Friday, January 31, 2014


This is a late post for a trip last Thursday.  Things have been a bit hectic with doctors appointments, weather and visiting friends in the hospital.  Thursday was a fishing 101 with a new customer that involved some basic tour stuff.  Fishing wasn't great since the wind and tide were opposite but we did manage a decent Mutton and a good mess of Porgies, which most of you know I enjoy eating.

The Porgies were on the Hawk Channel Rock piles which is about as easy a fishing trip as you can get.  Next to Yellowtail Snapper fishing, the rock piles and patches are about the most popular quick fishing trip for the locals that want something other than winter Spanish Mackerel.  Since some of the rock piles are less than two miles south of the islands, with a North or Northeast wind you can slip out and catch quality fish without getting beat up by big seas.  Strong winds out of the East can change that pretty quick, but with the short run you can change plans without having too many exciting boating tales.

Unfortunately, the powers at be closed grouper season down here and the rockpiles and patches can be loaded up with legal and close to legal grouper after cold fronts.  Between the Grouper, Porgies, various Snapper, occasional Hogfish and larger number of other species that can show up, the bite can impress most folks who are not used to fast and furious catching.  Many charters have a rockpile number or two for trip savers when other things don't work out as planned.

Porgies, Hogfish and Grouper are the most common trip saver species in my opinion.  These fish are more territorial than most so they will bite on just about any current and wind condition.  Since they are territorial, you can also forget the chum and have less than perfect bait and still catch fish.  For the northern guys that are used to chum pots that you set near the bottom, that technique can work exceptionally well though I would save that until grouper season reopens.

So far I haven't done as much Florida Bay fishing this year as normal.   Due to timing and weather most of my trips have been to the Seven Mile Bridge which has been very productive, but I do like mixing things up.  Offshore and near offshore has been closed to me so far with the smaller boats but there has been some fantastic fishing for Sailfish, Dolphin, Tuna and Cobia for those that have made it out.  Near offshore success is highly dependent on live bait, normally Pilchards and/or Balleyhoo.  Pilchards keep well at most docks so if you are serious about sailfish you should plan on spending some time bait fishing which is a lot more productive with a good size cast net which I can show you how to cast pretty easily.  If your accommodations don't have a bait keep, a large garbage can drilled with plenty of holes for water flow can hold a good number of Pilchards depending on the water quality at your rental unit.  The soft net type bait keeps also work but the sharks have been known to chew holes in what can be a bit pricy investment.  Now that things have calmed down for me I will look into setting up a few bait keeps, hopefully before the Pilchards disappear. 

 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

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