The summer is upon us and the kids are out of school. Family vacations are gearing up. The Keys are packed with visitors on and off the water.
On the water, the summer months offer a multitude of species to go after. The best bet is dolphin or mahi-mahi.
Yes, dolphin season is in full swing, and it’s off to a great start. While last season was one of the worst ever in the Keys for dolphin, this summer has been the total opposite. Huge numbers of quality fish are schooling, from the edge of the blue water out to 1,000 feet. The birds are everywhere feeding, working as spotters for us.
The only negative early on has been lack of slammers. I do expect more larger fish to show up in the weeks to come.
Another bonus right now is the red hot snapper bite during the summer spawn. The Keys offer a variety of snappers. The reef produces a great yellowtail and mangrove snapper bite, while the wrecks are teeming with red snapper and big mutton snapper. You just need to decide what you want on the dinner plate. I myself prefer the deeper-water snappers; drift and slow troll for them.
It is hot out there so let’s talk about nighttime snapper fishing. I promise you it’s a blast! If you aren’t comfortable going out on you boat at night, you can always go out on the party boat and charters out of Robbie’s marina. They go nearly every night, so they stay on top of the nighttime bite.
The other big surprise is the sailfish. Plenty are being caught. We’ve had a consistent color change all summer, and have had a good number of sails migrating down the current edge feeding. All it takes is some good live baits fished along the current edges, and you stand a good chance of getting hooked up.
There also are some large tunas in the same depth (150-300 feet).
Don’t forget the summer offers lots of dolphin tournaments that all anglers can enter. Last week, I had the pleasure of fishing the Lady’s dolphin tournament with Cailin Reckwerdt, Devin Tolpin, and Payton Zuloaga . We were into fish right off the bat. I can honestly say we must have seen 2,000 fish that day. We never saw a tournament-winning fish, but caught what earned us 5th overall. Payton won the Junior Division. Cailin caught a beautiful sailfish as well. It was a gorgeous day on the water.
Nearly every weekend offers a tournament somewhere in the Keys. Maybe it can be your chance to win…but you can’t win if you don’t enter!
I know we’re all looking forward to seeing what the rest of summer brings. Hurry up and book a charter to get in on the action!
Capt. Brian Cone