Spring and summer fishing in the Florida Keys is probably some of the best fishing in the world. Whether your game is inshore or offshore, both offer anglers with a multitude of species to target. I for one live for this time time of year. It is, in my opinion, some of the most fun and exciting bluewater fishing you can find. Multitudes of species are all within range for most boats which makes for less running time and more fishing time. For me, there is one species that is always a favorite to target; Big Mahi-Mahi
For years I have always thought of Dolphin fish as some kind of ravenous alien species of fish. I’m not sure if it’s because of their vibrant colors, their voracious feeding habits, or just the true shape of the bodies (especially the bulls), but probably all of these. They are fast, strong, and without a doubt delicious. Even smaller fish can test the arms of many anglers, and are very fun to catch on light tackle. One of the largest Mahi that I have landed weighed over 60 pounds and was caught on 20lb spinning tackle. Now that was a fight! That fish also helped my Outer Limits team and I win the Dolphin Masters Invitational. Their long shape and tall body enables them to turn themselves to the side making it very hard to move these fish closer.
Though these fish can be caught year round in the Keys, the best time of year is spring and summer. Most days our boats will be out anywhere from 200 to 3000 feet of water in search of weed lines, flotsam, birds, and bait, all of which hold schools of Mahi. Many of the larger bulls and cows travel in groups of 2 or more pairs and can be found more often under Frigate birds chasing flying fish. Many methods of catching these fish can work such as live baiting, trolling, and chumming, and we usually do all three. Trolling however is one of the best methods in my opinion, mainly because you are covering plenty of ground yet still fishing the whole time. Many of the larger fish we catch come from “out of the blue”, basically not near any active spot so to speak like around a piece of debris or under birds, but just crossing paths with our baits. Many days these highly migratory species can travel as much as 30 or more miles, so every day new fish are moving through.
Make sure you are geared up for the upcoming months because the Mahi bite is going to be a great one. Give us a call 305-923-1043 and let some of the best in the business put you on some big Dolphin this summer
Another amazing day offshore on the Outer Limits is logged in the book once again. This time our good buddy John from northern Pennsylvania, did all the arm work. During his “Spring Break” week down in Key West, John experienced some of the finest offshore fishing that the Keys has to offer. From Sailfish to Tripletail, the spectrum was covered. Being no stranger to Keys fishing, John has seen the best and worst of what the ocean and weather can offer, however his fishing trip this year was as good as it gets for a few days.
First, the fun started with some light tackle kite fishing for Sailfish. Not but just a few minutes with live baits in the water and we were hooked up. After releasing a few Sailfish, the rods bent over with drag screaming from other species. Kingfish, Dolphin, and Bonitos were all working around the same area as the Sailfish, and were regular visitors to our baits. A handful of releases and another handful that we jumped off, plus a few nice Mahi-Mahi for the table, and we went home with heads high.
The next trip out just a few days later was a slightly different approach although the players were still in the game. We decided to do some trolling in hopes to cover some water and focus on catching Wahoo and Tuna. As these species are constantly on the move, trolling offers a chance at “heading them off at the pass”, so to speak. No sooner than the baits were put in the water were were getting bites. Over the next few hours, a plethora of Blackfin Tuna, Mahi, and Kingfish were in the box, then the fun really started. The Wahoo and Tuna were going airborne. Every mile or so one, if not more of these two tough competitors were literally coming out of the water after our baits. The action was awesome, to say the least. By the end of the day, John had tired arms and some great memories for sure.
A beautiful couple of days offshore, and some amazing fishing… what could be better?
Here are some of our clients’ recent memorable catches from some great fishing trips lately. Hope to see you in one of these photos very soon! Call Captain Jay @ 305-923-1043
Lindsey had the fight of her life with this nice Wahoo
This stubborn Sailfish made Ricky put in some work!
Almost lest than perfect conditions had been the norm. for the last few days, yet finally the forecast called for 15 knots, which was going to be somewhat of a break from the consistent 20+ knots of gusty winds in the last few weeks. The beginning of the trip for our Ohio crew started with some reef fishing, but first we needed to catch some bait. Within a half hour or so and a couple throws of the cast net, we had a well full of live ballyhoo. The reef has many visitors through ought the winter, most of whom rely on the ballyhoo for a substantial food source. Fish like Mackerels, Grouper, Kingfish, Jacks, and Barracuda all feed on them, but the one fish that seems to be a true sucker for for a ballyhoo is the Mutton Snapper. The reef had met us with crystal clear water which gives most fish an advantage of better eyesight, thus making for some very weary fish, yet the live bait prevailed. The fish were hungry, let’s just say that every bait that went out, was a bite. Now, with some nice fish in the ice box, and many others released, we set out to deeper water in hopes of a Sailfish.
Kite fishing for Sailfish can be one of the most visually exciting techniques of fishing for bluewater species. By holding the bait on the surface of the water, just deep enough for the bait to create a wake, this method of fishing brings in all sorts of bluewater predators, who attack the bait on the top of the water for everyone to see. However, when there is nobody who wants to eat our pilchards or ballyhoo we switched gears and moved.
After just a few minutes of putting lines back in we were hooked up to two Blackfin Tuna, then again, and again. We were in the tuna pretty good. These little 10-20 pound balls of muscle are always a fun fight! A few more went into the ice, and our crew decided to call it a day. Once back at the dock, and the fish filleted, the Boathouse, as always prepared the catch perfectly. Literally, just steps away from the boat and minutes after it left the cleaning table, a beautiful presentation of fried Mutton Snapper and seared blackened Tuna was set before our crew. Now thats what I call great end to a good day!
While fishing with her husband Glenn aboard the Outer Limits, Sissy bested a 25 inch, 5 lb. Yellowtail Snapper on a live Ballyhoo. The pair had a plethora of fish thru ought the day, including; Mackerel, Jacks, Muttons, Groupers, all along with a dozen big Barracuda releases. Fishing is starting to get hot!!