Fishing ReportsSoutheast

Lower Miami/Upper Keys

Fishing has picked up a good bit since my last report. We are fast approaching our spring season.


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Photo: Beast Fishing Charter's

Morrie and his son-in-law joined us for a trip. We loaded them aboard and off we went to collect bait. The bait catching ritual was a bit slow but we gathered enough to do the day and then blasted out to the blue water. The day was gorgeous again and I was hoping it wasn’t too beautiful. We didn’t want another slow day.

Devon set up our spread, running 1 down and 3 up. I moved around the area slowly and it wasn’t long before we had a taker on the rigger line. Bam… and another. We had a Dolphin bite going and the guys were doing their thing. We boxed the first one and then Morrie brought up his “heavy lifter” cow.

Devon reset the spread and we moved around the area for another 30 minutes or so when the down rod sounded off. This fish was nothing spectacular, probably a ‘Cuda. But hey, a tug on the line is what we came for and any fish that can fill that bill is welcomed. As suspected, it was a “Caribbean Spotted Mackerel”. My anglers actually love catching these fish because they pull hard, and have some very impressive dentures.

We were set up once again. 20 minutes or so passed and another group of “Dollies” came through. We collected a couple more of them. We boxed the fish and decided to take a photo of the freshest one. Nice picture when suddenly the fish flipped his tail. I heard a thump and then a splash. Release? No… bad grip! I guess he didn’t want to eat that one. He got a ribbing the rest of the day for that slip up.

We had several more cut offs and missed hook ups from the little Macks that have been hanging in the area. It definitely kept Devon busy. We were winding down on the clock when Devon yelled… “Sail up on the flat line!” Hooked up! This fish wasn’t going to come easy. We fought him for well over 30 minutes and finally got him to the boat where Devon could get a hold of the bill. Photo op!

We called it a day as we were well over time and the guys were very happy with the catch. The actual catch tally was 5 Dolphin, 1 Barracuda, and released a nice Sailfish. The laughter continued all the way back and during the filet session, about the Dolphin that slipped his grip and became a release. Who am I kidding? The comments continued until he got into the car. I’m sure Morrie (father-in-law) will bring it up for some time to come. Too funny!

The next trip we had was with Andre and his group. 3 of the 4 guys have fished with us before and knew the drill. We made our way out to the worm hole. Devon set out the chum and we waited for the worms to show up. Tides and winds were a bit opposite so it was a tough go but we managed to get enough bait after a while. Here we go!

We arrived offshore at our starting point and set up a nice spread. We have had some unseasonably calm waters on our scheduled trips lately. I idled the livies around the area looking for “the spot” where the fish were. As Devon always tells me… they are where you find them! Ka-Boom! The downrigger gets hammered and it is a giant bull Dolphin. We found them! The fish is so strong he is simply ripping line off the drag. All we could do is hang on! The fish finally stopped his run and banged a U-turn. I yelled “REEL!” as I pushed the throttles down trying to help the angler stay tight. The rod tip goes slack and the hook starts flopping across the water. Bull-hockey! We tried hard to stay tight but that fish had our number. They don’t get that big by being stupid.

We had several more missed strikes, darn “Snake” Mackerel, and caught a few big ‘Cudas. We stayed pretty busy and the day was passing quickly. The short rigger popped off and Devon put Jesse on the rod. He did the drop back and hook up perfectly. Sailfish on… Yeah Buddy! This fish went nuts for about 30 seconds and then dropped into the depths taking Jesses “down & dirty” for the remainder of the fight. It wasn’t a pretty fight, but it was a pretty long fight. We were on this fish for over 45 minutes when we finally got a closer look at it. We realized why it was such a tough guy. During one of the jumps it must have spit the hook but re-hooked itself in the top of the head. That hook placement makes the fight similar to pulling a huge diving plug through the water. We finally raised him up and got the release.

Look at those smiles! You can’t explain the feeling you get after catching/releasing one of these critters, even if you were just watching. They are awesome fish! The rest of the day was relatively uneventful after that. We turned The BEAST toward the western horizon and hauled it home.

Want to join in during this spring break?

Capt. Jim