Florida Keys Reef Fishing Is On Fire.
Fishing the reefs and wrecks west of Key West has been a great way to spend the dog days of summer that are already here. West of Key West the fishery is amazing and there are plenty to be had in the way of mutton snappers, groupers, mangrove snapper, yellowtail and more.
I was out west toward the Dry Tortugas with a family of 3 early this week and we had a ball. Using white buck tailed jigs, live pin fish and cut ballyhoo we were able to put together a nice limit of Red Grouper, Nice sized mutton snappers and some Mangrove snappers. Fishing with 2 14 year old kids these guys were troopers, lifting fish all day from the 80 ft depth of water. One of the fish they managed to get up was a 32 lb goliath grouper that was released.
Methods I was using..
I am not a big fan of anchoring for a few reasons, first it tears up the bottom and makes a ton of racket. If I do anchor I make sure I am well away up current from the structure or bottom I am going to fish. This way the baits make it back to the fish I am looking to catch. I drift allot. Catch more fish
this way. I see my spot and move up current or wind whichever is stronger and drop jigs. While we jig along we are always changing geography. This way the fish don’t get bored AND my anglers don’t clean out a spot. 2 or 3 drifts in an area and I am off to another. Bounce a Bounce a fish on, bounce a bounce a fish on.. its really easy. Not to mention, the time it takes to dink around with the anchor.
We had limited out on red grouper averaging 26 inches and better, so it was time to change tactics to catch snappers and stop hurting the grouper population with bad real eases. I noticed the snapper were stacking up a little higher off the bottom on my bottom machine (Furuno FCV 295). So. I adjusted my leader lengths on a live bait set up. 10 ft leaders 3/0 owner offshore circle hooks and 25lb fluorocarbon. The secret was to not go to the bottom. So I had my anglers drop to the bottom and then reel up as we drifted about 5 cranks on my 6.3 to 1 Daiwa reels. Wa La.. It worked. We got cut a few times from angry toothy critters but the pay off was awesome with some stellar mutton snappers from 7 – 14 lbs and mangroves to 6 lbs.
We run these trips pretty often now that grouper season is open in my Yellofin 32 center console. My rate is 750.00 plus fuel. The fuel burn can be from 60 – 100 gallons depending on how far you guys want to go, I can catch fish anywhere in between. Generally my anglers chose the 70 gallon range and we come home with a nice pile of fish for the dinner plate and a whole lot of fun. That said, the further I go generally the bigger the fish.
About Fuel Surcharges.. Because of the unstable nature of our fuel prices I do this trip on a plus fuel basis. I run my boat very efficiently and make sure every drop counts. This trip has Many components to it.
If you would like to fish with Capt. Steven Lamp on board his Mercury Verado powered Yellowfin 32 Call 1-305-292-7212