Florida Keys Weekly Fishing Report – Captain Chris Johnson, SeaSquared Charters – July 21, 2010
According to all predictions, the wind we’ve been experiencing for the last few days will lay down by Friday and we will see calmer conditions for the weekend and into next week.
The snapper bite should remain excellent on the reef in 60 to 80 feet of water. The upcoming full moon on Monday will spur the majority of the yellowtail and mangrove snapper to spawn.
These fish will feed heavily up to and through the spawn. Use a variety of cut baits plus small, live pinfish to entice them.
There are plenty of grouper on the reef as well. Red, blacks and gags are making their way into fish boxes on a regular basis. You will have success with any large baits, such as grunts, blue runners or speedos.
The good news about the wind is that it has pushed the Gulf Stream closer to shore. According to NOAA, the edge of the Stream is six miles south of Sombrero Key Light.
These conditions will accelerate the dolphin bite, and we’ll see slammer and gaffer size fish mixed with the small schoolies. Take advantage of the action before the weather turns hot and calm again.
Blackfin tuna fishing at the humps remains good, with most of the fish in the 5- to 10-pound class. Fishing early in the morning or late in the evening is generally more productive than midday.
Mutton snapper and amberjack on the wrecks
There’s a first-class mutton snapper bite on the deeper wrecks and artificial reefs. Your baits of choice are live ballyhoo, pinfish or cigar minnows.
In the same areas, there are fine showings of amberjack, jack crevalle and hefty king mackerel in the 20- to 30-pound category. These jacks and macks are a ton of fun on light tackle. I recommend using a Tsunami speed jig to get them to the boat.
Nighttime snapper fishing
If you’re looking to beat the heat, head out for some nighttime fishing for yellowtail and mangrove snapper. The yellowtails can’t resist chunk ballyhoo or chunk sardines. To attract big mangroves, use live pinfish or pilchards.
Permit, bonefish and tarpon
The flats guides from Key Largo to Key West are seeing permit, small bonefish and small tarpon.
Florida Keys Shark Adventures
Always an excellent option on a windy day, shark fishing in the calm channels and banks is chock full of action for anglers of all ages and abilities. Catching upwards of 12 to 15 lemons and blacktips in a half day trip is a no-brainer these days.
The week with SeaSquared Charters
The Griswold group from Orlando and the Altman group from Kentucky put the hurt on the snapper and grouper on the reef. We had nice size yellowtails around 20 inches, very fat mangroves, a couple of muttons and black grouper to round out the catches.
Catch-and-release shark fishing adventures entertained the Brantmer family from Waldwich NJ and the Hodges family from Round Rock TX. Two of my repeat clients – Mark Mohwinkle from Brick NJ and Mike Casella from Boca Raton – treated their boys to shark fishing. All of the groups caught countless lemon sharks. One of the Casella twins caught the largest of the bunch at nearly 8 feet.