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High winds and rough seas dominated the scene again this week, however; the conditions were still fishable throughout much of the week. The sailfish have vanished for now but should reappear very soon. Keep an ear out for them as the month progresses. We have not seen the last of them yet. The main target this week for most offshore ventures was mahi mahi or yellowtail snappers. Both were feed ing well and present in good numbers. The patches and reef edge both have been great for the snapper bite. The dirty water on the patches have been excellent for “keeper” tails with a mix of small grouper, hogfish, porgies and cero mackerel. This makes for a great half-day trip in calmer waters. The mahi mahi were moving through in close from 150-300 feet of water. Numerous debris/weed lines have been making their way up the reef in the moderate current. White terns and gulls have been working these edges and ganging up above schools of mahi mahi tailing down the heavy seas. Live baits have been the key to getting these finicky eaters hooked-up. Plenty of ballyhoo have been present at the usual spots. All that is required is a block of chum and some small hair hooks with a piece of cut bait. Head over to World Wide Sportsman at mm81 and ask the guys behind the counter to show you the hair hooks and how to use them. They will be happy to assist you in any way and get you out “catching”. They can also help out with any other tackle or fishing related questions. They are very knowledgeable and friendly, always willing to spend time with you to help. The Gulf of Mexico has been fantastic for Spanish mackerel and blacktip sharks. Cobia and goliath grouper have also been present on the wrecks out in 20-40 feet of water. As the water temps go up in the coming week, the fishing should spark up so plan on spending a day in the gulf “catching” this week. Don’t let the high winds scare you off the water. The fishing remains great and plenty of good opportunities abound for the coming week. Head on down to your favorite marina and book that charter for your trip of a lifetime! Come on down to Fiesta Key Marina at mm70 and look me up in paradise! We have plenty of openings and would love to get out “catching”!

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This has been a windy week for the most part with lots of big seas and rough days. The sailfish have been very slow with only a few odd releases reported during the week. Do not dismay however; as the sailfish season is not over yet. In the next month we should see the sailfish fire up again on the color changes near Alligator and Tennessee. For now, the best fishing seems to be for mahi mahi. Many gaffer and schoolie sized fish were moving through our waters. The fish seemed to be concentrated from 150-350 feet of water. The 600 foot zone was also productive for dolphin throughout the week. The mahi mahi were somewhat picky preferring live offerings like cigar minnows and ballyhoo. I managed to catch a few on chunks and dead baits however; the live bait was obviously a better choice. The tip-off was to keep a watchful eye out for birds working the edges near weeds or a current seem. Every mahi mahi I found had birds present. The king mackerel have been lurking on the various wrecks from Pickles down to Tennessee from 85 feet to 160 feet of water. Live offerings down deep with wire and a dropper loop or downrigger were the best bet. Almost anywhere you go on the reef, king mackerel are present. My largest king this week was 37 lbs, and fell victim to a live ballyhoo on #6 wire. I have been using 12 and 15 pound main lines with 25 or 30 lb leader with much success. I think the lighter line is drawing more strikes. Try it out and see if this will work for you.

Tunas have been good on the humps with feathers and various artificials working well every day we got out. Most of the fish are in the 4-8 lb range with some 12-15 lb fish mixed in. The amberjacks have been very slow on the humps. The annual spawn has been delayed by the recent cold fronts. They will be swarming soon so get your big stuff ready. I like my Avet 30/02 reels for this fishery. They pull as hard as the toughest jack and stand up to repeated punishment. Spool up with 65 lb magibraid from World Wide Sportsman and you are good to go. If you need a rod, head over to see Rick at Key Largo Rods and have him make a special rod for you or pick one off of the shelf. I can assure you that his rods will stand up to the punishment the big aj’s are about to dish out. Not many other rods can do this. I found out the hard way that not all rods are made the same. Rick builds a rod the way it should be — to last the long haul.   He will not cut corners when he puts a “stick” together.  The end result is a product that will whoop fish after fish for many years to come. If it fails, you get a new one no questions asked.

Get ready for another great week here in Islamorada.

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