We had a full day trip today.
Our target species was Dolphin and it was good fishing today. I know most of the best fishing has been out deep lately. 750 ft of water or deeper. I figured if we were going for Dolphin there was no need to spend time inshore looking for a couple of bites. So I ran out about 15 miles before we put our lines in. It was very quiet at first. I trolled south looking for anything to fish. Sargassum weed, Debris or “working” birds, but for the first 5 miles we didn’t see anything worth turning the boat around for.
Honestly, I was worried because it was slick calm.
No wind, no waves at all. The problem you have when it gets THAT calm is that you cannot see any weed on the water. When you have a little breeze the areas of weed will look calmer than the rest of the ocean. The weed has a calming effect and makes a slick where the weed is. If there is no wind or waves, everything is slick and you cannot tell where the weed is. Not until you are right on top of it. Also, a lot of times you will spot debris as it pops up on a wave. When it is extremely calm, some pieces of debris are hard to see. We were going deep and I was still hoping for good fishing today, only time would tell
So, I was starting to get a little nervous as we got out to the “Wall”.
That is an area about 17 miles south of Key West. It’s where the bottom drops from about 850 ft to around 1500 ft in about a 1/4 mile. Most of the best fishing has been either just inside or just outside the wall over the last week or so. I had hoped to get some bites before it dropped off, but that didn’t happen. I had not seen any birds or debris and very little sargassum weed. Finally, as we got out to about 1,400 ft of water I found just a little bit of weed lined up to the west. It wasn’t much, but it was more than anything else I had found so I decided to follow it.
We had not gone far
when I looked up and saw a couple of wakes from fish swimming just below the surface. THAT is one of the few benefits of it being so calm. You can see the disturbance a fish leaves if it is swimming near the surface. We trolled toward the wakes and I could see a couple of dolphin in the water as we passed them. One of the lines went down and we were hooked up!
The first fish was a bull dolphin about 10-12 lbs.
A nice gaffer! As soon as we boated it we turned back to where we hooked it to see if the others were there. I could see 2 more smaller dolphin in the water and as I passed them we hooked up again. To our surprise, it was a nice sized bull. Bigger than the one we had just caught and much bigger than the 2 I saw swimming. The Bull was close to 25 lbs and we were on him for a while. As I mentioned the seas were calm, but there was some strong east current offshore. We drifted close to a mile and a half while fighting the big bull dolphin.
We went back to where we first hooked
up after boating the big Bull, but there were no more fish there. I decided to work west along the “Wall”. My plan was to just zig-zagging on and off the edge. None of the other boats were catching much so I figured I would stay in that depth to see if there might be some more bites to be had. After about 2 miles of going west, I saw a large branch floating on the water about 200 yds ahead of me. It was about 6 ft long.
We found some nice fish
on just a little bit of sargassum weed earlier, so I figured, there should be some fish on a big piece of debris such as this. I was right. There were 4 nice dolphin on the branch. We caught 3 and jumped off the 4th. Earlier in the season, there would probably be more fish on a piece of debris such as this, but it’s late in August and we put 3 more nice fish in the box so no complaints. We were having some good fishing today
It was getting around the time
when we start working our way back toward Key West so I headed North West hoping for more dolphin or maybe some Tuna. We had not gone far when we saw some birds “working” the water. As soon as we got close to the birds, we hooked 4 more “schoolie” sized dolphin.
Those were the last fish of the day.
Soon after we picked up our lines and started running toward the dock with a nice catch of Dolphin. We found fish on birds, on Debris, and on some sargassum weed today. We didn’t find a lot, but everything we found, held fish. Some boats struggled, but we had good fishing today. We had two brothers originally from Central Florida, and now living in separate states, getting together to hang with each other. More people should do this. I know work and life gets in the way and time flies, but you should always make time for family AND for fishing!