Lets see what's coming up... Halloween first, then Election Day.
Sailfish are coming up on the live ballyhoo. They did last week for a few boats in the fleet.
Can you throw a cast net? Your net throwing skills will prove to be more important as we switch over to winter season fishing offshore of the Keys and around the reef. This is because almost every morning until about May you're going to have to catch the live bait for a day of fishing. That is if you want to be competitive with the rest of the fleet. Offshore there are still some nice dolphin to be had. We are right in the middle of a transition period switching from dolphin to sailfish fishing as our main attraction. Though the cooler weather is here, and it sure feels good, Capt. Jon Reynolds guided his party to a catch of 40 dolphin last week. One bull weighed 30 pounds — mirroring that of a hot July catch.
Black fin tuna are biting like mad dogs on the humps. Some had tunas up to 28 pounds. They say the "liver the bait the bigger the tuna," and the one with hook screams the loudest! But some are catching nice tunas on the lures near the hump area, trolled way, way back. Usually the birds will put me where I need to be if I'm paying attention on the hunt for a school of tuna.
Fishing was so good last week they even caught blackfins and skipjacks on the butterfly jigs.
The same problem remains though. Sharks are shadowing the tunas and when more than one are hooked, very often one or more gets bit off by the sharks. Sharks love to eat struggling tunas. Once again the one with the hook in it will scream the loudest.
King mackerel are nipping at the deep baits for the slow trollers around the wrecks and deeper ledges.
De-boned ballyhoo will work just as well as a live cigar minnow or pilchard on the deep rod around many of the deeper ledges in case you don't throw the best cast net just yet. If you can rig a pretty swimming ballyhoo, then slip one out there on the wire line this month when traveling from wreck to wreck in 150 to 350 feet of water.
Use a 16-ounce trolling sinker if you want to. There's wahoo in these parts!
Backcountry fishing is heating up as temperatures drop and bait stacks up. Many fish are on the move on the flats and in the backcountry around areas of the Everglades.
Captain Rick Stanczyk and his father were out fun fishing last week and had an absolute ball catching healthy redfish and snook and a variety of other light tackle treasures near East Cape.
Pilchards were reported to be plentiful around the island motes and many of the shorelines indicating a strong food chain in that area. Bonefish will be caught on both ocean and bayside flats around Key Largo and Islamorada this week as the larger shrimp and crabs/crustaceans begin to travel the channels and cuts that connect the bay to the ocean.
Let me know what you got into this week.
Capt. Donald Deputy writes for The Reporter every other week. Reach him direct at email@example.com with your personal fish tales and photos.