MARATHON, Florida Keys — The statement that I hear all the time that confirms the notion that fishing can lead to great enjoyment is, “A bad day fishing is better than a good day at work” Just imagine coming back from a fishing trip with a cooler full of fish. The people who have been fishing have indeed been filling their coolers.
The dolphin bite has been great, with many fish in the 20-pound class and bigger. There haven’t been very many small dolphins, which isn’t a bad thing, but this concerns me though. This time of year we should have seen thousands of schoolies all summer long. From what I have seen and what I have been told by other captains is that this year there has been a shortage of schoolies. You see the problem is that the schoolies that we see this year will become the 20-40 pound slammers that we will catch next dolphin season. It just might be that they may have migrated closer to the other side of the Gulf stream, we will just never know, or maybe if we have a bad dolphin season next year then maybe we have some concerns about our future stock of migratory fish.
This week the dolphin were scattered under birds from 900-1100 feet of water which would put them from 22-30 miles from shore. There were some reports of some dolphin activity inside of 700 feet, but too much. There were very few small fish with some reaching fifty pounds. The tuna bite has been hot when the current was running, but in the middle of the week the current just died to nothing.
With the current slowing down, deep dropping has been really easy with lighter weights being able to hold the bottom. This would be the time to hand crank for a chance to break an IGFA record. The deep dropping has been good. Snowys, tilefish and many more deep species are the common catch out in the deep. While you are out there deep dropping, keep a bait ready to pitch to a dolphin that might just swim right up to your boat.
Sword fishing has been really good with many fish being caught up in the 200-pound class. With the light current, dropping down 2000 feet has not been a challenge. The favorite baits for sword fishing has been fresh tuna and dolphin plugs. Although the universal bait “squid” always works too. The new gimmick has been adding a squid skirt over the bait, and depending who you talk to the color of the squid changes. The most common colors have been, glow-in-the-dark green, and dark colors, such as black and red or purple and pink. Looks like sword fishing has continued to evolve, as this is the one reason why people love to fish. Changing times, fish getting smarter, or it may just all be in the complex mind of all of us fisherman.
The reef has been ok, with yellowtails and a few mangroves thrown into the mix. Muttons have been around as with plenty of AJ’s. The better mutton bite has been in the 145-180 foot wrecks and live bottom. Searching the edge of the reef can lead to a few muttons and as well as some grouper too. Get your grouper now before they shut it down. Well actually, it will not affect recreational fisherman, except for the fact that you will only be able to keep one black or gag grouper and two of any other species. But for us charter boats, we will not be allowed to keep any grouper from January 1st through April. Unfortunately, they have made this new law for all of the states in the southeastern region. This will include South Carolina down to Florida. This new law has a few flaws, because they wanted to protect the grouper spawn, but here in Florida the spawn doesn’t occur until April through all of May and some late bloomers in June.
Come on down, the weather is great, a few showers, but what’s with a shower here or there, got to get the fish blood off of you somehow.
Tags: amberjack fishing, Capt. Dave Schugar, deep drop fishing, dolphin fishing, Florida Keys Fishing, florida keys fishing charter, grouper fishing, mangrove snapper fishing, mutton snapper fishing, reef fishing, snowy grouper fishing, squid, Sweet E'Nuf Charters, sword fish fishing, swordfish charter, swordfish fishing, tilefish fishing, yellowtail snapper fishing