Due to numerous emails about the "practice of Dolphin fishing" I would like
to make the following clarification.
The fish we are referring to as dolphin, as it is called in the Keys and
south Florida, is a fish, also known as the Dorado and
Mahi-Mahi. This is not the Dolphin mammal.
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There have been a few catches of Dolphin
offshore, but no big push as of yet. Captain Brian Cone caught two
Mahi in the teens in weight on a current edge last week. Captain
Chuck on the Dee Cee boated a few nice Dolphin one trip also. The
Blackfin Tuna on the humps are biting good. Captain Paul on the Reef
Runner got into the Tuna on the Hump one day boating a dozen.
There is good action on the reef with Sailfish
and Yellowtail Snapper the highlight. The Charter Boat Early Bird
released three Sailfish last week. Captain Billy on the Vera Vita
out of Whale Harbor Marina had a great day on the reef with a box
full of Yellowtail Snapper to show for it. There are Permit on the
reef wrecks, so always have a few crabs in the live well just in
case you want to throw at the Permit. It is recommended using a
twenty pound spin outfit [for the Permit] with a short length of
light fluorocarbon leader on the terminal end. Use a small sliding
lead just to help cast and sink the crab.
Gulf and Bay:
Well, as they say, “all good things must come to
an end” and that applies to the Spanish Mackerel in the Gulf. The
Spanish Mackerel has been a great fishery for years and pretty
reliable too. The Mackerel are for the most part far and few between
now and guides are waiting for the Seatrout numbers to increase. The
Trout have been anywhere from slow to great the past week. One thing
is that there are some very large Trout around, ranging twenty
inches and above. The Trout have been found in the western bay
around Sandy Key and the banks that border the Gulf. Drifting and
bouncing jigs is the method used by most. On the nice days the
Tarpon are in good supply. Guides are fly fishing them, but mostly
the big Silver Kings are caught on live Mullet under a float.
Flats, Backcountry and Flamingo:
It is pretty much all about the Tarpon for many
guides these days. Fishing the island channels the Tarpon are thick.
Captain Vinnie Biondoletti has been cast netting Mullet and baiting
Tarpon most evenings. Captain Skip Neilson has been also catching
Tarpon on live bait in the channels. Captain Freddie out of
Smugglers Cove caught two Tarpon one trip and when a third bite came
he said the fish was not acting like a Tarpon. At boat side the fish
was a Cobia of 38 inches. What a bonus. Captain Jeremy on the A Lil
Tail fished Flamingo briefly one trip last week and released one
Capt. James Chappell's Fishing
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Hello everyone, and welcome
back to this week’s report! A lot of fun happening down here in
Islamorada and the Upper Keys, as the fishing this week has been
really good! Early in the week the tuna bite was on fire on the
Marathon hump. All the blackfin tunas you wanted on the live bait,
jigs, and troll. Some really nice fish on the live bait up to 30
pounds with around a 20 pound average all around. Some Mahi have
been showing up pretty good as well, so I’d say its just about time
to start targeting these guys. The terns are showing up in better
numbers, and the sargasso weed is lining up pretty good, so its
about to go off! The swordfish grounds were a little slow, as we
fished for them for a few hours one day and lost one little guy next
to the boat. A few boats that did go had some other bites and caught
one or two combined, but no great shakes. I’m going tomorrow, so I
will let you know next week how we did. The wreck fishing is picking
up with the muttons starting to bite really good. The Groupers are
chewing as well, so let’s hope they keep biting after May 1st. The
reef bite is absolutely insane right now, as the JUMBO yellowtails
are swarming! Some of the biggest fish I have ever caught here in
the Keys, and I actually caught my personal best at 6 pounds! We
caught around 25 fish this week in the 4.5 to 5 pound mark, and it
is just an incredible fishery right now. I would definitely
recommend giving this a shot for sure. The Permit are thick on the
wrecks offshore, so this is another option if you like these guys.
Beautiful fish and what a fight they put up on the light tackle! The
weather man says that the weekend is going to be windy with south to
southeast winds 20-25 knots, so plan on it being a bit rough
offshore. Well, that is it for this week! Have a great weekend
everyone, and be safe out there!
Capt. James Chappell