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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The Islamorada Sport Fishing Online


Here are some e-mail's we've gotten here at the website and thought everyone could benefit from our answers.

This email was received in August in response to one of our Fishing Newsletters. Roger was looking for more information than that presented in the newsletter

Here Was Roger's original message:

----- Original Message -----

From: Roger
Islamorada Sport Fishing Online
Wednesday, August 22, 2001
more details please

(You have) good general information - not really specific enough to help us weekend fishermen.  would like a little more specifics about what was caught - where - how deep - with what lure or bait or lure/bait combination - time of day - trolling in which direction - at what speed - on a weedline - on a color change - where is the color change or weedlines or are expected to be this week - caught in the open - under a 'floater' - tipped off by birds - saw a boil - found in a slick -  ya know - stuff like that...........


Here was our reply: (our replies are in bold with arrows >> <<)

Here you go.

I'll break apart your message since it had so many questions:

good general information - not really specific enough to help us weekend fishermen.

>>That's why we have more reports on the website (that is after all, the purpose of the newsletter, to get people to come to the website ;-)<<<

 would like a little more specifics about what was caught

>>Dolphin (Mahi-Mahi) It says that in the report, and sometimes tuna....<<<

  - where

>> Offshore from 9 to 18 miles right now, but that changes on an almost daily basis<<<

  - how deep

>> Same as above, from 600' to 1,500' deep I'm guessing, but the dolphin don't seem to care how deep it is, they've been caught by partyboats fishing on the reef's this year<<<

 - with what lure or bait or lure/bait combination

>> Billy bait's are good (you can get 'em at our online store BTW ;-)  Most colors work well. You can also use a rigged ballyhoo with or without a skirt, again - choose your color.<<<

  - time of day

>> Dolphin have been caught at all times of the day, and night too for that matter, but I don't know of anyone who trolls at night.<<<

  - trolling in which direction

>> Doesn't really matter, most boats go offshore... and then head back.  I personally head easterly, that way I'm not going directly into the seas (we have a predominantly southeast breeze here) and I have a somewhat following sea on the way back, I only have a 22' boat so I try to pay attention to sea conditions...<<

  - at what speed

>> anywhere from 5 to 12 knots or so, personally I troll around 8 knots.<<<

  - on a weedline

>> If that's where the fish are, yes. They usually are under weeds or debris, but sometimes not<<<

  - on a color change

>> If that's where the fish are, yes. with an absence of weedlines, you look for anything different... like a color change.<<<

  - where is the color change or weedlines or are expected to be this week

>> Don't know, It changes daily. If I could predict where they'll be, I would be a rich man by now......  The color change offshore (18-24miles) usually indicates the gulfstream but that changes daily by many miles.

  - caught in the open

>> They are sometimes caught in the open.<<<

 - under a 'floater'

>> what's a floater?  if you mean debris, yes. there's an amazing diversity of "stuff" out there floating north with the gulfstream, both manmade and not: pallets, whole trees, towing hawsers, piles of garbage, even abandoned Cuban rafts...<<<

  - tipped off by birds

>> You always look for birds, and weeds, when you head offshore. They're usually a good indicator of something "fishy" going on.<<<

  - saw a boil

>> Sometimes you can see the dolphin jumping out of the water under the birds chasing bait... Pretty cool... There have also been a few free jumping Marlin sighted offshore....also pretty cool<<

  - found in a slick

>> A slick?  You mean like a color change or something different? See above...<<<

  -  ya know

>> yep, I know humankind's sponge-like curiosity.<<

  - stuff like that...........

>> I guess I forgot to put this in this week's newsletter...


  "For complete fishing reports from around the Florida Keys, check out

http://www.floridakeysfishingonline.com/reports.htm "  <<<


>> Regards and tight lines,

Brad - www.IslamoradaSportFishing.com  <<

Here's one from Aaron from Maryland, referred to us by Captain Mel Berman

Here Was Aaron's original message:

   My name is Aaron and I live in Maryland. I am hoping to come down to the Florida Keys and fish in the summer. I am taking my own boat with me hoping that I can save a little money. I was wondering if you would be nice enough to tell me where to go and how to catch fish like dolphin, tuna, sailfish, shark, marlin, kingfish etc. Please tell me how to catch some fish so my family can have a memorable time while we are visiting the Florida Keys.

Here was our reply:

Hi Aaron,
If you're talking the middle of summer like July and August, that is prime time for dolphin. The seas are usually calm to boot which is great for small boaters. Marlin and shark are usually an incidental catch and not targeted since there are so many dolphin out there. Kingfish are absent here in the summer time, they are a winter fish.

First things first: your boat must be equipped for an offshore trip. You may be traveling 10-20-30 miles offshore. All safety gear, working radio, gps, proper charts and the knowledge to use all of them is essential. Chapman's piloting, seamanship and small boat handling is an excellent book for gaining the requisite knowledge. Your boat must be in excellent mechanical order as well.

To learn to fish for dolphin a good start would be to hit one of the local tackle shops when you come to the Keys and get some tips for catching them. They will point you in the right direction for lure selection and provide you with the right baits. Dolphin are caught by trolling offshore, or by finding debris or weedlines offshore and drifting chunk bait for them. They are a schooling fish constantly on the move migrating, and searching for food. They are also one of the fastest growing fish in the ocean. Most people in the Keys have two sets of fishing rods. One set are 6-7 foot medium-medium heavy spinning rods with 300+ yards of 20-30# mono on them. These are the trolling rods and used just for that. The other set are called "schoolie" rods and are used when a school is around your boat to cast chunk bait to the fish, sometimes rigged with snap swivels so leaders (1-2 foot lengths of 15-20# mono) can be quickly changed and put back out after a fish is brought aboard. These are more flexible rods with 12-15 # mono. When a fish is hooked, they are kept in the water, keeping the rest of the school around the boat. Throwing freebie chunk bait to the school will also keep them around. It's amazing to watch the school swimming next to the hooked fish and watching them inhale your bait.

We have set up an "Ask The Captain" forum on our website where Captain Russ Pellow answer's people's questions about fishing in a forum environment so that everyone may benefit from his answers.  Why not post your question about the how's and where's about dolphin fishing there?  Try to keep it specific about dolphin, thus his answers will be specific.  If you have questions about other species, wait awhile and then post those questions. Captain Russ is a working captain and quite busy. Here's the direct link:

I hope this helps a little and doesn't cause more confusion for you.

Tight lines,
Brad - www.IslamoradaSportFishing.com




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