This time of year is always exciting, yet frustrating at the same time. The reef fishing is still really pretty good right now, but we hardly have any customers around to enjoy it. After Labor Day the business end of the fishing dies off drastically, even though the fishing is still good. The good news about that is that if you are able to come down and fish with us there is very little competition on the party boat and few boats on the reef competing with us. A month ago you would have been one of 40 people on the boat, where-as now you are one of 12 on a typical trip.
The mangrove snapper spawn is coming to an end, but the fish are still out on the reef and hungry. We are actually catching more of them in the day time, as the night spawn areas have shut down. It’s fun to catch them in the day time because they swim right up into the chum slick and you can almost watch them eat your bait. In some ways it’s like sight fishing!
The yellowtail bite is still good both day and night. They tend to be a bit bigger at night, which is to be expected. At night both Capt. Ron and Capt. Dave are fishing wrecks in the 100 foot range and catching the big “flag” yellowtails.
We have been seeing a few muttons both day and night too. Nothing big in the daytime, but at least they are there. At night they have pulled up a few in the 10 to 12 pound range, which is a respectable fish no matter who you are. The nicest day time mutton recently was caught by Ron White who was fishing with a live ballyhoo on a long leader rig in 75 feet of water. He had the nicest fish on the boat, until his fishing parter Nancy White topped his catch with an 11 pound red grouper in 205 feet of water on the same rig. Needless to say, Ron got quite a bit of teasing the rest of the day.
As for the offshore scene, not many boats have been getting off the dock to give reports. The last day that the Islamorada Lady II fished they came in with blackfin tunas, skip-jack tunas and some deep water dwellers such as the rarely caught barrel fish. The barrels are really good to eat, but very hard to catch, making them quite an exciting catch. The one the Lady caught was about 12 pounds, yielding multiple fantastic dinners for the lucky angler.
In the near future I would expect to see the snappers continue to bight quite well due to the warm water. The groupers are going to be few and far between, as are the king fish. Basically the word of the fall is snapper, snapper, snapper.
Hope to fish with you soon,