As I begin my report, I want to warn anyone thinking of heading out to the coast this weekend to first go to the National Weather Service website for our area (for the latest update on our weather conditions. Then of seeing the effect of Hurricane Ian in our area, if anything). was learned, was that we cannot underestimate the forces of Mother Nature.
Before all this bad weather hit, the fishing had been excellent. During my last few charters and scouting trips, we had as many daytime catch and releases of snook inshore as you could wish for. Add large and small lamb snapper in water as deep as four feet. Then, offshore, my clients caught billfish, Spanish mackerel, and a good-sized Mahi Mahi. The entire offshore fleet saw great action.
Off Key Biscayne, starting in 40 feet of water, walleye to 10 pounds, Spanish mackerel and bonito were eating live pilchards, silver spoons, and Savage Gear baitfish lures. Go outside the outer reef and you can troll drone spoons, big hard plastic baits, and sea witches with a bonito strip. Attach these lures to a float and troll from 80 feet to 200 feet of water.
This way they are catching a lot of walleye, bonito, Spanish mackerel, barracuda, blackfin tuna, and a few wahoos. If you like to fly a kite and fish for ballyhoos, pilchards, glasses, and fin herring expect action from sailfish, dolphin, kings, and blackfin tuna. If dolphins are on your list, head offshore until you start seeing weedy rips, driftwood, terns, and frigatebirds. There have been many dolphins, in decent numbers and of good size. A few wahoos can be targeted under floating debris.
Bottom fishing has been good from 40 feet of water to 400 feet. In shallower water, expect yellowtail, mangrove, and lamb snapper to eat cut baits fished close to the bottom. In the deeper depths, good numbers of vermilion, yelloweye, and genuine red snapper are again being caught on cut baits such as squid, mullet, and bonito. Plenty of Almoco’s and Almoco’s are being caught on the deeper wrecks and hard bottom.
Again, check the marine weather forecast before going out to sea.
Stay safe and tight lines!