Happy New Year everyone; and, welcome to January 2011. I hope and pray that this year will be prosperous and peaceful for all. The season is off to a fabulous start already; beginning with the many cold fronts that have been pushing the usual winter suspects down from the north. The sailfish are swarming on the reef edge in 25-120 feet of water. We have been running the baitfish showers in shallow water early in the morning on every trip and getting 3-5 shots at sailfish. We are also starting to see King mackerel and Spanish mackerel close to shore in Hawk’s channel. The yellow tail snapper and mutton snapper are still going strong in the usual coral patches and reef stops too. Usually we can anchor and fish for everything at once by putting a kite up with a live blue runner and also by putting a large bait down on the bottom. We will also be yellow tail snapper fishing at the same time. Can 4 people fish all at once? Of course they can, and if you want all of them to be hooked-up at the same time, then we can go out to one of the humps and catch blackfin tuna, amber jacks, yelloweyes, and queen snappers. The humps have been un-touched by the fleet for months due to sailfish season and the fish are swarming! There have also been mahi mahi present on the heavy weed lines on the way out to the humps. If that was not enough, I have been catching huge wahoo and an occasional blue marlin too! The fishing is red hot right now. There has never been a better time to escape the cold north and come down to paradise and warm up those arms on a big game fish.
There is a familiar chill in the air…December is finally here! The numerous cold fronts coming down from the great north have been jump starting our winter fishery. The sailfish are in full swing as swarms of them are migrating down the reef edge. They have been feeding heavily on the scaled sardines or “pilchards” and also on the ballyhoo which have invaded the reef edge from the Gulf. Every cold front brings more baitfish and more hungry predators. King mackerel and wahoo have begun to hold on the wrecks and deep coral outcroppings on the reef edge. The Gulf of Mexico is packed with Spanish mackerel to 7 pounds along with bluefish, mangrove snappers, sea trout, king mackerel, black tip sharks, and cobia. We are catching 150-200 fish a trip in the Gulf! If you want to bend the rod…plan a trip to the Gulf. The reef edge is still holding large yellowtail snapper. We have been catching yellowtails and speedos at the start of every offshore day. When we are done we can head offshore to jig and deep drop or slow troll the edge for sails and kings. The offshore humps are still productive for black fin tuna and amberjack. Queen snapper and snowy grouper are also feeding closer to the pinnacles of the offshore humps too. We still have a few openings left during the Holidays. There are 2 solid weeks for vacations this year. If the cold is getting unbearable in the north, consider a nice tropical getaway in the Florida Keys. Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to everyone.