A strong Cold Front
Pushed through Key West on Sunday and Monday. Sunday was a good day to watch Football, not go fishing. The winds were blowing close to 30mph out of the South in the morning and then switched to 25-30 out of the Northwest with torrential rain in the afternoon. No place to hide from weather like that. We did try to tuck up tight to Key West on the South side on Monday. I was hoping the island would give us some protection from the wind and that the water would not be too muddy. I was wrong on both counts. 3-4 ft seas a mile off the beach and the water looked like milk. We fished with live bait for 4 hrs, had two bites, and caught one small shark before packing it in and calling it a day. It was worth trying, I have had excellent days in that spot. But on Monday, it was not worth staying. It just was not going to happen.
So today was the last day
for my customers. Day # 1 was Saturday. we tried the blue water for over 12 miles. It looked good, but not much was happening. We ended up on the reef and did put a nice catch together. Day #2 was Monday. A washout after a half-day. I guess you could say the pressure was on today for Day #3. The best fish we caught on Saturday was a really nice Mutton Snapper, so we decided to “think Pink” on day 3. Slow trolling live ballyhoo down deep in search of the prized Mutton Snapper. A Mutton Snapper is shallow water cousin to the Red Snapper. They don’t get quite as large, the biggest I have ever seen was 231/2 lbs. But they fight great, taste better, and most importantly, the season is open down here.
The live bait was fairly easy
and we were catching “keeper” yellowtail snappers while waiting on the bait, so we stayed a while even after the baitwell was full. Never leave fish to find fish. We got a few nice Cero mackerel and our first Mutton snapper while on anchor. but after a while, all the activity attracted a few sharks and the fishing slowed. So we pulled the anchor and started slow trolling. The water on the Reef was still pretty stirred up from the recent winds, but we did manage to catch two more Mutton Snappers slow trolling. Unfortunately, both were just short of legal, so back they went.
It appeared that the water on the “Bar”, that is the secondary outer reef, was a little cleaner than the water on the reef so I worked my way out to it. We got quite a few mackerel bites, but we were really trying for the Muttons. My 1st mate, Edward is really good at running the deep troll just above the bottom, and the Mutton Snapper find it hard to resist a lone, live ballyhoo down that deep. Ballyhoo live on the surface, so when one gets down deep by itself, it attracts the attention of larger predators.
We ended up getting 4 more nice Mutton Snappers to go with the “keeper” we caught on anchor. A total of 5 Keepers and some nice Yellowtail snappers and Cero Mackerels. It ended up to be a good day to “Think Pink”