Fishing has been worthy of giving thanks – FlKeysNews.com
Our days are getting shorter as we look forward to Thanksgiving in about a week. I think sunset is somewhere around 5 o’clock now. Air and water temperatures are dropping consistently around recent cold fronts, which usually brings a welcomed shift in the fall.
A wide variety of bait fish are still on the move. A plethora of activity abounds offshore of the Upper Keys as well as in the backcountry. Offshore there were dolphin, but not enough of them to really warrant a detailed plan for a big day of trolling. More like one here one there on the way to or from a spot.
At the edge of the reef, there were some nice king mackerel caught by anglers slow trolling the live bait (cigar minnows) both close to the bottom and at the surface out of the outriggers in about 135 feet of water. Reports were good for kings in the 25-pound range at many of the 140-foot range wrecks. King mackerel and sailfish can be found in the same depths of water near the reef during October and November as cold fronts begin to reach south Florida.
Yellowtail and mutton snapper bit in the chum slicks when the current was running anywhere from 60 to 100 feet of water last week. As is usually the case, the dirtier the water, the better they bit. Captain Carlos Jimenez and other local skippers found some jumbo black grouper off the Upper Keys last week. Some were recorded up to 30 pounds.
Well offshore there were a handful of swordfish taken over the last couple of weeks. They did keep a decent one that weighed about 125 pounds aboard the Catch 22 charter boat. I understand Capt Tred Barta dropped his bait down deep for swords fishing with Capt.