Monday, June 29, 2015

Closing out June

I have had a number of trips and managed to take almost no photos.  Most of the trips have been offshore and while the bite isn't fantastic we are catching fish.  Tuna have been harder than I remember.  Yesterday isn't a good example, the hump on Sunday before July 4th was a parking lot and we only managed one BlackFin.  Generally, we would hit a good number of Skippies and BlackFin past the ups and downs but this year not so much.  We should have stayed with the schoolie dolphin is 800 foot of water and waited for a big one but I was under a tight schedule needing to be back at the dock by 1:00.

800 to 1200 foot seems to be the right range for now since the stream has been staying offshore.  There are more fishing moving closer to the reef but they are still mainly peanuts.  Still lots of Sargasso Weed everywhere and it is still scattered making trolling a pain.  Magic floaters and big patches are good bets for getting fish in the box.  Seeing lots of small triple tail as well.

I was hoping to get a snapper trip or two in but everyone has wanted to go offshore. Maybe this week.  

Marathon in the Florida Keys should be your next fishing vacation destination. Join us for charter fishing, fishing guide trips or our fishing 101 so you can fish on your own with better success.

 Tight lines,

 Capt. Dallas

Sunday, June 14, 2015

June is a little off.

People always ask what is the best month to come down to the Keys fishing.  That depends on the weather and the fish.  May is typically the best month for everything, decent weather and good fishing, but weather is weather and fish are fish, so you never really know until you get here.  June is probably the second best month if you are looking for big dolphin in a smaller boat.

This past week though both the fishing and the weather was on the weak side.  We did get an offshore trip with good conditions, 10 to 15 knot winds with most of the day closer to 10 knots and we found plenty of decent size dolphin.  We managed to pull the hooks on the biggest so the day didn't look that great at the dock, but the crew had a good time and we had the banana excuse for the missed fish.  Since I was on the flybridge I got a good view of all the fish we missed.  Nothing humongous, but lots of fish in the high teens to low twenties meandering down weed trickles while the hoards of peanuts jumped the baits.  When that happens you have to guess right on your bait.  The larger fish hit whole or half Ballyhoo pitch baits and passed on the chunks. Pinfish would have most likely been the ticket, but since the crew was having fun with the small fish, some keepers most not, and the weeds were not well formed, we never got a weed free pinfish in front of a large enough fish to find out.

The weeds were not well formed thanks to a Southeast wind that spread the slicks out.  It made trolling so tough that wandering from one large weed patch to the next was more productive than trolling.  Sometimes the bigger fish would show sometimes not. We found most of the fish in the 650 to 700 foot range but I heard of people picking up a good fish here and there all over the place.  No one I know of hammered big fish this week.

The next two days though the Southeast wind picked up to 20 plus knots and fishing pretty much sucked.  Most of the action is on the ocean side and most of my customers were stuck with the bridge and Bayside.  For whatever reason, the red gumbo grass is thicker than normal so fishing requires much more work than it should near the bridge.  If the boats were a bit bigger or the customers a bit more seaworthy, the rockpiles would have been the place to be since there are still nice fat porgies out there along with Grouper and Mutton snapper if you find the right pile.  Mangroves are moving to the reef to spawn, so the Bayside and bridge were loaded with smaller fish, keepers not so much though.   With lots of small fish, lots more gumbo and winds just high enough to make anchoring a PITA, yesterday was painful.

According to Windfinder, winds should get a bit more East and drop a bit bringing things back to normal, but weather men have been known to lie.  Tarpon fishing is still good at Bahia Honda if you want to play bumper boats, but that is about the most consistent report I have.  Marathon in the Florida Keys should be your next fishing vacation destination. Join us for charter fishing, fishing guide trips or our fishing 101 so you can fish on your own with better success.

 Tight lines,

 Capt. Dallas

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Dolphin Bite Progress

As usual the offshore bite changes with water temperature.  Two weeks ago we were hunting for water warmer than 77 degrees now we are looking for cooler than 80 degrees, which would be coller than the inshore and reef water temperature.

With all the water warm there are small peanuts everywhere which makes finding the big fish a bit harder.  So you end up guessing on burning fuel heading way south or burning time staying close and looking for magic floaters.  This is where switching over to rigged ballyhoo can produce big fish or lots of cussing as the peanuts eat your rigged 'hoo.  I am still a fan of using pitched baits live or rigged for the big fish and using the darts to pick up whatever then be real slow getting the whatever to the boat.  More than once I have traded up from a peanut on a dart to a slammer.  It is not something I count on but it does happen.

More often you will spot a bigger fish checking out the peanut which you tend pitch to or just pitch a bait past the peanuts if you don't have a tower and hope.  Staying close is often a good thing, especially when there is a color change caused by the tide.  That is a great reason to like the old Seven Mile Bridge.  With more current flow you tend to get good color changes if there is a little wind.  That color change can be way down near Bahia Honda, but if the Sargasso is fresh and bunched up nice there is a good chance you can find your bucket list Dolphin.  That does take patience though which is not a common commodity anymore.

This time of year bigger fish can be 10 pounds to 70 pounds with a lot more on the smaller end.  Most of the really big fish I have seen in June and July where trade ups, whether the captain knew it or not, in under 400 foot of water.  There are of course big fish deep, but most folks tend to stay closer so they can shift over to mutton or grouper fall back plans during the dolphin hunt or just blow off trolling and hit the reef for flag yellow tail or fat spawn mangroves.  It is all good to me, but I do get a lot of bucket list fisherman wanting their trophy.   That means sometimes I am a hero and sometimes a goat.  Such is life.

There are some "secrets" that work from time to time if you find the right floater or patch of weeds.  In addition to the usual trick of letting your baits sink deep, you can add a deep diving lure to your spread or if you have enough energy use a butterfly jig around the patches for the deeper running fish.  Currently, the butterfly jig thing is getting talked up a bit more than normal but a grunt or pinfish works about a well since they tend to swim down.  Live ballyhoo or mullet can be fun and productive as both create a good deal of commotion which tends to attract larger fish, including sailfish and the occasional marlin.

Because of the sinking action, some boats swear by combo rigged ballyhoo on the shotgun or riggers which will tend to sink behind the peanuts attacking the flat lines when you drop to boat to neutral.  This is like an automatic pitch bait set up.  Heavier lures in general sink better so you can go with that or plan on deep with the deep divers, butterfly jigs or the amazing Tomtate grunt.

There are also a lot of smaller blackfin tuna moving in closer which means there are bigger tuna underneath most of the time.  Pulling a 30 plus pounder from under a school of runts is another bonus of thinking deeper.  Doesn't work all the time but is worth a shot.

Also keeps you eyes open for tripletail.  The last trip on the Lady Catherine we ended up with a mixed bag of Skipjacks, Dolphin, tripletail and some larger than usual almaco jacks which the customers wanted to try.  No pictures, mainly because it was just a tad sporty that day.

Marathon in the Florida Keys should be your next fishing vacation destination. Join us for charter fishing, fishing guide trips or our fishing 101 so you can fish on your own with better success.

 Tight lines,

 Capt. Dallas

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Making comments can be a PITA

Because there are lots of computers with too much bandwidth on their hands most blogs get spammed a lot.  So I had to add reCAPCHA which is a program to figure out if a comment is from a computer PITA or just a regular human, PITA or not.  Things went along pretty well for a while, but now I am finding out some folks have trouble with reCAPTCHA.

I have trouble with it myself at times so there is a too hard thingy you can click to try and find something easier.  Most of the time you don't have to get one completely right, just right enough for the program to figure out you might be human.  Now they have a new version that lets you pick out pictures.  It says something like click on all pictures containing pasta and then shows a picture of something containing pasta which you cannot click on.  You just click on two or three pictures that will let you click and contain past and you are golden.  There are six pictures most of the time so make sure you look at them all.  There is a audio option if you don't like pictures.  Personally, the audio option sucks, but you might be able to figure it out.

There isn't much I can do about the security thing.  Even a non nondescript little blog link mine get targeted by some asshole somewhere and reCAPTCHA is the easiest to use that is comparable with my blog service.  You can simplify things a bit by having some account that is listed, Google, AIM etc., but anonymous is the easiest for most folks.  Since the blog provider is Google, if you have a Google account things should go easier.  If you use anonymous though and want me to know who you are using anonymous just sign or type you name in your comment.

I kinda have it set up so you can leave pictures and videos in the comments with the old version of html coding.   [img]your-image-url[/img],  (without the italics and such) This might help some folks and make it easier to add photos to older blog posts after the crew gets home. Lots of times I don't post about specific trips because I don't have any photos, so if you add a photo or two or email me I can create a post just for your pictures, videos or what ever you have to add. Google Picasa is a free online photo storage service and youtube is the best for videos.  I haven't test a Youtube yet, so you might have to tweak the url a bit.

If you follow this link to a post where I tested things you will see it don't work all the time.  Most folks btw end up with the better pictures after a fishing 101 trip.  Yesterday was a disaster for example partially because the rental boat bottom finder didn't work and there was a lot of boats working the same weedline.  We could have had more dolphin, but part of fishing 101 is figuring out how to catch them which generally means missing a few opportunities.  They guys yesterday will either figure out what not to do and catch fish or talk bad about me.  Such is life.  I do hope they get the bottom finder working though because out of Coco Plum I don't have and bullet proof honey holes for bottom fish without a working bottom finder.  Closer to the bridge there are plenty, but the current or lack of current can make the Coco Plum are a challenge.

Anyway I hope this helps folks.

Marathon in the Florida Keys should be your next fishing vacation destination. Join us for charter fishing, fishing guide trips or our fishing 101 so you can fish on your own with better success.

 Tight lines,

 Capt. Dallas

Monday, May 11, 2015

West Central Florida Crew Vacation Pics

Your basic May fishing 101 results.  Generally, the day I take guys out they don't catch as much as they do on their own afterwards.  That is because the Fishing 101 is a tour kinda thing and we don't spend time hammering stuff.  After they get a taste of what different kinds of fishing can produce, then they plan their day.

Marathon in the Florida Keys should be your next fishing vacation destination. Join us for charter fishing, fishing guide trips or our fishing 101 so you can fish on your own with better success.

 Tight lines,

 Capt. Dallas

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Fishing the past week

Update:  The fishing 101 crew sent some photos of their last couple of days.

With the from that came through over last weekend and the full moon I have been struggling.  Off shore there are dolphin that are nice size, but they have that finicky thing going on.  You find a floater of a tight weed line and you can pick up one maybe two on a pass.  Most of the time we didn't get any followers so we had to stick with the troll hunt a peck.  Today on the lady Catherine we got 13 in the box plus a couple of tuna,  Most were heavy lifters light gaffers, the biggest two might have gone 10 pounds.   Not great but better than a good number of boats.

Yesterday on a guide trip, we picked up two swingers and saw a few sailfish, but headed in early for some patch fishing.  On the patches and rock piles if you didn't have fresh shrimp it was Gruntsville.   With shrimp though..

My phone battery died so I didn't get any photos, this is on the Wednesday crew emailed, but I will try to post any that get emailed to me.

The weather should be good for the next few days and the bite should pick up.

Marathon in the Florida Keys should be your next fishing vacation destination. Join us for charter fishing, fishing guide trips or our fishing 101 so you can fish on your own with better success.

 Tight lines,

 Capt. Dallas