We here at the Outer Limits and the MrZ on Memorial Day, would like to first off give our deepest gratitude to all the men and women service members, both at home and abroad, who gave the ultimate sacrifice so that all of those who live in the United States of America can live in freedom. We also would like to send out our deepest sympathy to all who have lost a friend or loved one who was in service. If you live in the USA, the rights and liberties that many people take for granted are only given to you because of those who fought and died to protect those rights and liberties. So on this day of remembrance for those fallen, as many celebrate their day off from work, or the BBQ, or whatever else they do, take some time out of your day and give thanks for those, who gave their life so that we can live as free individuals. Thank You and God Bless America
Look out, spring is almost over and summer time is just around the corner. Unless you live in one of the many places of the world that are getting snow still at this time. Sorry about that. You should set a thaw out date and come to Key West and take advantage of some great fishing the month of May has to offer. Mahi, Marlin, Sailfish, Grouper, Snapper, and Tarpon are just a handful of names that top the list.
The Mahi-Mahi bite has just started to come into full swing as of the last few days. We haven’t yet seen a big push of large Bulls and Cows as of lately, but there are good numbers of schoolies offshore, mainly under birds and flotsam. Look for the bigger fish to make their annual appearance very soon. Lures and baits work well to catch these tasty fish so make sure you have plenty of both. Catching schoolie fish on spinning tackle is a blast so pull out the ultralights and have some fun.
Along with the Mahi-Mahi, we should start seeing some Blue and White Marlin as well. These powerful tackle busters are always hanging nearby schoolies, so wherever you see them there is a good chance your in for an epic battle should one appear. May is always a good month for Marlin fishing in the Keys.
There have still been a few Sailfish moving through as well as Marlin. For the next couple months Sailfish will remain scattered throughout the Keys. Their whereabouts can shock you though, because you may see one on the reef edge in 60 feet of water and another offshore in 2000 feet of water. On the same day! Targeting these fish can be done by trolling natural ballyhoo or by live bait fishing with herring, runners, pilchards, or any other baitfish…shh… they will even eat a pinfish from time to time. Twenty pound test spinning tackle is a lot of fun when it comes to catching these acrobatic artists.
Circle hooks work best for keeping most billfish from being gill or gut hooked, so do your part to help preserve billfish species.
May also marks the beginning of this years Grouper season in the south atlantic. This is a welcome for many of the Keys as these fish bring large numbers of bottom fishermen and women to seek after Blacks, Gags, Reds, Scamps, and many others to add to the list. Try anything from cut sardines, squid, and bonito chunks, to pinfish, grunts, runners, or my favorite; the “Speed-Oh” to put one of these white flaky fillets on the table. Areas of hard bottom with ledges and cracks are some of the best places to look for Grouper, as well as wrecks, and patch reefs. Don’t forget to bring your game, and some extra leader, as these brutes are well known fro getting anglers back into structure.
The Tarpon are biting! The last couple weeks of Tarpon fishing has been nothing short of excellent. Many of the deeper channels throughout the Keys have hungry fish. These masters of the hook-shake are not that picky at times and will turn down everything at others, so don’t be discouraged if fish are rolling around you and your not getting a bite. Remember, they are animals and they do not always eat just because there is a bait near them. Sometimes I am pretty sure they have something other than eating on the brain. Live pinfish, crabs, mullet, or pilchards work very well, as do shrimp and cut bait sometimes. Tarpon are just as much a scavenger as they are a hunter, so don’t discredit a piece of cut bait. Circle hooks are the best hooks for these fish to stay connected, and don’t forget to “bow to the king”.
May you have awesome fishing in May! We sure will!
The Food Chain. An ideology of the hierarchy of all life on earth and how each life form feeds another in some form. Life in the ocean is a prime example of the food chain. From the tiniest plankton to the minnows, to the shad, to the… well you get the idea. All the way on up to the ocean’s number one predator; the Shark. Feared by most and enamored by all, sharks are very popular in human society. People all over the world from some of the farthest places on land from the ocean could probably tell what a shark is. Aside from the popularity on land many adventure seekers find excitement by swimming with these ultimate predators. However, if and when you are a permanent resident to the ocean, sharks are not so popular, important, but not popular. They are the cleaners of the ocean so to speak. They weed out the sick, the slow, the old, the dying, and yes many others as well, but the job of sharks is a very important one. Truly it is survival of the fittest in the ocean. Yet, sometimes fish don’t get a chance to run for their life. Especially when that fish is connected to the end of your rod and reel.
Take this video for example. Jerry and Steve from Mass. came down for some springtime bluewater fishing on the Outer Limits. The morning started off with a bang as one of the “goggle eyes” on the kite got a bite, and Jerry was hooked up to a 7 foot Sailfish giving him and awesome fight. Then, shortly after Jerry’s release, Steve hooks up to a seven foot Hammerhead shark. Unfortunately after 15 minutes or so the Hammer got the best of our light fluorocarbon leader and back to Sailfish-ing we went. Within minutes the kite raised another Sailfish and we were again hooked up. This was a stubborn fish and gave us a great show of what a strong and acrobatic customer Sailfish are. Just as the leader comes to the rod tip the fish again makes another short run. Then all of a sudden, BOOM! A Mako shark attacks the Sailfish with such force from below that both the shark and the billfish are propelled into the air. Still attached to the line, the poor Sailfish is wound to the boat. However very wounded yet still wiggling, the Mako comes back and tries to attack the Sailfish boat side. Now, pretty much lifeless, and tailless, and knowing the inevitable, we release the Sailfish to meet its fate with destiny. All of which we were able to be prepared enough to catch on HD video with our GoPro cameras. After some short editing by yours truly, I put together this video and hope that you like it. You will definitely want to watch it in full screen if possible. Just a little perspective of what can happen when your catch of a lifetime gets eaten!
Let me just first say that April and May are pretty much my two favorite months to fish in Key West. Although every month is different and each with its own peak species, these two months provide me with some of the best bluewater action the Keys has to offer. Billfish species such as Sailfish, White Marlin, and Blue Marlin all congregate the waters on the edge of the Gulfstream current which creates a color change that happens to be located just off the reef edge this time of year. This hard eastbound current brings with it an abundance of bait and many other predator species as well. Large numbers of Mahi (Dolphin fish) along with Wahoo migrate through eating everything they can. The tuna species get in the action as Blackfin, Skipjack, and Bonitos make an everyday appearance. Whether you are a trolling fisherman or you prefer to live bait fish, these two months can be awesome for either. Not to mention all this activity brings on a good number of sharks and Cobia that cruise along the color change in route to the Gulf coast. The hard current pushing to the east is also met by a predominate wind coming from the east, also creating what we call “tailing” conditions. Tailing conditions are when the wind direction and current direction push against each other creating a hard rolling sea. When fish want to move into the current, they come to the top of the waves and cruise down the face of the waves almost like a surfboard would do. This action requires the least amount of energy to be used by the fish. Coincidentally, as they surf down the wave the back of their tail comes out of the water, hence “tailing”. This also makes these fish easier to spot, and sight casting to Mahi, Sailfish, Tunas, and Cobia is a lot of fun. The Sailfish have just shown up in the last week in pretty decent numbers. Many anglers are getting to experience the catch of theirs lives with these majestic creatures. Look forward for at least the next two months to be exceptional bluewater fishing.
How can it get any better than being able to catch numerous bluewater species all in the same area and all on light tackle. Well it doesn’t.