Well we survived the scare of Hurricane Isaac. Unfortunately it looks like the gulf coast didn’t fair so well. My thoughts and prayers go out to them. This time of year is always up in the air with hurricane season upon us. The storms do help the fishing in several ways though. Not only does it churn up the shallow waters it also produces a lot of debris for the pelagic fish to forage around.
I always enjoy fishing the month of September because of the great fishing and lack of fishermen. It’s not uncommon to fish the entire day and not see another boat on the water. The large schools of bait are showing up in the waters around Islamorada. With a livewell full of bait, we can target a large number of species.
The best bet this time of year, are the blackfin tuna and skipjack tuna on the humps. It is truly one of the best fisheries we have here in the Keys. It isn’t uncommon to have every rod on the boat hooked up to a line screaming tuna. We like to use 12 lb spinning tackle which really makes it a challenge when you hook into a 20 plus lb tuna. You better be ready for an hour long battle.
The dolphin are still showing themselves this month. Finding a magical piece of debris is the key to success. You can look all day and be ready to give up and find a piece of bamboo on the way home with enough fish hanging around it to fill your fix box. That’s exactly what happened to us the other day. We managed to have a great morning with tuna on the hump, but struggled to find some dolphin after that. We had trolled up and down several weed edges and had no luck capturing the green hornets. But on our way home in 200ft we spotted a jumping dolphin next top a 20 ft long bamboo tree. After twenty minutes of non-stop action we had 15 dolphin from 5 to 15 lbs in the fish box. The big bonus came when we decided to try our luck at a wahoo. The first few passes trolling by produced to beautiful wahoo. It was a perfect ending to an already great day.
Bottom fishing has been very good along the reef; that’s if you can handle the heat. The storm helped churn up the water, which really helps turn on the bottom fish. I saw several boats bring in some really nice snapper and grouper in the last few days.
The biggest surprise of the last few months is the large number of marlin in our area. I have heard of more blue marlin caught this summer than ever before. On a recent trip on the Contagious, Don Deleon managed to catch a beautiful 200lb marlin. It was a fish of a lifetime for sure. Don’s brother Richard also caught one of his largest dolphin ever on the same trip.
Hurry up and plan a trip down to get into the tuna action. I was nervous a few weeks ago because of the lack of tuna, but they have arrived in full force.
On a sad note, my father lost his battle to cancer. I’ m sure many of you met him when we returned back to the dock. He loved to take pictures of our catches and chat about fishing while we cleaned the fish. It was because of him that I learned to love fishing and develop a passion for it. He will be missed.
Capt. Brian Cone, The Contagious