We closed out the year with many familiar faces for the holiday season. It is always a pleasure to fish many of the same people year after year! December 2021 did not disappoint with so much action on the patch reefs. The mutton snappers and groupers were plentiful and as always put up a great fight. Lane snappers were unusually larger this past year as well. Lane snappers sometimes called Champaign snappers are a delicious fish. With smaller blood lines and a very mild taste. In my belief it trumps yellowtail and mangrove snapper in table fare.
The offshore fishing was hit and miss for most the charter fleet and private boats. The occasional wahoo, Mahi, and tuna were caught. Most trips that wanted to target these species ended up switching game plans after a while to find more action along the reef. It still makes me chuckle when people call and I give them an update on what has been going on and I give them a report like above. “Why are you telling me it’s slow offshore?” “I saw other boats with a tuna flag come in?!” This list can go on and on. I did not maintain a growing repeat business by being dishonest. Yes another boat may have gotten a tuna for example. They may have fished 8 hours for that one fish. They may have gotten a lucky fish first thing and then had no bites the rest of the day. Or they may have just had an epic day! Don’t get me wrong we don’t mind going after a target species even if it has been tough. After so many years it has become very apparent that if one thing isn’t working anglers don’t mind switching things up to get some more action. This is the advantage we have here down in Key West. We especially in the wintertime when everything is closer to the reef and shallower. If we want to try for pelagic fish and it isn’t happening for us, we can switch gears and be targeting other species within a few minutes. Unlike fishing up north where you must travel 40-80 miles to find blue water fish. And if that doesn’t happen anglers are stuck in a go big or go home scenario. On a half day trip “4 hours” we can go from trolling offshore to hitting patches for snappers or jigging for amberjacks on the wrecks.
Point I am trying to get across is in the Florida Keys we have options that other places don’t get. Our trips are focused on what our clients want to do, and we do our best to make it happen! Being forthcoming on fishing reports gives anglers a true idea of what to expect and helps create a successful outcome.
I am expecting the offshore bite to turn back on. With a bunch of cold fronts that pushed through and a couple more on the way. The tuna should be getting pushed from the gulf into the Atlantic. Typically January, February, and March we get slot of tuna, Wahoo, and sailfish!
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I’m looking forward to fishing with you. Call me now.
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Capt. Eric Evans