After an amazingly good September this month has gotten off to a bit of a slow start. Last month we were catching tons of nice mangrove snappers with some muttons and groupers spread in the mix. Most of them were coming on live ballyhoo fished on the bottom. At the same time as these nice bottom fish we were also catching lots of yellowtails. Really the event that seemed to be the switch that turned this hot bite off was the last tropical storm that passed by. The rains that fell for two days straight cooled the water off very quickly and the winds that blew made the water very, very dirty. For a week it has almost looked like green mud.
Now that we are over a week past the storm we are seeing the fish come back, but it’s not still where it should be. The bait fish, mainly ballyhoo have not returned to the reef were they are just a few weeks ago. They are slowly but surely returning, and this will bring more predators, which is what we as fisherman want.
The hottest bite out there right now is the yellowtails after dark. Our night trips have been producing some extraordinary catches lately. Both Capt. Dave and Capt. Ron have been targeting the wrecks off the edge of the reef and catching nice “flag” yellowtails one after another. Last week I think they limited out 4 nights out of the 5 they fished. A few random mutton snappers also came off the wrecks, but the big highlight is really the ‘tails.
The sailfish are just starting to show up on the reef again. They will be here all winter long and will make thousands of anglers very, very happy this year. We catch a hand-full every year on the party boat, but the charter boats catch hundreds. Almost every day of the winter the charter boats catch at least one per boat. Sometimes you can catch 12 or 15 if you hit the right day!
I would expect the reef fishing to get better for snappers the next few weeks, the groupers are going to start moving into the reef and so are the sailfish. In other words… October is going to be an awesome month!