The past week was full of excitement on the reef! We had everything from sailfish, to snappers, to gail-force winds, all in one week! Just before the winds picked up the snapper bite was unbelievable. The yellowtails were chewing like crazy no matter where you went on the reef or wrecks near the reef. Day and night the ‘tail bite was hot. The best bait is always live shrimp, but they are by no means necessary to catch nice fish. Ballyhoo cut into strips about an inch long is one of my favorite baits. Squid can work well too, as do silversides (small bait fish available at most bait shops) and small pilchards.
The mutton snappers were biting like crazy too. We did not get a chance to target them on any deep structure, but we picked a bunch of them up on the reef in 30 to 80 feet of water while yellowtailing. We got them on ballyhoo, blue runner filets, pinfish, pilchards and squid. In other words, they are biting on everything. Along with muttons, we also pulled a few red groupers off the bottom on the same baits.
Sailfish have been quite plentiful on the reef as well. Most people don’t think about catching sails on party boats, but this time of year through the spring we see and catch lots of them because they are up on the reef feeding on ballyhoo, houndfish, pilchards, cigar minnows, and so forth. We caught three of them just before the winds picked up. All three came on live ballyhoos.
After the winds slowed down the water was extremely dirty, making the fishing even better. I haven’t been able to find the muttons yet, but yellowtailing has been great, the mangroves are biting ballyhoo on the bottom and schools of nice dolphin have been traveling down the edge of the reef.
Thanks for reading folks,
Capt. Brian McCadie