It seems that the outdoorsmen and women have had enough of being sheltered at home. The fishing season was slashed but since re opening we have been out almost everyday! Typically our busy season ends mid July just for reasons of nicer weather up north. It has been steady still here and for some reason the mahi fishing has been getting better and better. This year I have seen more offshore action late July and August then I saw in May and June ( our usual great mahi season) Not to complain about good fishing we have been seizing the opportunity to catch many fish.
A typical day offshore starts with a 10-15 mile run about 20-30 minutes from conch harbor marina in old town key west. Once to the fishing grounds we start looking for floating debris, weed lines, birds, currents, and temperature changes. Anything floating can be a safe haven for all sorts of pelagic fish and baitfish. This makes a nice fishery and can produce schools of fish or just a really nice quality fish. Most days we see birds but we are searching for the birds that are circling or diving in one area. Typically when there are many birds diving we see many fish. If there is just one or two birds we usually catch a bigger fish. Currents and temperature changes are key. I like to think if it like a highway the gulf stream is the super highway however ebbies and color changes hold fish in one area. Pushing bait and nutrients to the area bringing in the Pelagic fish. When we are fortunate enough to see all of some of these things happen we can expect to be hooking up often through out the entire trip. A good idea of fishing time in a half day trip is about 3 hours. 5 hours in a 3/4 and 7 hours in and full day.
September brings a closure for tilefish and snowy grouper. With it reopening in May. Bad news for us anglers that love the quality meat these fish bring to the table but a necessary approach to keep the fishery thriving. With one closure comes another opportunity! Lobster season is in full effect and they have around. Our mini sport season it seemed that most boats got a limit per trip . 6 per person. With the summer months being Hot this is a nice way to enjoy the water and stay cooler. Lobster trips are snorkel only and we hit depths of 6-15 foot. Free diving down netting lobsters from rocks, holes, and ledges. I have seen a boost in this kinda of trip this year with anglers wanting to try something new and have a good story to tell.
Grouper and snapper s are still open and the reef is always a good place to find lunch and get into some good action. We have had a killer mangrove bite on the new and full moons and the yellowtail snapper bite has been here as well.
It is not to early to book your holiday fishing vacation. Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years etc fill up quick and if the plan is to come down I recommend getting into the books sooner than later! September and October have been good the last couple of years. We can expect to start seeing more wahoo tuna and mahi offshore and the big red groupers on the Reefs along with snappers. Tarpon and shark fishing in the bays will be good as well!
Looking forward to fishing with you
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Capt. Eric Evans