Banner reef action – Florida Keys Weekly Fishing Report – July 14, 2010

Florida Keys Weekly Fishing Report – July 14, 2010 – This year may just go down in the record books for the banner reef action we’ve been enjoying.

Abundant Snapper and Grouper

There are abundant yellowtail, mangrove and mutton snapper in 60 to 80 feet of water.  A variety of cut baits plus small, live pinfish will do the trick.

Good numbers of grouper are cruising the bottom in the same depths.  You will have success with any large baits, such as grunts, blue runners or speedos.

The wrecks and artificial reefs are holding nice size mutton snapper.  I’ve had reports of muttons up to 20 pounds, but the majority of the fish are in the 12- to 14-pound class.  Live ballyhoo, pinfish or cigar minnows are the baits of choice.

Amberjack

There are also still plenty of amberjack on the higher profile wrecks.  I recommend a Tsunami speed jig to get these bruisers to the boat.  AJ’s make an excellent base for smoked fish dip, a perennial Florida Keys favorite.

Offshore fishing remains a struggle

The good news and bad news about dolphin fishing is there are lots and lots of fish, but 99% of them are undersize.  Tuna fishing at the humps is on again, off again with mostly small, 5- to 10-pound football blackfins being caught.

Snapper fishing at night

Nighttime fishing for yellowtail and mangrove snapper is red-hot, and it takes no time at all to limit out.  Keep in mind these snapper are spawning, so take only what you’ll use and leave the rest.

Live pinfish or pilchards will attract the largest of the mangroves, while chunk ballyhoo or chunk sardines are yellowtail candy.

Patch reefs

During the day, the patch reefs are producing nice mangrove snapper plus plentiful 13- to 14-inch yellowtails.  Use the same baits as you would on the reef.

Backcountry flats

The backcountry flats are permit central these days.  There are tarpon there also, as well as some 40- to 50-pounders at the bridges.

Shark fishing

Shark fishing remains excellent, with the channels and banks overflowing with lemon and blacktip sharks upward of 7 feet and longer.

The week with SeaSquared Charters

The SeaSquared kicked off the week with a shark trip for Kerry Colvett and her teenage sons, Kent and Grant Ward.  They first caught some mangrove snapper for dinner before catching and releasing 8 lemon sharks.  A 4-foot barracuda added to the action.

I spent the rest of the week snapper and grouper fishing on the reef.  Clients included the Hall family from Orange Park FL, Chuck and Lily Perrone from Long Island, Karen and Tom Winfield from Windermere Florida, the Kiwor family from Littletree CO and the Roberts family from Plant City FL.

The trips produced yellowtails from 20 to 26 inches, mangrove snapper up to 5 pounds, black grouper from 10 to 22 pounds, a 7-pound yellowfin grouper and a couple of yellow jack.

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