tormenter vertical jig

2-18-13 offshore fishing islamorada

We’ve been out fishing Islamorada a bunch the past week, and we’ve caught a little bit of everything! We had our strongest cold front of the year pass through this past weekend while Fishing in Islamorada in February, and it definitely shook things up a little bit. Today started out pretty cold with a North Wind, and by the afternoon had warmed up quite a bit and the wind was strong out of the East. Anyhow we did two 1/2 day trips today, which you can get away with this time of year and usually still have some action on the reef. Dinner was the goal of the morning trip, and that’s exactly what we did. We worked hard at it, and moved a few times, but by the time the trip was over we had a handful of tasty yellowtail snapper, mangrove snapper, and porgy for the dinner table. We also released a nice black grouper due to the closure. The day before yesterday we also got out and had a great Islamorada Fishing Trip! We caught live bait first thing and then moved out to a spot just out side the reef and started slow trolling. We managed 2 sailfish releases, boxed 3 nice king mackerel to 20 lbs, and a 15 lb blackfin tuna within the first few hours. After that we looked for cobia for a couple hours inside the reef, but no luck. For the last hour we anchored down on the reef and caught 15 snappers including yellowtail and mangrove before heading home. We also released a fat black grouper this day too at the end of bottom fishing! The Day before that we went offshore fishing in Islamorada and caught some big fish! We started out at one of our “humps” (underwater sea mounatain), using tormenter vertical jigs. Now this is a major work out, dropping down 300 – 400′ with a 7 oz. jig on 80 lb braided line, and working it up aggressively, but when you hook up the bite and fight is incredible. We caught a couple almaco jacks and then finally hooked a big amberjack about 40 lbs. After that we sent down a big bait and hooked a monster amberjack! After a 15 minute tug of war we had a 75 lb amberjack in the boat! After we caught a couple big fish we decided to go for some tasty eating fish so we rigged up for some “deep dropping”. This is basically bottom fishing in 400′ to 600′ of water with chicken rigs. We managed to catch a handful of blueline tilefish, a snowy grouper, a mystic grouper, and a few rose porgies, which are all great eating fish! On the way home we put out the wahoo lure, and it had been about 6 months since we had a bite on it, so there we were running 14 knots with a lure out and it started screaming. The only bad news was the fight was short lived because after 10 seconds the fish shook free… oh well, we’ll have to get him next time. Pretty soon we’ll start heading offshore more, but we will still concentrate most of our time near the reef while February Fishing Islamorada.

Capt. Nick Stanczyk