August 16, 2017
It’s been a pretty good summer in both the fishing and business sense. We’ve been running 6-9 trips most weeks and there have been a good, but not great, number of dolphin offshore. On Half days, we’ve had great action with big Bonitos, a (very) few Dolphin and an occasional Wahoo inshore.
We caught the largest Wahoo I’ve ever caught as Captain on July 16th on a half day trip. Adam Banks is my 1st mate and he did a great job on the fish. It was 76 lbs. It’s the 3rd Wahoo I’ve had on board in the 70+lb range. I also have a 72 lb’er caught with Paul Murdoch as 1st mate and a 74 lb’er caught with Dan Smith as 1st mate. All three big Wahoo’s were caught in relatively shallow water. This one was in 109 ft of water just outside the reef. The other 2 were in 180 ft of water or less. All 3 were caught in the same area, between the reef known as the 9 Ft Stake and the reef known as the Toppino marker and all in the middle of the summer. I can’t remember if the 72 & 74 lb’ers were females or not, but this 76 lb’er was. I have to think that area may have some significance as a spawning area…or it’s just coincidence. 3 big fish is too small a sample to make a definitive study, but I will continue to work that area in the summer months just in case.
On longer trips, we’ve been heading offshore and most days catching enough to make it a good day. There was not a lot of Sargasso Weed around through most of July, but early August made up for that with a tremendous weed line that passed through the keys. We fished the same weed line for 8-9 days with a 2+kt current. That means the weed line was probably over 400 miles long. It’s amazing when you think about it. Although there was not a tremendous amount of big dolphin, there was a great number of school sized fish which makes for steady action and a great day.
The early part of the summer there was an unusually large number of Marlin seen and hooked offshore. I had high hopes this would make this years KW Marlin Tournament one of the better tournaments of recent years, but unfortunately the marlin fishing tapered off just before the tournament and the winner caught the only marlin that was caught in the tournament. I was not in the Tournament and I guess I’m glad. We fished most of the days of the tournament with just regular customers and none of the pressure of looking for a fish that, it turned out, wasn’t around. I generally stay out of the tournaments and I think I’ll continue to do so. Lots more stress that I can live without putting myself and 1st. mate through.
There have been some Sailfish still around. No rhyme or reason to where. Just got to get lucky and drive over one. We have released a few in the last couple weeks.
The kids go back to school soon. Locally I think they start tomorrow and I’m sure they start soon in the rest of Fla. and other states. Generally, that means a slowdown for business. This year is no different. We fished 8 trips last week, we only have 3 scheduled this week. That’s OK, as I have plenty to catch up on at home and on the boat. For one thing, it gives me time to update the web page and this fishing report. Unfortunately, even though business slows up a bit, it doesn’t mean the fishing drops off.
Late August to early September it’s not unusual to get a late summer “push” of dolphin. There are not a lot of customers around to catch them, but those that are here usually have good catches.
OFFSHORE: Weather and the fish have been cooperating in the waters off Key West. Inshore there has been fantastic action for those people choosing a half day trip with more Bonitos being caught than most people can handle. Bonitos are a member of the Tuna family but unfortunately are not considered good table fare. Fortunately, they do pull and fight hard just like the more edible tunas do. They have been making the shorter trips great fun with non-stop action
There have been a few “keeper” dolphin caught inshore among the Bonitos as well as an occasional Black Fin Tuna and some nice Cero Mackerel and King fish. The nice thing about this is that we usually get enough “dinner” fish to go with the non- stop action
OFFSHORE: Still some Mahi or Dolphin around. Mostly the school sized fish, but enough to keep customers happy on 3/4 and full day trips. A couple boats still finding the occasional big Bull or Cow out near the wall or around debris. Not much weed being found so most of the fish are under birds.
Blue and White Marlin have been hooked/caught/seen in unusually large numbers for this area. Great to see this level of activity. The upcoming KW Marlin Tournament should be excellent this year. The Southbound is not entered, but I’m looking forward to seeing the results
So far, it’s been a much better Dolphin season than last year. Some big fish being caught and plenty of school-sized fish around both inshore and offshore. Hopefully, it will continue through the summer