Overall I would say fishing is pretty good both offshore and backcountry around the areas of the Upper Keys right now.
Dolphin bit offshore last week anywhere from 300 feet of water as far out as 25 miles.
Sizes were found to be anywhere from 3 pounds to the 25-pound variety. Last week anglers aboard the Gimme Jimmy charter boat said fishing was tough for them, however they finished the week with a monster bull that weighed 43 pounds so that tells us there are indeed a few "lunkers" biting around town.
Some swordfish were caught again from the deep water. Recently there were swords caught in the 70- to 100-pound range reported from the Catch 22 charter boat as well as a 247-pound fish brought in on a boat called the Broad-minded.
Reef fishing has been good. It's what I would call fairly consistent as far as yellowtails are concerned. Current has been running to the northeast with consistency, and the water color has been reported to be a little "dusty" at some of my favorite snapper haunts.
As a general rule of thumb you can use slightly heavier line and put more heat on them when the water is dirty or what I call dusty.
The Miss Islamorada party boat did very well last week with the snappers and a variety of bottom fish as did the Island Star party boat, also out of Islamorada.
With grouper season now open, the action was good for keeper gag and black grouper last week with sizes up to 35 pounds at all three marinas.
In the backcountry I would have to say the action was spotty for many guides with changing weather patterns to blame for the inconsistency. Some guides, however, like Capt. Skip Nielsen, found several large bodies of tarpon, not all in biting mode, but certainly making unforgettable sights and memories.
There was action in the backcountry with trout, mangrove snapper and some snook, which will always make for a fun trip to the Everglades, though you can't keep the snook right now.
The water is getting warmer, and I look for things to change for the better. And I daresay improvement is coming to us over the next couple of weeks. Stay tuned.
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.