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.
Islamorada Fishing Reports for both offshore and backcountry fishing. You can scroll down and click the title of any fishing report to read the full thing with pictures, as well as just look where the text stops and click ‘continue reading’.
November is here and that usually means good backcountry fishin’! We’ve been getting into some snook lately and a few nicer size speciemens around which is always great to see. Had my dad out today and our buddy Andy Newman and we found a big girl snook for pops which he was thrilled about. The last few times out we’ve caught a few but they weren’t quite as big as the specimen we boated today! Andy also got a nice tarpon on light tackle which was a cool catch. As things cool off more in the winter with some cold fronts, we can expect to get some shots at ultra large size snook as well as big black drum. One of my favorite times of year is January as that’s the only consistent cold weather we often get. Right now there is plenty of baitfish around in the backcountry making that part of the day easy. Smaller snook, redfish, trout, tarpon, and more can be found around the backcountry islands and channels. Between now and christmas business is fairly slow too so you really get the place to yourself. I’ve got days open myself personally as well as my team of captains. Capt. Trent is even offering a good discounted rate right now before the holidays so give me a shout and take advantage while you can!
Well we’re into October and it has started to really feel like Fall! We had some good northeast wind earlier this week, and now it’s settled back down to 10-15mph northeast. But the air is much dryer and has cool the bay temps down to low 80s. Definitely feels like Fall here and you can see a lot of bait showing up with bird activity and all. I went out today with my dad and we were on the hunt for big snook. We found some early on and ended up catching a couple real nice sizes ones! Drifting the pinfish on jigs did the trick. After that we checked another area and found some more in a couple other spots, catching one off each. The last stop a big shark was hanging around and the biggest snook of the day got under the boat, grabbed by the shark, but we managed pull her out of its mouth and landed the fish before it got eaten! We took time to take the fish to a more protected area to release it, which it seemed to swim away fine even though it was scraped up from the shark teeth. Gotta do what you can! Anyways we saw quite a bit of bait around started with a huge ball of mullet right at the bridge when we left the dock, then off the mainland we saw several small mullet schools getting busted by fish, and one larger ball out off the beaches outside too. That is typical of this time of year as it cools down up north and we get more northeasterly winds bringing all that bait down. It’s a great time of year to fish and still on the quieter side as far as business goes, so I highly recommend it! Give me a shout if you are interested in getting out there, we have availability!
Got out with pops today for a little fun fishing. It was fairly calm with a light east breeze and falling tide most of the time we fished. We went in search of large snook as we often do when I’m fishing with him. We’ve been having fairly good luck as of late it’s nice to see these fish around in a somewhat consistent manner. I’ve definitely put a lot of time and research into fishing for the big ones and they’re never a guarantee and I truly do appreciate every one we get to lay eyes on! Anyways we started out with a bang and caught a decent size one and a smaller one in the first stop. After that we tried a couple of areas with no love aside from a small goliath grouper. Though the next stop we found a good group of fish. Didn’t really notice any significant signs of them being there aside from getting thumped as soon as our bait got into the area we were trying to hit! We caught a couple large fish and then I ended up hooking a monster that hit my pinfish while i was reeling it in to get it out of the way of another fish we had on! Great fish and boy did she zip some line. After that we had a shark get one and decided to leave that area alone for the rest of the time. After that things more or less dried up though we did end up catching one more decent size fish on the way home, making it a total of 8 or so for the day, including a couple ‘jumbo’ size ones, which for larger size snook is really good! We did not see much for tarpon life today though, I didn’t really try fishing for them but definitely had my eyes peeled as I’ll likely be doing that the next few days some as I have trips coming up. Doesn’t mean they aren’t there but definitely not the big school I saw last week that was so productive. Oh well hopefully tomorrow they’ll appear!
Tarpon fishing continues to be red hot this September. I fished a couple days back to back on the 10th and 11th. We found a massive school of tarpon in the backcountry both days and had phenomenal fishing! First day we actually stumbled into them while snook fishing. Had quite a few bites and landed four fish. Lots of action on our mullet and my regular customer Jeff had an awesome time. The following day we looked around and didn’t see them in quite the same area, but a few miles south we saw a few splashing around as we drove by and sure enough it was them again! Same thing lots of action on our mullet and it lasted for several hours. Obviously I can’t say what’s going to happen from here on out but I think we’ll still have good tarpon fishing for a bit hopefully through October and maybe into early November even if it stays warm. The mullet we use to catch these fish has been around too though not always easily catchable… but usually if we have a trip it’s not super busy so we’ll try to catch bait before hand if possible. Same with fishing sometimes catching bait is all about being in the right place at the right time to catch it, and it can either be a ‘one and done’ throwing the net and catching 80 at once, or spending an hour throwing a bunch of times to come up with just a handful. But good news is I just loaded up my cooler for my next few trips next week but if anything pops up in the meantime I’m ready! Give me a shout if you want to get out this fall for tarpon or any other species we have captains ready and waiting to go.