South Key Largo Grouper and Snapper Bites

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Recent offshore fishing reports from the Florida Keys region.


South Key Largo Grouper and Snapper Bites

Florida Sportsman member: miami mutton

South Key Largo Grouper

The fish are shallow now with cooling waters, we fished 55 ft and the bite was great. We had the yellow tails close behind and of decent size. The first bait down got slammed by a nice black grouper and the next bait got hit by a mutton, after another black was caught.

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Cudjoe Key Variety Fishing

Florida Sportsman member: saltlifegarrett

Cudjoe Key Variety Fishing

We have been catch everything from mutton to sailfish. Mahi and tuna have been caught just about everyday.

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Week of Fishing in Marathon: Tasty Mixed Bag

Florida Sportsman member: cameron sleep

Fishing in Marathon

Something ran off with the bait and really objected to my attempts to bring it to the surface. The something turned out to be a beautiful 25 inch mutton snapper, probably 8-9 pounds and I quickly aborted moving. Next drop, a 21 inch mutton met the same fate. My chicken rig was producing small yellowtails and a decent 18 inch, tasty, speckled grouper. A more urgent pull yielded a double header of 16 inch muttons, to complete the catching for the day.

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Keys Snapper Assortment

Florida Sportsman member: piner_wahoo

keys snapper

Forum member, piner_wahoo picked up a nice assortment of thick snapper over by Big Pine Key. Someone is gonna be eating good tonight!

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Shrimp Boat Fishing Slam

Florida Sportsman member: bambam78

The line ran off the reel faster and stronger than any of the other bites. The fight on a fast action rod and a 30 class reel was an absolute blast. Capt. Chaz told me as the fish got closer to the surface, that Yellowfin will do crazy things. Sure enough he was right. We saw color on the fish and shortly after, it made a run for the bow of the boat.

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Wahoo in the Keys

Florida Sportsman member: flbluerunner

We decided to make a quick Wahoo trip since the wind laid down and I had a good tide. On our second pass in one of my favorite areas, we got 45lb-er in the box.

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Islamorada Action

Florida Sportsman member: Captain Easy

Even with the tough fishing we’ve managed to put a lot of nice catches together. We haven’t had many easy days though, but the last two days out this week saw a huge improvement and I’m hoping it’s the beginning of some red hot fishing. We got in on several large schools of mahi of mixed sizes from schoolies to some fish up to 30 pounds the last two days.

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Tortugas Trip

Florida Sportsman member: Gary M

Yuri would toss out some herring pieces to get the fish next to the boat. He was looking to see if any blackfins were in the schools of bonito and he had warned us, “You may have to catch 10 bonito in order to finally hook a blackfin so break off any bonito as soon as you can, re-tie and get a bait back in the water.”

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Red Hot Reef Action

Florida Sportsman member: Captain Easy

We’ve had some really good reef fishing down here in Islamorada the last few weeks. Yellowtail fishing has been on fire and we’re catching some really nice black grouper and mutton snapper as well. Today we went to the reef and caught our limit of 40 yellowtail snapper in the morning.

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Surprise Visitor

Florida Sportsman member: boackerman

Forum member boackerman and friends got into some nice yellowtails and grouper recently. They also got a surpise visit from a cobia, that came home for dinner.

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Tavernier Muttons

Florida Sportsman member: miami mutton

As we were heading to it, I noticed a big party boat anchored about a mile before getting to my spot, knowing this area well, I knew he was on the fish. Keeping our distance and about a half mile down current, I told Capt. Evan slow down and let’s scan the bottom here with the sounder and sure enough, we marked a load of fish right on the bottom.

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Heading Out to the Hump

Florida Sportsman member: flbluerunner

We left the dock at about 8am, and worked our way to the Marathon Hump, made a couple of passes, got a handful of tuna and moved on. We ended up catching the mahi about three miles south of the hump.

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Islamorada Wahoo

Florida Sportsman member: Captain Easy

We loaded the bait wells and headed just offshore of the reef in the 140 foot range to start fishing. Flat calm seas, glowing blue water, and a very strong current are all great wahoo conditions and we had them all. That and the approaching front coming later that evening seemed to have the wahoo’s fired up! I think almost every boat fishing in a three to four mile area just offshore of the reef caught wahoo yesterday.

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Dry Tortugas Jigging

Florida Sportsman member: benwah22

I have never seen a wide open scamp bite before, but drop after drop they kept hitting slow pitch jigs. We didn’t even have time to get some of them in the cooler, and I was kicking scamps off the rail.

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A Trip to the West

Florida Sportsman member: Gary M

The next morning, I dropped one of my whole shrimp to the bottom and bam, I was hooked up! He ran just like a shark would have done, but I got him stopped and got him off the bottom. Looking down, I saw a stockier fish than a shark and I soon knew it was a nice mutton snapper!

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Islamorada Action

Florida Sportsman member: Captain Easy

We wound up catching two sailfish, a nice black grouper, a mutton snapper, a few kingfish, and best of all a triple header of 30 to 40 pound wahoo on 16 pound spinning tackle. The wahoo flurry was quite the sight. We hooked the first one on a live cigar minnow on the down rod, It bit while we were winding it up to check the bait.

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Dolphin in Close

Florida Sportsman member: Teamteke

With rain storms solid offshore, we worked the shallow 220 to 270 foot depths where the scattered weeds held the dolphin. NOAA said the gulf stream was only two miles off of Sombrero light. We did venture out to about 500 feet and found a one degree rise in the water temp.

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Dolphin in the Weeds

Florida Sportsman member: flbluerunner

We did have a big one on but could not keep him from loading up on weeds and coming unwound. Funny thing, it was raining and if I got out of the rain the bite shut off, so we fished in the rain, and I took pellet beating in the tower.

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Speed Jigging Fun

Florida Sportsman member: Tavernierguy

The guys I had aboard jig from Kayaks all day, so they had it dialed. Bite was at the low tide then just kept getting and better has the tide started to move. Caught a wide variety of fish and few “fish heads”.

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Good Bite Out Deep

Florida Sportsman member: INTREPID377

The most excitement we had was a when a school of juvenile sailfish began tearing up the spread. We had five lines hit in addition to both teasers. Finally, after running around in circles from rod to rod, we got one to stick on the Wide Range moldcraft in the shotgun position. He wasn’t very big, but he was a sailfish.

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Fun in the Marquesas

Florida Sportsman member: Captbernie

Just back from a week in Key West with my wife and son. We had outstanding weather,fishing and diving. We spent four out of the six days fishing, diving and exploring the Marquesas. Limited on bugs daily and caught/speared enough fish for eats each day.

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Marathon Reef Fishing

Florida Sportsman member: miami mutton

The ballyhoos are on the reef but the speedos are a gamble, one day, they are at the bag and the next they are lost. Grouper have been biting good on speedos and live horse hoos and some nice muttons have fallen for those same baits.

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A Keys Adventure

Florida Sportsman member: Fish Tails

We stopped to check some fishy rips and a smaller weed line but Captain didn’t like the color of the water. And right about 28 miles off shore there it was. The mother of all weed lines, beautiful blue water and lines were in. Not three minutes later the starboard short goes off and my boy is on his first dolphin.

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Keys Trip with the Kids

Florida Sportsman member: FlagMaster

Forum member FlagMaster and kids enjoyed a recent trip to the keys. Big grouper, mutton and yellowtail snapper filled the cooler, as well as hogfish taken via speargun.

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Florida Keys Offshore

Florida Sportsman member: Gary M

We also had a pretty good bite with the yellowtail snappers. I tend to fish for them more than the heavy gear on the bottom and on this trip I got nice fish up to 23 1/2 inches. Fat ones too and on my light spinner, it was just a blast.

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Epic Trip to Pulley Ridge

Florida Sportsman member: cudaman

A lot of screaming reels all over the boat with double hook ups, up to quad hookups, the over under screaming of the mates could be heard from one end of the boat to the other as the mixed bag of fish started flooding the decks. Some bonitas (little tunny) found their way into the mix and a regular scene to happen of the days of fishing.

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Find the Birds, Find the Fish

Florida Sportsman member: seamonkey23

We then decided to run and gun. I saw 2 or 3 birds that were joined by 3 or 4 more circling something, so dropped the baits. We watched the birds circle back to our baits and as soon as I mentioned that, we hooked up on the bigger bull and cow.

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Night Time is the Right Time

Florida Sportsman member: PBG POOLGUY

The mangrove bite was red hot! Got out a couple hours before dark, had the chum flowing and picked at some smaller snappers and managed a nice rock hind, but when the sun went down it was on! All the big whitebait you wanted in the light all night long, bug a bait, drop it down and bam!

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Keys Offshore Bite

Florida Sportsman member: Got Ta Go

Dolphin have been holding mostly between 500-750′. I won’t say they have been easy, but if you keep working at it in the grass you’ll put together a nice catch. Seems they’ve been wanting meat, as most my catches have been coming on ballyhoo with or without skirts.

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Tearing Up the Tortugas

Florida Sportsman member: Gary M

It was a matter of picking off a few nice fish, move to another spot and repeat throughout the trip. But we did have a wild snapper bite that gave us a very busy hour at sundown the first night!

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Islamorada Offshore Variety

Florida Sportsman member: Captain Easy

Dolphin fishing has really picked up for us over the past week down here in Islamorada. Every day has been a little different, and it can still be a little hit or miss, but we had a few outstanding trips over the weekend.

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The Gift of Dolphin

Florida Sportsman member: kajo

We headed out to 650 feet, put out a few trolling rigs and hooked up pretty fast. We got some schoolies in the cooler and after hooking 4 we saw a mass of flying fish blast out of the water a little ways away and a second later a huge mahi mauling them.

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Keys Trip Success

Florida Sportsman member: stoutner

We went back out Thursday afternoon and found a nice solid weedline in about 650-700 feet of water. Trolled up to it and as soon as we arrived we were doubled up on Dolphin. Stopped trolling and started to chunk up that Bonito to bring the school to us.

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Day Saving Tuna

Florida Sportsman member:flbluerunner

Decided to go Southwest, there were broken weeds the whole way. Got out about 28 miles off and found birds were everywhere.

It was a big school of blackfins,and we were able to catch all we wanted. Kept 3 nice ones and let the rest go.

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Working for the Fish

Florida Sportsman member: Gulf2Back2Front

Weed formations were key with the occasional dolphin jumping to confirm our aspirations. These were caught mostly on Billy Bait and our own techniques for getting more.

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Islamorada Grouper

Florida Sportsman member: Captain Easy

So we ditched the reef fishing plan and headed off to power drift on some deeper wrecks. In addition to the grouper there were also lots of amberjack and jack crevalle on many of the wrecks. I did notice a lot of pressure on the reef and wrecks. It was hard to find a spot not covered up with either boats hook and line fishing or divers spearfishing.

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Islamorada Day and Night

Florida Sportsman member: jcuilla

Our guests were some long time anglers in the area and Uncle Ted, the brother of Robbie, as in Robbie’s Marina. Awesome guy! Toward the end of the trip the short line gets slammed and it’s game on!

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Catching in the Marquesas

Florida Sportsman member: heavychevy15

Fished the Marquesas and got some decent fish out there this past weekend. We caught yellow tail, muttons, red snapper, some other bi-catch, and a handful of grouper (that all went back).

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Permit, Cobia and a Surprise

Florida Sportsman member: NauticalWheeler

The real surprise at this location was when I saw a small shark with interesting markings cruising around the boat. I thought it might resemble a tiger shark, but wasn’t sure. I threw out a live bait in haste and was only using 40 pound mono for a leader and was lucky to not get bitten off, but the hook was right in the corner of the mouth.

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Islamorada Wahoo and More

Florida Sportsman member: Captain Easy

We had about a 45 minute flurry with at least one wahoo on the whole time. We wound up catching 4 out of 8 and had as many as 3 wahoo fighting over baits at once just 20 feet behind the boat including a couple the skyrocketed about 8 feet out of the water chasing the baits.

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Shallow Water Fun

Florida Sportsman member: Jciulla

Here’s a few pics from this week in patch reefs from 18-22 feet. Lots of good action from mangroves, muttons and mackerel. It seems like the fish are starting to go back to hitting the cut bait more as well as the live shrimp.

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Catching Fish on the Drift

Florida Sportsman member: youngguns2

We wanted to fill the box so decided to fish all wire on the top and mid rods and immediately had a triple on sailfish on the first set up. With only two people on board and wire leader, you can imagine the chaos that ensued but we did manage to land one out of the three.

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Fishing the Patches

Florida Sportsman member: Captain Easy

We had a great day patch fishing today. Fishing the patches about a half mile inside the edge of the reef. The water was completely mudded over with the strong southwest wind we had last night. That and a moderate northeast current made for some great patch fishing conditions. We wound up with a few dozen nice yellowtail, some hogfish, porgies, and a half dozen muttons including some really nice ones.

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Mack Attack

Florida Sportsman member: piner_wahoo

Forum member piner_wahoo got into some nice fish offshore, fishing in his flats boat. Big kingfish and snapper should make for some excellent fillets and fish dip!

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Islamorada Deep Dropping

Florida Sportsman member: Captain Easy

The kings made for some fast action and after catching our limit of them on cigar minnows just offshore of the reef. We then headed offshore and spent the rest of the day bottom dropping in depths from 400 to 800 feet deep. We wound up with an excellent catch of yellow eye snapper, vermillion snapper, queen snapper, tilefish, and a couple of beautiful yellow edge grouper up to 30 pounds.

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Keys Mixed Bag

Florida Sportsman member: TeamTeke

Along the way we set out a dolphin spread of four Billy Baits. Luckily I put out one that had some wire on it as it got slammed by a nice wahoo. Others suggested at hookup that it was just a skipjack tuna but this fish was pulling some serious drag and did not want to come in. Finally getting it closer Harry yelled from the upper helm that it was a good wahoo. Bingo!

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Duck Key Reef Report

Florida Sportsman member: TeamTeke

Albert takes the first drift. Only one angler drifts at a time. At a moderate distance back he gets a run-off and hook up which produced a nice mangrove snapper. My wife Tania and myself each took our turns having bites and landing fish also. I think Albert went 7 or 8 fish straight without a miss.

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Summerland Key Offshore

Florida Sportsman member: Death From Above

The weather was still good so we went for it one more time. Picked up some nice dolphin on another weedline and then the big hoo shows up. Hit a blue and with Islander with a rigged ballyhoo. The bait was rigged with mono so it was a little tense until he hit the deck.

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Fun Weekend in the Keys

Florida Sportsman member: Lori Jo Fishing

Cayden’s on the reel, gets him boat side and the phin goes crazy. Then the captain sees more phins and says get some more baits out. Me and Jeff hook up and we ended up catching all three.

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Tavernier Tuna and Dolphin

Florida Sportsman member: TavernierGuy

Found dolphin all afternoon and into the evening. Dolphin were on small current rips and slicks. Found a couple on small white birds. Fish were between 270 to 350 feet for me. They were in closer as well, but found the best action in that depth so I stuck with it.

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Tearin’ Up the Tortugas

Florida Sportsman member: cudaman

In the morning I started jigging and was able to connect with a red grouper, a story that would repeat over and over about 20 times. On this trip the ged groupers seemed to like jigs slowly jigged near the bottom.

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Mixed Bag off Islamorada

Florida Sportsman member: EarlyBird

We managed to hook three and land two 40 pound hoo’s. My guests then looked at me and says, “Capt let’s head on in because we can’t top this” and I happily took her on in. We ended the day with 7 wahoos, 40 mahi, 2 tripletail, and a dozen tunas.

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Day Timing off Duck Key

Florida Sportsman member: out of the blue

We were now 5 for 6 on the day and we deployed once more and as we were near the end of the drift, there was the unmistakable tap. We went to work, he felt heavy all the way up so we were thinking it was foul hooked or a shark.

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Slayin’ Them Solo

Florida Sportsman member: TavernierGuy

Went solo today looking for a phins and maybe wahoo and the fish were hungry! The bull and the cow crashed the baits at the same time. Cow hit the wire leader and the bull smacked the mono. 20 minutes later put them over the rail, thankfully the seas were flat. Both ate blue and white islanders.

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Limiting Out

Florida Sportsman member: miami mutton

I started the usual chum slick to find the yellowtails eating right behind the motors. The guys took pictures and were excited to begin the catching, which they did just that, in a short time we had our limit and a mutton on the bottom to make the 50 snapper limit.

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Fishing on the Edge

Florida Sportsman member: ShallowSalt

Biggest score of the week was a 19.5 pound blackfin tuna caught on 20 pound spin gear while drifting. We began to see the big boys skying about a quarter mile behind the boat and eventually they worked their way close enough and took a drifting bait behind the boat.

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Islamorada Offshore

Florida Sportsman member: INTREPID377

Based on what we saw, if you want a shot at a dolphin, you’re going to need to run a bit. I know some bigger dolphin were caught in close, but no real numbers. If you want blackfin tuna, both the 409 and Islamorada Hump were loaded with small fish.

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Catching in Key Largo

Florida Sportsman member: Joepilot

Dolphin were abundant about 10 to 17 miles off Key Largo. The ocean was glass and no one around to compete with. The edge of the stream was clearly visible in these condition, which was really interesting to see so defined.

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Keys Swords

Florida Sportsman member: out of the blue

We went to work and after a short battle placed a 50 incher on the deck. My spell had been broken and it was my buddy’s turn, unfortunately we pulled the hook on the next bite and then we caught a big mako in 1700 feet of water, we let that one go as it was only 1130 am and no point on putting that on the deck.

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Pulley Ridge Trip

Florida Sportsman member: Xaf

Greg said we could go ahead and load our gear. So we lugged all the above mentioned gear from the truck to the boat. Then it was off to the Hogfish for a bowl of lobster bisque and an order of hogfish fingers. Soon the rest of the anglers for the trip started showing up and went through the ritual of loading their gear on the boat. Finally it was 8 pm and time to shove off.

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Dry Tortugas Trip

Florida Sportsman member: Gary M

We all agreed the next morning that none of us had ever seen such a long, hot bite of such consistently BIG yellowtails! Even Ed, who fishes for yellowtails a lot in the Bahamas, was having a hard time remembering such great action over in the islands.

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Little Torch Key Mixed Bag

Florida Sportsman member: punchdog

It was getting to be early evening so we decided to troll back in and saw a frigate at about 600 feet. Followed him for a short while and a schoolie mahi hits a lure. As we are bringing him in 3 or 4 big mahi are following. Avery, who is 12, grabs a pitch rod, puts a pinfish on the big circle hook, tosses it out and hooks the 47 inch cow. About 20 minutes later, good gaff shot and it is in the boat.

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Deep Dropping and Dolphin off Key Largo

Florida Sportsman member: Veikx

We set up a drift, and put down some bonita chunks. First pull up 3 roses, we were ecstatic! We did two more drops with 3 rosies each time. Afterward we continued to troll and found a nice log in 650 feet. This was loaded with schoolies, most of them were right at 20 inches but we landed 5 that were 22 plus inches. Many were thrown back to get bigger.

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Dinosaur Dolphin off Key Largo

Florida Sportsman member: SeaCarrII

Around 12:30 pm, we came up on a frigate tracking fish from about 30 yards up, with bait splashing below. Followed him for a few minutes, and our two trolled ballyhoo got hit. About a 30 pound cow jumped and spit the hook, but this bull came aboard after a long fight. It hit a green skirted ballyhoo in 670 feet, about 17 or 18 miles out.

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First Phin in the Box

Florida Sportsman member: SonarSup

Looked for weed lines and birds and didn’t find any. A lot of sargasso patches but no distinct weed lines to troll up and down. I trolled around 5 knots when I hit the 330 foot mark my drag started screaming. About 5 minutes later my wife and I got the fish in the boat. 20 pound 40 inch first dolphin for my wife and I!

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Big Pine Offshore

Florida Sportsman member: AMPED

We went out to about 625 feet today, East of Big Pine Key & West of Sombrero Light. We caught some really nice phins (triple header), some peanuts which were tagged and released, average size wahoo, a black fin tuna, and some cudas. Left at 8am and was back by 3:00 pm.

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Mahi in Marathon

Florida Sportsman member: CatchDog

Forum member CatchDog has been on the dolphin off of Marathon. Catching many fish trolling naked and skirted ballyhoo between 630 and 750 feet. The big bull was taken on a blue and white islander.

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Tearing up Tavernier

Florida Sportsman member: TavernierGuy

Reef bite has been ok when the current cooperates. Been having some fun catching and releasing Permit. Got to do some grouper fishing on Sunday May 4 for the first time in along while. First drop we took a nice black grouper for dinner!

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Gettin’ Jiggy in the Keys

Florida Sportsman member: Captain Easy

On Saturday we took out Greg, George, Eric, Jomal, and Lynn and released 32 amberjacks all between 30 and 75 pounds as well as a dozen almaco jacks and banded rudderfish. These guys are a group of vertical jiggers from Miami and loosely refer to themselves as the “Miami wrecking crew”.

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Lower Keys Cobes

Florida Sportsman member: Bill Welder

We kept the first 3 and released number 4 and passed on number 5. We could have taken more.They ate whatever we threw at them. My clients also kept about a dozen yellowtails between 18 to 20 inches. Sharks are thick. We leadered a large Bull shark after a 45 minute tug of war. Only saw 2 Sportfishers all day.

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Tavernier Slammers

Florida Sportsman member: youngguns2

Found a nice bucket with bait but no mahi, then came across a nice piece of bamboo with heavy mono tied to it with again lots of bait and a triple tail but no mahi. Kept running southwest till about 11:30 am when we spotted a hawk heading down on the water in 750 feet and it was chaos from then on. With only 3 guys on the boat, we got covered by 3 large slammers, hooked all 3 fish but ended up landing the bull and the smaller cow.

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Awesome Trip on the Yankee Capts

Florida Sportsman member: LitiGATOR

The mate gaffed the fish and a beautiful mutton hit the deck. I don’t know if Juozas had ever caught one before, but I believe it was his first on the Yankee. At 10-years old, on his first trip out here. That’s impressive. You couldn’t wipe the smile of his face.

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Lowe

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