Fall is creeping up on us, that’s for sure! The last two mornings have had temperatures nearly 10 degrees less than previous days. Those cooling winds will cool the water, and that will signal many good things for fishermen of South Florida.
About two weeks ago we had an early mullet run which brought excitement to our inshore and coastwise fishermen. Word has it that a main run will be arriving soon, with the usual tarpon, jacks, snook and bluefish hot on their tails. The tell-tale sign to look for is pelicans in big numbers diving in the mullet. These fish will hit plugs and soft baits with abandon when they are worked right in the feeding frenzy. Spanish Mackerel, although they really don’t feed on the mullet, seem to appear about the same time. These are wonderful light tackle fish, and excellent table fare as well. They can easily be found by trolling small plugs or spoons in 20 to 40 feet of water within a mile or so of shore. If you hook a few in one area anchor or drift with a chum bag out, and cast artificial lures to them. I like a 6 to 8lb spinning outfit for them, casting jigs, spoons, and plugs.
On the outside reef line we are having good catches of yellowtails both day and night, as well as vermillion snappers. 60 to 100 feet of water is where they have been. Drifting with small strip baits close to the bottom as well as anchoring and chumming will get you into these fish. Fish with a light weight in the chum line, and put bigger baits on the bottom that will attract a nice mutton or grouper. Incidentally, a steak of a Spanish mackerel is one of my favorite bottom baits for big fish!
Offshore of the reef we are still catching kingfish in 160 to220 feet of water, fishing with the standard 3 hook king rig and 2 to 4 ounces of lead in front of it. Hit the bottom while drifting, then put it in the rod holder, allowing it to drift upward somewhat. Expect these fish to be 8 to 20 pounds, and great fighters on 20 lb tackle! The same rig has produced nice muttons and red groupers as well in the last week or so. A pleasant surprise recently has been some decent dolphin showing up in reasonably shallow water. They seemed to be following schools of small flying fish. Many were caught in the “gaffer” size by trolling or live baiting in 300 foot of water or less. Sailfish have had a strong showing, with one or two hooked by our fishermen every day. The fact that so much fresh water has been dumping into our coastwise waters may have something to do with it, with few days having that beautiful blue water in close that the sailfish love!
We hope you have great action in your fishing adventures, and also hope you come down to the Reward Fleet to give us the opportunity to show you what we do. Keep in mind we also have vertical jigging trips and all day trips that leave the dock as early as 6AM! We will launch a special 6am to 12 pm trip on Sundays, designed to get our NFL fans out fishing early enough to get home to enjoy the action. Phone number is 305 3729470, www.fishingmiami.com, or friend us at Reward Fishing Fleet on facebook!
Hope to see you soon!
Captain Wayne Conn