Stanczyk
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