If you have a hankering for a fresh Florida Keys fish dinner, head to the reef this week.
Yellowtail, mangrove and mutton snapper
The yellowtail snapper bite is excellent, with most fish caught at the deeper edge of the reef in the 65- to 90-foot depths.
Mixed in are copious amounts of large mangrove snapper. These are usually found under the schools of yellowtail. The most effective baits have been small live pinfish or large chunk baits, such as ballyhoo, fished on a ¼ to 3/8 ounce jighead.
A great alternative during the summer is night mangrove snapper fishing, which is producing good catches of large fish. The same venues will serve you well.
Mutton snapper are residing on the reef as well, but the larger specimens are being taken on the deep wrecks.
While you’re fishing the reef and wrecks, you can also target grouper. Large black grouper, and the occasional red, are making their way back to the docks with regularity.
Windy day options
Dolphin and blackfin tuna
Offshore, dolphin fishing remains about the same as we’ve seen all season, with most anglers catching schoolie size fish. The greatest success has been under weed lines and floating debris.
Blackfin tuna are biting at the humps, with lots of fish in the five- to ten-pound range. Anglers fishing deeper are being rewarded with larger fish in the 15-pound class.
The week’s best catches
The SeaSquared hosted lots of families last week
We fished the reef, the bay and my shark grounds. Our groups brought in limit catches of yellowtail, mangrove and mutton snapper as well as numerous black grouper and some bonus hogfish and porgy.
Denys Thevenot and his crew, from Ohio, caught and released several nurse and lemon sharks. The highlight of their outing was the seven-foot bull shark that circled the boat for about 90 minutes with its dorsal fin proudly displayed out of the water.