Lesser winds translate into greater catches

KEYSINFONET CONTRIBUTORMay 28, 2014 

Jason Bell helps Janet and Tom, from Merritt Island, with a 30-pound African pompano Tom landed on the 'SeaSquared.'

SEASQUARED CHARTERS

Hear that? No, you don't -- because the wind has finally laid down. And it's a good thing because there are plenty of dolphin to be had. Slammers, gaffers and tons of schoolies are pouring through anywhere from the reef edge out to 30 miles.

There are some blackfin tuna mixed in. And if you're lucky enough to find a floater, you may also get a wahoo.

Mutton snapper fishing on the wrecks and rough bottom patches is really coming on strong. Most fish are in the 12- to 16-pound class, with a few even bigger. The wrecks are still holding amberjack, which always provide a great fight and are excellent on the smoker.

There's been a flurry of African pompano this past week in the Middle Keys. I know of at least three taken in the Marathon and Big Pine Key areas. As for yellowtail, it's been hit or miss on the reef. I suggest you start deep and look for bigger fish and then work your way up shallow until you find a school that is cooperative.

The bite for grouper remains good, with plenty of blacks on the reef and reds on the shallower patches.

The bridges are jam-packed with tarpon anglers; the bite is excellent and there are plenty of fish to go around. If you are visiting this week, I highly recommend you get in on this world-class fishery via the services of one of the many professional charter boat captains in the Keys.

The week's best catches

Simon Gervais from Albuquerque caught five tarpon one night and three the next using live bait and lost two using his fly rod. He was fishing at the Channel 2 bridge with Capt. Chuck Brodzki.

Capt. Ariel Medero of Big Game Sportfishing at The Hammocks in Marathon says the dolphin are here and they're big. Look for weed lines, frigate birds and floating debris and ballyhoo is the best bait. One of his junior anglers, Matthew, caught a beautiful 25-pound bull. Inshore, black grouper, nice-size mangroves and high-quality muttons are plentiful on the reefs and wrecks. And as far as tarpon fishing goes, he reports the hot bite is at Bahia Honda Bridge.

Tarpon continues to be the primary fishing for the SeaSquared crews. Our season record was recorded by the Deford group of four anglers from Maryland, who landed all five of the tarpon they hooked. We fish at Bahia Honda using live crabs. Our shark fishing adventures are increasing in numbers as we get into the summer season, with loads of lemon sharks providing entertainment. And our trips to the reef produced large muttons, some mangroves and a whopping 30-pound African pompano.

Also, Capt. Wayne Burri got a couple of offshore trips out for our customers, with nice-size dolphin to show for their efforts.

Capt. Moe Mottice, of Moe’s Custom Charters in Key West, found big dolphin up to 40 pounds along with wahoo and nice blackfins. Key West Harbor has been producing tarpon with snappers and sharks mixed in.

Capt. Chris Johnson is a member of the Yamaha National Fishing Team and specializes in offshore, gulf/bay, reef/wreck, sailfish, shark and tarpon fishing with SeaSquared Charters out of Porky’s Bayside Marina in Marathon. You can reach him at 743-5305, http://SeaSquaredCharters.com and http://Facebook.com/MarathonFishing    

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