A school of Yellowtail Snapper. Some of the other fish we catch in the Florida Keys areTuna, Wahoo, Blue & White Marlin, Sailfish, Wahoo, Dolphin (Mahi Mahi), Sharks, Kingfish, Mutton Snapper, King Mackerel, Grouper, Cobia, Tarpon and more.

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How-To Series


Brought to you courtesy of Captain Ron Brack, Captain of the Charterboat "REEL PLEASURE" out of the Whale Harbor Marina in Islamorada.

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Do you have live pilchards in your livewell? If you don’t you'll wish you had when the big Blackfins show up. Chumming and using live pilchards on straight 20 pound test with a 4/0 or 5/0 short shank hook has proven to be the most effective way for the maximum amount of shots. Start a drift in front of your favorite spot or just power drift. Throw some freebees out (chumming) and pitch out a hooked bait and just free line him out, then put one in your outrigger, and wait until you see which one gives you the most bites. Now keep throwing freebees one at a time, every five to fifteen seconds and wait to see whether the best bite comes from the drifted bait, or the outrigger. Watch for the tuna to start busting the surface, when they get close throw freebees right to them along with your hooked bait; sometimes you can keep this going for long drifts.

Another great method on Blackfins is is using live Ballyhoo. Beak hook a live Ballyhoo using the same style hook and no more than 30 pound leader put them way out behind the boat and slow troll or power drift, leave your bail open for the strike, but it is usually unnecessary to drop back to far.

Another way is so cool, I hesitate to even tell you about it: put your kite out! Put a hook in the mouth of a Ballyhoo or flying fish, and another near the anal fin or tail. Run the Bait out on your kite and run six to eight knots broad side to the wind, skipping the bait in and out of the water. Any tackle will work; it is not exposed to the Tuna’s vision. Dangling the bait from the kite, the tuna seem to boil underneath the bait, this is truly an awesome sight to behold.

Here's a simpler method:  just put your trolling feathers out ounce to ounce blue and white, red and white, black and red, straight 20 pound test. I can almost assure you they will bite.

Tight Lines,

Captain Ron Brack




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