Baitfish energizing the backcountry – FlKeysNews.com
I do not know about you, but I for one am very glad the election is behind us. Now we can all finally come together and concentrate on some truly great fishing happening both offshore and in the backcountry.
A windy start to the week is about the only thing anglers had to complain about, with an abundance of bait easily available there are lots of options.
Offshore, the edge of the reef line has been the place to be with big schools of bait attracting lots of sailfish in 110 to 150 feet. Pretty much the main attraction for anglers offshore, the sailfish bite remains strong with most boats returning to the dock while flying multiple release flags daily. Along with the sails have been mixed numbers and sizes of dolphin, blackfin tuna, skipjack tunas, bonito and kingfish, mostly caught with live baits while targeting sailfish. The humps continue to hold lots of blackfin and skipjack tuna 5 to 20 pounds, which has been great. However, the sharks also know this, making for some frustrated anglers looking to fill their coolers. Be prepared.
Capt. Chan Warner and his crew aboard the Gulfstream party boat out of Key Largo started off the week with a strong yellowtail bite while fishing in 130 feet. As the week continued, they started catching more and more mutton snappers along with the tails while fishing cut bait like speedos, ballyhoo and squid on or close to the bottom. During the windier days, they picked up a few black grouper in addition to the yellowtails while fishing in 75 feet over good structure.
Those with smaller boats choose to stay in a little closer and fish the shallower patch reefs (15 to 40 feet) with great success. They’re reporting good amounts of mutton snappers 2-10