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Late Summer Fishing Report

Our summer fishing has been relatively close to what we’ve expected, with night action being the best. Nearly every night we’ve had great catches of predominantly mangrove snappers with yellowtails as well. Not only do you have the best opportunity to catch great eating fish, but to do so in the cooler temperatures of the evenings. This action is happening up and down our coastline on the outside reef lines, usually 30 to 60 feet of water.

This outside reef line is basically the last reef to pass as you go into deep water. Off Miami, this is usually less than 3 miles offshore. In Fort Lauderdale much closer, and in the Keys, up to 5 miles away. As far as tackle is concerned, on the Reward Fleet we have Penn spinning reels and Shakespeare Ugly Stik rods for our night customers to use. Filled with 20 lb test line and using only small circle hooks allows all anglers a great opportunity to catch these tasty treats.

An unusual thing about these fish is that they rarely bite at all until the magic hour of 10 pm. You may think this is a fish tale, but from my experience going back to when I was a night mate alongside “Bouncer” Smith at Haulover Docks in the late 70’s, the 10 pm bite time was the same. I can remember customers demanding that we go directly to “where we were last night” only to sit and wait, not seeing a snapper until close to that magic hour. I also remember moving the boat by request of our anglers, taking a leisurely ride to the north, then back south, anchoring right back where we had sat earlier. Of course, the fish would bite immediately, and the fishermen admonish me saying that we should have come to this spot in the first place. I rarely passed on making the obvious reply that I only moved to quiet the complainers for a while. Expect this action should go on right into September.

Day fishing has been from fantastic to slow, with bonito barrages and king action in the cooler depths from 150 to 240 feet of water, with the fish biting close to the bottom. In my opinion, these fish aren’t necessarily that deep to feed but to escape the blistering heat of surface waters. We catch them with ballyhoo or sardines rigged whole on a 3 hook rig, and enough weight to get down close to bottom. The technique is to hit the bottom, then lock the reel and let it drift upward a bit as the boat slides away. With windy conditions it’s necessary to drop back occasionally to keep the rig in the bite zone. Incidentally, vertical jigs work great on these fish. It’s not unusual to have a few jiggers outfish the whole boat! Our clients are also catching quite a few nice mutton snapper, vermillion snapper, and an occasional gag, black or red grouper of legal size.

We have now added the “LEGACY” to the fleet, to give us the perfect big game sportfishing vessel for our area. She is professionally equipped to fish for sailfish, shark, swordfish, mahi, or tuna. With air conditioning below decks, she is perfect for half or all day trips, local and Bahama waters. Call us for prices!

Check out our Facebook page “Reward Fishing Fleet” to see photos of some of the best catches being had in the Miami area.

Captain Wayne Conn