Once again we are allowed to have people come down and enjoy the beauty of our island. The waters have been mostly boat free and the fish have been plentiful. Many people have been asking what is open and allowed due to the Covid 19. As of right now most of the business that survived are up and running. Duval street is open with bars and restaurants open at 50 percent capacity inside and 100 percent capacity outside. All business are doing their part to keep locals and tourist safe with state guidelines. Long story short the island is open and can be enjoyed. And yes the beaches are open!
On to the the better and bigger news. The offshore report has been steady with schoolie mahi in droves. Bigger mahi have been around as well feeding along the schools. On the last trip out we had a surprise marlin and sailfish come up on a single bait. The commotion of both fish trying to get the bait is one rarely seen. The customer called it “blue planet sighting at its best” the sailfish ended up winning the battle and getting hooked. After about 25 mins we had a sail next to the boat and released it for the young angler. His first sail! After grabbing more mahi for dinner for we ended the day dropping down 500-700 feet to catch some tiles and yellow edge grouper. These fish are excellent table fare!
The reef has been producing yellowtail snapper 15-18 inch have been the norm. As we have been fishing for the yellowtail we have been getting quality size mutton snapper, black groupers, and red groupers. The fight for these bottom dwellers can bring the best anglers to his or her breaking point. If you haven’t experienced the fight it is one to remember and look forward to.
We are all excited for the worm hatch to happen in the back country. If you are not familiar with this it’s nothing but incredible. The palolo worm comes from the coral rocks and sponges. During the full moon in early summer they hatch and float up to the surface turning tarpon and other fish into a feeding frenzy. Some anglers have hooked 2-3 tarpon in a single cast. To make this happen we get the tarpon to eat have a couple of jumps and runs and then get tight on the line having the tarpon spit the hook. Then continue reeling and hook up more if we are lucky! This does no harm the fish and gives anglers a story to tell for many years.
We can’t forget about the sharks and the Goliath groupers on the wrecks and back country. I always get a request to catch a sea monster. Very little compares to the brute force of either of these big species. As for Goliath groupers. Typically these are a straight up and down fight or a tug of war fight. These fish can weigh up to 500 lbs or bigger and make multiple dives to get back into the wreck. One can expect a powerful and nonstop fight for 8-20 minutes. Eight minutes doesn’t sound like much but trust me it will feel a lot longer. After getting the fish next to the boat the celebration begins by getting pictures and helping the grouper regain its strength to be released for another day.
If a longer fight is what you are looking for bull, lemon, and hammerheads are usually a marathon fight. Expect long runs deep dives and lots of head shaking. To get to the leader and a good picture the fights can take anywhere from 15 mins to an hour. The good news is when the fish runs the angler has time to rest for a moment before the battle begins again.
Its still good fishing and I am looking forward to the rest of the summer. We can expect more mahi, sailfish and marlin offshore. Snappers and groupers on the reefs. And the tarpon to be around in the backcountry. So far the weather has been holding up and looks like the next couple weeks are expecting calm seas and sunny skies. If you want to book a trip please call 305-731-5459
Looking forward to fishing with you.
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Capt. Eric Evans