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Traditionally this is the busiest week of the year

It may be hard to tell because Key West has been very busy for the last year or so. Mostly due to people trying to get away and having to deal with all the Covid Restrictions. Anyway, the Southbound had 2 4 hr trips today. There have been a few Mahi offshore and the reef action has been generally good.

On the morning trip

I gave my customers the options. Either go offshore looking for Mahi, Tuna, Wahoo or stay on the Reef looking for Mackerel, Snapper and Grouper. 4 hrs is not a lot of time to fish offshore, but the fish are usually bigger.  A lot of the boats that have been going offshore end up coming back to the reef for some “Action” at the end of the trip. The reef is usually going to be more active, but smaller fish. We do use lighter tackle on the reef so the fish are still a lot of fun to catch.

My group in the morning decided to go for the action and we headed for the reef. I prefer fishing the reef with live bait whenever possible so we made a quick stop to catch some live Ballyhoo. Fortunately, there has been a lot of bait on the reef and they came to the chum quickly. My Mate, Edward, threw the net and caught over 100 within 15 minutes. We were good to go.

We pulled anchor and slow trolled around the reef and the action was pretty good. Our first fish was a nice Bar Jack. Fun to catch and good to eat. Unfortunately, something else, either a barracuda or shark thought they were tasty too and we only got half of it. After that, we had no more trouble with predators and the bites came steadily. We ended up with a nice Mutton Snapper, threw back a small Grouper, caught some nice Yellowtail Snapper, and a couple of big Cero mackerel and a big Yellow Jack.  Pretty good action all around and we headed in with a happy group

In the afternoon.

we started on the reef again and the action was pretty good again. Cero Mackerel, Yellow Tail Snapper kept us busy for the first half of the trip. After we had enough fish for dinner, I asked my customers if they wanted to go deep and look for a bigger fish and they agreed. We pulled in our lines and headed offshore.

I ran to a spot called EyeGlass Bar

It is a section of the Bar or outer reef due South of Key West. It can be a great spot for bottom fishing and it’s also a good place to find Sailfish, Tuna, King Mackerel and occasionally Wahoo. We fished with 3 live ballyhoos on the surface and one down deep. The water was about 120ft deep and we had not fished long when the deep line bent over and started pulling drag. We knew it was a good fish but it took a little bit of a fight to find out what kind. After about a 5-minute fight, we pulled up a beautiful 20lb Black Grouper. This fish ate 2 days too early. Grouper season ends tomorrow at midnight and doesn’t open until May 1st. If he had waited we would have had to release him. But not today. We had a few more bites we missed and saw a free jumping Sailfish and headed home happy. We got plenty of action on the Reef and caught our “Big” fish too!