March fishing like a “box of chocolates” you never know what you may catch! post image

March is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you may catch. It is always a time of change here in the florida keys. Many different species will be migrating throughout our system, all of them desirable. It can be hard to choose what to fish for when so many species are present. I particularly like March because there are so many different options for success. If the wind is not right for sailfish, then usually it is great for mahi mahi which will most likely be only a few miles out from the typical sailfish haunts. If it is blowing too hard for the reef edge then one can easily run to the Gulf of Mexico for some fast action on one of the offshore wrecks catching cobia, Spanish mackerel, snappers, and sharks to name a few. One may also encounter permit or a huge king mackerel at this time of year. The usual groups of goliath grouper will also be fired up and ready to pin an unsuspecting angler to the gunwhale.

A first-timer is the most fun. I always start out by telling him to make sure he does not drop my thousand dollar rod and reel (this always gets his attention). Then I have him put a large dead bait on the bottom. Most of the time the guy never knows what hit him as a big goliath inhales the bait and then heads for the nearest cover. If the tide is wrong, that may be under the boat and around the corner. This always ends up bad for the poor guy as he is trying to look cool and composed in front of his family and at the same time he is doing his level best not to drop the thousand dollar rod and reel! Of course the drag will be locked up in the full strike position putting out around 40 pounds of drag. After a short but extremely intense fight, the giant grouper is floating alongside for photos. Too bad we probably wont take any because about this time a pack of cobias will “pop” up behind the goliath and all hell will break loose. This stuff is way too much fun!

The great news is that this is our plan b if the weather doesn’t cooperate; if it does then we will most likely be out on the hump beating the tunas and amberjacks away with a stick and looking for mahi mahi or high speed trolling for wahoo. If you still have not had enough, then we could stop on the reef edge and catch king mackerel up to 40 pounds and limits of yellowtail snappers. Of course, there are the few days where the wind is just right and the sailfish will be “tailing” on the color changes to the southwest. If you hit it just right you may have the best sail fishing day of your life. If this sounds over-the-top, it is just another day here in Islamorada Florida, the sport fishing capitol of the world!


February fishery with Capt Petrucco offshore humps post image

We have been enjoying a fantastic February fishery. The big story has been the fishing on the offshore humps. They are swarming with Black fin tunas and huge amberjacks. The bite has been on squid so the high speed jigs have been incredible. We have been catching fish as fast as you can reel all day long! The amberjacks are moving in early to spawn this year. They have been running from 40-120 pounds. There have been many fish in the 60 pound class with several over 80 including a 120 pound monster! Try reeling one of these bad boys into the boat. They may be the strongest fish that swims.

The sailfish are ever present this time of year and readily available. I have been catching them from pickles reef to Tennessee reef on the way in from the humps. This year has also been incredible for king mackerel. The last few days have seen the best king fishing ever! It has been easy to catch and release as many as 50 kings in a day! I have been casting top water plugs to them and watching them skyrocket. Let me tell you, if that won’t get your blood pumping, nothing will; accept, maybe hooking a triple header on wahoo while high speed trolling. That has been awesome too. This month will be the peak of the wahoo migration in the keys. The best times will be the days closer to the full moon. The fishing has never been better here in the keys. Plan your fishing trip of a lifetime now. I have many openings still for February and March. Don’t miss out, it really is on fire!


Winter Wahoo bite is on Capt Joe Petrucco Islamorada Fishing Guide! post image

Wahoo! The wahoo fishing is the best I have ever seen it! I have been crushing the wahoos this year both here fishing in Islamorada and fishing in Bimini. Every trip out has been great with double and triple headers. The fish have been running from 35-50 pounds with some larger specimens up to 65 pounds. I have been high-speed trolling for most of them with artificial lures. Nothing compares to having three 50 pound wahoos all hooked up at once with the reels screaming! It is my favorite thing to do! It is also a great diversion between sailfish spots. I hopscotch up and down the reef looking for sailfish while trolling for wahoo. Usually we catch both along with king mackerel up to 40 pounds.

The snapper fishing is always incredible in Bimini either for yellowtails in the shallows or silk and queen snappers in the deep. The occasional large misty or snowy grouper also livens things up for the angler wondering why his queen snapper is pulling so hard!

We still have been catching the odd school of mahi mahi coming and going on our crossings. Some of them have been nice fish in the 15-20 pound range.


Fall Wahoo Fishing Florida Keys post image

Hi Everyone! This fall has seen some tremendous wahoo fishing in Bimini and Islamorada. We have enjoyed many trips with wahoo, grouper, mahi mahi, tuna, and sailfish. Of course, the Yellowtail snapper fishing has also been stellar. We have spent a great deal of time fishing in Bimini this fall. If you are interested in going over and doing this we certainly can!!! Please call and inquire as to what your dream may be and we can make it happen. I have been learning the waters off of Bimini and Cay Sal with great success. I have also been learning the ins and outs of the land too and have a great plan for any budget as well as some good friends abroad to make any stay memorable and pleasant.

As for Islamorada, the sailfish and mahi mahi have taken center stage. The fall fishery has been far better than the spring this year with plenty of tuna on the humps too! The reef edge is teaming with bait and also hungry predators. As usual, it is on fire! We have been having a ball “catching”!

The gulf of mexico is starting to see the annual runs of Spanish mackerel, cobia, and sharks so there is always something fun to do even if the wind does not cooperate.

Typical trips consist of 50-100 mackerel a day. This can be affected by the cold fronts as everything is dependant upon temperature. On the cold days, we go patch fishing where the cold water meets the warmer offshore water. This is great fun too and usually we catch many “eating” quality fish for dinner. Hogfish, patch yellowtails, patch groupers, cero mackerel, and a variety of others are always present. When it calms down in the afternoon, we net a few ballyhoo and then chase after a sailfish or a big king mackerel on the reef. The winter fishery is here along with wonderful temperatures and huge gamefish like sailfish and wahoo! Come on down and have some fun!!


Tarpon Fishing Florida Keys is On! post image

The Tarpon fishing was fantastic last month but an early cold front brought the fishing to a close as most of the tarpon have migrated to warmer climes. With this cold weather the wahoo bite has really turned on. Both in Bimini and here in Florida the wahoo have been red hot. I have been fishing them with mostly lures and high-speed trolling. The tuna and mahi are still coming in strong in the hump areas. I’m not sure how long it will last but I love it! The fishing has been excellent as many different species from both summer and winter have been inhabiting our waters. We have been catching sailfish, tuna, wahoo, and dolphin on every trip! It doesn’t get any better for the person wanting a variety. The bottom fishing for groupers and snappers has also been particularly good with flag yellowtail and red grouper dominating the reef edge. I’m having too much fun! Leave those deer alone and come down and join me for some super fast action on the water.


Tuna and Mahi catch with Capt Petrucco Charter Fishing! post image

I have been concentrating mostly on tuna and mahi fishing on the humps. It has been on fire! Multiple hook-ups on the blackfins are coming with either high-speed jigs or live pilchards. Trolling the feathers has actually been catching some nicer fish lately too. I troll up until we get a double header, then I drift down and catch two or three more with the jigs and livies. Before long, we are loaded down with tunas. Then we will go a little further out and look for mahi mahi under the birds and debris in the weed lines. The live baits like ballyhoo have been best for this. If you want to catch alot of mahi mahi, then now is a great time to come down. October has been the best month the past two years for dolphin. I wonder if this trend will continue.

The tarpon bite on the full moon is off the charts as usual. This year we targeted them with poppers. On our best night, we landed 17 silver kings on light spinning tackle and plugs. Of course the best way to catch them is on live bait. I have had many 30 plus fish nights this time of year!


Humps on FIRE!  Blackfin Tuna Ruling Offshore Grounds! post image

The humps are on fire! Blackfin tuna are ruling the offshore grounds in Islamorada. All of the humps are swarming with 6-18 pound tunas. They are hungry for live cigar minnows, sardines, and pilchards. We have also been catching fish on the high-speed jigs as well as trolling feathers too. If artificial lures are your thing, you can cast plugs to hungry tunas with the “popping” rods too! Along with the tuna, there have been many days filled with schoolie and gaffer sized mahi mahi. They have been patrolling the weed edges and feeding on the myriad of blue runners hiding under the “matts” of weeds.

In a little closer to the reef, the deep ledges have been holding vermillion and yellow eyed snappers. They are accompanied by mutton snappers and red groupers. We have not had a trip this month that we have not caught at least one keeper red grouper. There are also large black grouper, king mackerel, sailfish, and cobia working the same edges, so you never really know what exactly it is you are reeling in until your finished! I have been using light 12-20 pound Key Largo Rods with Avet sx reels and 30 pound leaders. It is a great fight to reel up a big grouper on light tackle in 225 feet of water!

The fall season is going to break open soon in Bimini for wahoo and other pelagics. Of course the snapper and grouper fishing is always stellar on the “other side” too! If you are interested in planning an adventure in the bahamas, give me a call and we can discuss your desires. The fishing is fantastic right now, don’t miss out!


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