With all the tropical disturbances staying well to our east, we’ll have a stellar Labor Day weekend for fishing both offshore and inshore.
Florida Keys Weekly Fishing Report – Captain Chris Johnson, SeaSquared Charters – September 1, 2010
Prior to the easterly winds roughing up the seas early this week, there was a slight bump in the dolphin fishing. I heard of some nice gaffers caught along with a couple of slammers.
Wahoo and blackfin tuna
At the humps, anglers are catching wahoo and blackfin tuna. Most of the wahoo have been on the small side, with the heftiest ones going 15 to 18 pounds. Despite their diminutive size, these fish are great on the grill.
The blackfin tuna are averaging a very respectable 8 to 10 pounds. Trolling or deep jigging is working best for these favorites of the sushi-lovers among us.
The winds are predicted to diminish by Thursday afternoon, making the weekend prime for offshore adventures.
The amount of predators you encounter on the reef will dictate whether you land a limit or just hook a lot of fish. If the sharks prohibit you from catching the larger fish, move up shallower on the reef, where you’ll catch plenty of snapper for dinner. The smaller snapper are equally as scrumptious as their more sizeable siblings are.
Although the mangrove snapper are steadily returning to the bay from their summer spawn, fishing for them on the patch reefs continues to be rewarding. It pays to bounce around, as one patch may hold 12- to 14-inch fish while the 4-pounders are hanging on another.
There are also good numbers of red grouper and the occasional gag grouper on the patches. The bait of choice for both the largest mangroves and the grouper has been pinfish, although we’re beginning to see some pilchards.
Variety in the bay
There’s plenty of action to keep anglers busy in the bay areas.
There are abundant mangrove snapper in the 14- to 16-inch range, with a good number of fish over 18 inches to keep things interesting. On the bay wrecks, keep the rods bent with Spanish mackerel, jack crevalle, bluefish and goliath grouper.
Lobster hunting is off the charts this year. What better way to enjoy the holiday weekend than by getting out on the water with family and friends to catch some tasty crustaceans.
The week with SeaSquared Charters
The SeaSquared had a mixture of reef/wreck and shark charters last week.
Visiting from Brooklyn, Jim Beacher and his sons, Joel and Seth, put some nice 18-inch yellowtail snapper in the fish box before the sharks shut us down. We then moved in to the patch reefs, where the guys landed a good bunch of mangrove snapper in the 5-pound class. They also threw back a couple of small grouper.
SeaSquared Charters is pleased to be working with the R.J. Dunlap Marine Conservation Program at the University of Miami in their ongoing shark research. A group of Ph.D. scientists and interns chartered us for a few outings to aid in one of their shark stress research projects.
We caught lemon sharks, some of which were too large to bring into the boat. We did manage a half dozen in the 5- to 7-foot range along with a handful of smaller blacknose sharks. The researchers tagged and measured them, took blood samples and determined their gender. They also got some great underwater footage.
This research will continue for many months, and the team expects to return to the Keys in September. We’ll keep you posted on their progress.
Until next week … Tight Lines!
Capt. Chris Johnson, SeaSquared Charters, Marathon Florida Keys, 305-743-5305