Fishing

Weather finally cooperating for those venturing offshore

Captains are reporting a lot of gaffer-sized mahi offshore, but the bigger dolphin ar so far proving to be elusive.
Captains are reporting a lot of gaffer-sized mahi offshore, but the bigger dolphin ar so far proving to be elusive. www.sportfishingfloridakeys.com

This Father's Day weekend we have lots of unusual and interesting fishing reports to share around upper Keys areas both offshore and in the backcountry.

Offshore, Capt. Nick Stanczyk helped capture a 211-pound bigeye tuna! This incredibly rare catch came boatside for the crew after a two hour fight with what they thought was originally a large swordfish. We later learned this was the only known bigeye tuna to ever be brought to the scales at Bud N’ Mary's Marina. The uniqueness of this report also proves yet again you just never know what is lurking and/or migrating in the Gulfstream and in the blue waters of the Florida Straits.

Dolphin fishing remains good for school-sized and gaffer-sized fish anywhere from 8 to 28 miles off the Upper Keys. A few larger and some slammer-sized dolphin (over 20 pounds) were caught last week. However, I did not hear of any fish reported over the 50-pound mark locally. That size range I classify as "super-slammer."

I would venture to predict though we could see some "over 50" in weeks to come.

Reef fishing has been steady for yellowtail and mangrove snapper. There were reports of 5- to 8-pound mutton snappers in the chum slicks recently with a few caught using traditional flat lining yellowtail techniques last week.

Snapper fishing in the evening is starting to pick up and should continue to improve through the next couple of months. It’s a great way to beat the heat.

Local party boats are sailing from the Upper Keys right now offering night trips if snapper fishing tickles your fancy after a good Keys sunset.

Backcountry action has resumed after a brief shake up with the passing of Tropical Storm Colin, which made conditions a challenge at best for a couple days last week.

Southwest sustained winds over 20 knots associated with the weather front made things difficult at Cape Sable and along the park boundaries. High winds churned local waters to a milky and unfavorable color for a few days on western Florida Bay.

Some guides ran past Flamingo and other areas finding a lee from the stiff breezes. Tarpon, snook and redfish were all in good supply and caught mostly on small pilchards, sometimes deep in the Everglades canal system.

We got a report from Captain Jeff Beeler who caught numerous sawfish recently. One particular report I found to be sad though. Capt Jeff's anglers caught, photographed and released an estimated 300-pound saw fish with its saw cut off flush at its face. The pictures I saw of the account are causing great debate and emotional comment on various online forums.

Well, thanks Dad for helping me to see over the dash and account for the current at a very early age. Happy Father's Day.

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

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