Offshore Report

By Carlos Hechavarria Jr.

The offshore action is starting to heat up. The sailfish bite will start to pick up. Along with the sailfish starting to show in numbers, we are getting good reports of Dolphin AKA Mahi Mahi still hanging around. Most are being caught using live bait either drifting them on flat lines or on the kites. If you don't have any live baits try trolling small feathers near weed lines, or wherever two currents meet and create a slick on the surface. Troll these areas 4-8knts using light colored lures on sunny days, or dark colored lures on overcast days. Best bet offshore is to locate debris or flying birds. 

In the same area that we are catching Sails and Dolphins, we have been catching Black Fin Tuna. When we drift a few baits on the flat lines we like to leave on line out far from the boat and that is usually the first to get picked off. Having a live well full of pilchards is key, and at every drift spot toss a dozen or so out to create a mini school near the boat. This technique, entices big fish to come up to your boat and eventually spot your live bait that will be slower then the non hooked pilchards you tossed overboard. If your catching bonito's, stay with them as the blackfins usually hang out with them.

Grouper will be caught on the shallow patches using a chunk of ballyhoo or speedo. For deeper grouper, use a knocker rig with enough lead to hold bottom anywhere on a nice reef 45-180ft. Use 5-15ft of 60lb Seaguar Flourocarbon blue label leader attached to the main line using a small swivel and on the other end to a 7/0 hook. 

Swordfish have really kicked off this months with reports of doubles in the last few weeks. For night time sword fishing choose a few days before the moon or a few days after the moon. Use squid or bonito filets and stagger your lines at 75 ft difference in depths (75,150,225, 300). Make sure to have multiple gaffs and a harpoon or flying gaff for your best chance to land one.

Moving closer to the reef, the Mangrove snapper are being found on the reef. Look for any reef or hard bottom on your fish finder and you are almost guaranteed to have mangrove snapper in the area. Make sure to chum using menhaden or sardine chum. Use ballyhoo plugs, pinfish plugs or shrimp on a standard 3/0 hook to catch your limit. 

Yellowtail snapper fishing is almost a year round thing here in south Florida. Best technique would be to find a nice reef with some current. If fishing in the day time, it is recommended to have at least 75lbs of chum and start by dropping two bags over the side. Snapper Up and Yellowtail Up are two good types of chum when specifically targeting these species. The best tackle would be a small conventional reel with at least 250yrds of 14lb line on a medium action 7ft rod. Use small jigs 1/32oz preferably or bare 1/0 hooks and allow the bait to flow back with the chum. 

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