We have been fishing
mostly full day, (8hr), and 3/4 day, (6hr) trips lately. Mostly because Dolphin is the main target species this time of year and as the water gets warmer the fish move out deeper. It was only a half-day today,(4 hr), so we decided to stay inshore and just go for “action”. There was a little more breeze today and the waves were a little more sporty. Nothing really big, just 1-3 ft. it’s just that it’s been so calm the last few weeks, it seemed worse than it was. Nobody felt ill or anything like that. But we did get salt spray on the boat and it’s been a while since we’ve done that.
We were looking for anything that would bite today.
Not a particular fish of any kind. This time of year, bonitos are a favorite target fish for half-day trips. They pull very hard for their size and tend to bite well. Sometimes they are everywhere, sometimes they are all in a certain area or depth or even around a wreck. Today it took a little while to find them, but when we did, they bit well and they were good sized.
We trolled east to an area called the “Rubble”
about 7 miles south of Key West. It is an area where some construction debris was dumped about 30 years ago. It can be a good place to catch Tuna, wahoo, barracudas, and bonitos trolling and also a good place to drop a live bait for snapper, grouper, and amberjack. The “Rubble” gets fished by a lot of boats during the course of the year. Nowadays, all the local wrecks do. But we still get some quality fish on it from time to time.
Today, it was loaded with bonitos.
As soon as I trolled over it, we had 3 on. They were good-sized fish. 8-10 lbs. The kind of bonito that surprises my anglers when you swing it in the boat. They were usually expecting a much larger fish. Bonitos pull hard for their size.
We caught a bunch of bonitos
and released a few. I like to keep some for bait. The make a good cut bait for bottom fishing. We finished the day with a large Cero Mackerel. It was the last fish of the day. In the Keys, we get 3 different mackerel here. King, Spanish, and Cero. Most Floridians are familiar with the King and Spanish mackerel. They are caught throughout the state waters. But Cero is more of a tropical cousin. They don’t catch them often north of the Keys. That’s too bad because they are the best eating of all the mackerel. Firm white meat. They are not as big as a King mackerel. Cero mackerel only get up to about 12-13lbs. I believe 15+ is the world record, (caught in Key West), but like a bonito, they fight very hard for their size.
Bonitos for action and a big Cero for lunch. It was a fine Half-day today!