Our summer season is pretty much over. The kids have gone back to school or will very soon and the weekday boat traffic lightens up. Despite it being Hurricane Season, this is my personal favorite time to fish in the Florida Keys!
I always tell it like it is when it comes if the Florida Keys Fishing reports especially when it comes to dolphin (mahi mahi) fishing. During the month of July in the Florida Keys we typically see spectacular weather.
The seas can often be flat calm which is great for offshore dolphin fishing. But the weather and the dolphin fishing was very inconsistent through July so I did not take many clients offshore dolphin fishing.
Now the tide has shifted and we are having that spectacular weather. For the most part the seas have been flat in the Florida Keys and the dolphin have showed up in good numbers with some big fish mixed in.
Dolphin fishing requires a booking a 7 hour charter, the cost of that trip is $800.00. It takes about 45-50 minutes to reach the dolphin fishing grounds on this trip if the weather is nice. I do not charge extra for fuel. Most charters in Islamorada are hitting clients with fuel charges for dolphin fishing now. Read the fine print and make sure you ask the Captain this before booking with him. Live bait is included on this trip if there are no issues with bait. I make no guarantees I can get it, but on most trips I do have it. I do not spend your valuable fishing time catching bait. Time is crucial. I am doing my best to get clients on fish quickly which means running at top speed out to the fishing grounds so I can effectively fish the peak bite times.
I fished for 3 days straight for dolphin and on average caught 6-10 large gaffers and slammer size dolphin per trip and threw back over 100 fish. I do not keep the small fish like other charters. If we waste time catching small fish you lose out the time targeting the big ones and that is the honest truth. Clients that stuck with my plan were well rewarded with nice fish with really nice meat yields. The smaller fish are really skinny right now with very little meat on them. I do make it part of my mission as a captain to respect the environment so we can all fish for many years to come!
I will not travel offshore on half days to go dolphin fishing. Clients must book a 7 hour day or a 9 Hour day.
Also once we are offshore, we are offshore. I do not do any reef fishing on these trips. We may hit a deep wreck or deep drop, but no anchoring or chumming. You must have patience when we go offshore to hunt for dolphin, if you don’t feel you have the patience for offshore fishing, then I would recommend reef or wreck fishing, as the action will keep you catching on most days.
The reef fishing has been OK, but I would not recommend reef fishing right now. It is not my favorite time of year to reef fish. Why? Because it is super hot and the fish are not there or just not biting. Would you eat in 100 degree heat? Typically this time of year I am drift fishing the deeper reefs for Mutton Snappers and Red Groupers, then targeting Yellow Eye Snappers and Vermilion Snappers on half days.
If we have a nice day and sea conditions are right will I run to the Islamorada Hump on half days to go to Black Fin Tuna fishing.
Our new Rhodan 120volt trolling motor combined with our Seakeeper is the ultimate offshore fishing experience when it comes to dolphin fishing. I can troll the boat with a hand held remote keeping dolphin behind the boat tracks on auto pilot while my clients cast to the fish. It’s incredible! Our Seakeeper keeps my clients stable, it is like fishing on dock offshore. When we get on the dolphin we are catching them in good numbers with no fishing mate or tower.
The other day it was an awesome morning offshore. The ocean had that grease calm flat. Then I noticed all the big sport fishers and large center consoles (including the big catamarans style boats which are now here in numbers) fishing the Islamorada hump were rocking “side to side”. My clients thought we were just naturally stable as they did not believe the Seakeeper worked. So I shut the Seakeeper off. He believed me when our boat began violently rocking side to side in the ocean current and with a push of a button the “rock and roll” instantly stops. I am very lucky and blessed to have a Seakeeper installed for my clients. Even in calm conditions Seakeeper makes huge difference, not to mention it works very well when trolling and underway! Contact me if you are interested in more details.
Thank you for taking the time and reading my fishing report.
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Good Karma Sportfishing