Dolphin fishing was as good as you ever want to see it once again last week just off shore of the Upper Keys.
Some charter boats are catching 15 to 40 dolphin per trip. There has been lots of fish found and caught over 25 pounds. The schools of dolphin they are finding have been mostly hungry and biting well. Schoolies (4-6 pounds) and gaffers (8-18 pounds) alike are being found from 12 to 26 miles out and found to be mostly swimming against the current of the Gulfstream.
If you're trolling and find a trickle of weed in a line, I advise you to follow it for a mile or two. A lining up of the weed can sometimes lead to much more if you stick with it. Sometimes a current edge is first found by a subtle line of weed or debris that generally runs in a southwesterly direction. Look for the birds dipsey doodling or hanging around the same area and/or tracking slowly to the south and west. They could be over a school of hungry dolphin.
The blackfin tuna bite has been good with mostly ''football-sized" fish in the 3- to 7-pound range. The occasional 25-pound tuna reportedly fell for a live pilchard, ballyhoo or a popping plug last week during frenzies in the rips. Finding a frenzy in the rip can be a day maker sometimes. So long as you're not a victim or active participant in rip rage, which is condition very similar to road rage that we see these days on the highways.
There's been a few tripletail caught on floating debris lately as well as a jumbo 47-pound wahoo aboard the Reel McCoy charter boat.
At the humps, there's still a few ambjerjack and almaco jacks lurking near bottom. Also on the bottom further out and in the deeper water, there were good numbers of grouper, barrelfish and tilefish aboard many of the boats that put forth the effort. Capt Nick Stanczyk's anglers caught another jumbo 273-pound swordfish last week aboard the Broad-Minded charter boat out of Bud N’ Marys marina.
In the backcountry, there has been some great tarpon action with much of the activity occurring in the open Gulf where the banks begin and near some of the channels that connect Florida Bay to the open Gulf.
Captain John Johansen guided his anglers last week to several tarpon, the largest being in the 130-pound class. Captain John recommends pilchards for live bait for tarpon right now.
Very similar to the ones offshore, the tripletail have also been found around floating debris and patches of grass in the open Gulf near the Everglades park boundaries of the backcountry. Some of the biggest in recent years are being found and caught right now. A tripletail will eat almost anything, live shrimp or a properly presented piece of cut bait.
Take care out there this week both on the high seas and on the highways. Catch 'em up and let us know how you made out.
Capt. Donald Deputy covers the sport of fishing in and around the areas of the Upper Keys. Reach him direct at firstname.lastname@example.org with your personal fish tales and photos.