Shaping up to be the summer of the mahi

Jerry Baker and David Gross hold some mahi they caught on a recent outing on Gross’ Copa Cat.
Jerry Baker and David Gross hold some mahi they caught on a recent outing on Gross’ Copa Cat.

This week we have a traditional Father's Day fishing report to offer.

June 21 marks the "official start" of summer and with that comes a variety of reports both offshore and from the backcountry. Offshore, the dolphin were close last week, inside the hump in fact, anywhere from the reef edge out to 12 miles, which is very convenient and easy on the fuel bill.

Captain Travis Dickens on his Indigenous charter boat out of Bud ‘N Mary’s Marina did some deep dropping after an already great day of dolphin fishing, catching tilefish and rose porgies for the cleaning table to mix it up a bit for his clients.

On the Captain Easy, out of Post Card Inn and Marina, Capt. Bruce Anderson guided his group to two swordfish in addition to a good catch of dolphin last week.

Several charter boats had great catches of dolphin, very consistent with what you would expect from fishing during the month of June. Anglers caught lots of dolphin ranging in size from 2-pound schoolies to 8- and 10-pound fish that you would want to stick your gaff in. There were also a few slammers caught up to about 36 pounds that I know of.

The question came to me last week, "Why does it seem like dolphin fishing is not as good as it used to be?" My answer was this: I believe dolphin fishing is as good as it's always been, for the most part. It's just that there's so many more anglers on the hunt now that it seems much tougher to put a good catch together these days.

It's more competitive, and I think of it this way, the size of our pie is about the same this year as last in general, but there are just so many more people eating on it causing the pie to be cut up into much smaller pieces . The pie being our dolphin migration, our blessed natural resource. So,there you go, my wisdom for the day.

Remember this transition to major popularity of offshore fishing out of Islamorada has only been taking place for about a half a century. It's both a blessing and a curse, I suppose. Choosing the perspective is your call.

Reef action was great last week for both yellowtail and mutton snapper off Islamorada and Key Largo. All of the local party boats out of the Upper Keys had good catches of snapper most days last week. The boats are filling up faster lately with the warmer weather and kids out of school, so book your space in advance if you can.

There were several schools of crevalle jacks in many of the local bridge channels and in the backcountry. Some bruisers up to 25 pounds were caught and released.

June is still a great month for tarpon. The nice thing about June is that you can catch one or more big tarpon on fly, live mullet, pilchard or dead bait/chunks on the bottom. Captain John Gargan guided his anglers to some great tarpon action last week using cut bait near one of the main bridge channels during a late afternoon falling tide.

Now, go catch em up — and keep me posted!

Capt. Donald Deputy covers the sport of fishing in and around the areas of the Upper Keys. Reach him direct at with your personal fish tales and photos.