2018 Florida keys reports

Discussion in '2018 Saltwater Fishing Reports' started by Trophy21, Jun 21, 2018.

  1. Trophy21

    Trophy21 Crew Member

    First week of June my fishin bud and I headed to the keys for a fishing trip. We had gone the previous year and had 3 days with guides. Being unimpressed with what we had done with guides we rented a boat for a day and had a blast learning catching Bonita tuna.
    This year we rented a place on a canal and a boat for the entire week.

    We flew in late at night to Fort Lauderdale picked up our rental car and headed to homestead, about 2 hours from marathon our destination. We crashed in a motel and woke up to a sunny warm morning in Florida. Hit the road headed straight for bass pro in world famous islamorada.
    Picked up 2 penn spinfisher v 6500 rod and reel combos a cast net and other thing we figured we could use. I got sucked into buy some real pricey Costa sunglasses because the 480 lenses are for offshore fishing. Lol.

    Back on the road, we get to our rental early and low and behold not only is the rental ready but the boat is sitting on the dock! We got our stuff organized and took the boat out to get the lay of the area,find fuel stops ect. We find a fuel spot,tackle store and bait store all in a one stop dock area. We are set! Take the boat out about 5 miles off shore to a wreck called the Thunderbolt. Target amberjacks. Worked at getting gear down and finding the for a hour or two and have little success so call it a day.

    Up the next morning decided to hit the patch reefs for some light tackle fun. I find a nice patch and anchour up, set up the chum bag and wait. One hour later schools of fish all behind the boat! We chuck jig heads with pieces of squid. Catching fish after fish. Yellow tail,triggerfish,all kinds of reef fish. Then 2 turtles show up to the party! They keep trying to eat our hooks.lol. I see a school of ballihoo right behind the boat, yell get the cast net! Then the gong show begins, we have no idea how to thro the net! Several attempts ending in no fish and us laughing our asses off at each other. We managed to keep some various small fish for bait and threw them in the live well. Pulled up anchour and headed out deeper to some rubble piles for some bigger fish. Anchour chum the new spot and drop down some livys. 20 mins later BOOM one rod goes off! Line is screaming off! A large silver fish jumps straight out of the water! Holly shit! Grab the rod!! Snap!! 80lbs mono breaks! Do this a couple more times. Wtf! Ok I get serious tie on a metal leader, this guy is mine! Drop down a livy..........15mins...Rod goes off, line is rippin off the reel, I grab it, set the hook! The fish takes off, jumps out of the water! Boom gone.....! Wtf I check my set up. The wire leader is now a coil spring the hook is totally bent! Shit that didn't work,lol. We decide to pack it in and search out some local knowledge about why we are getting smoked.

    Next morning off to the tackle shop for some info. Guy says "y'all boys got into some kingfish or somethin you boys need #7 copper wire and long shank j hooks. Do a haywire twist to your hook and swivel and you'd be killin them things." Off to our spot with some new fishing knowledge. Drop some livys down.........bam! Rod goes off 20mins later. Reel is screaming , fish is launching! Still on!! Get it to the boat side, buddy says holly shit look at those teeth! You pick it up! Maybe I had one to many lol so I did. The first one was a little nerve racking but we sorted it out.landed a bunch of those then decided to hit the weed lines for some Mahi. Pull anchour and run offshore looking for birds,weeds,debris. Find a nice weed line so start throwing jigs at the weeds. Not seeing much move along the line and come across a large buoy floating ne'er the weed line. Go over and inspect. Doesn't look like much, start throwing jigs at it. Fish come up see triple tail trigger fish lots of life. Then the yell! Mahi!mahi! Right there!!!! And Mahi mahem is on! Get the chunk baits! We are running a tripping all over the boat.lol grab the pitch rods! Shit there not rigged! Gong show lol. We keep chunking them the Mahi are lite up hammering our chunks! We thro the pitch rods out with bait on them. Wham Mahi on!! We keep it by the boat. Wham double header!!! So much fun! We spend the rest of the day catching and realesing.

    Report..fishing for Mahi Mahi good from 300 out to 750 larger fish seem to be deeper. Weed lines sparse in the mornings grouping up in the afternoons. Amber Jack and grouper tougher to get down, the current is really ripping on the wrecks.

    To be continued....

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  2. RiverBoy

    RiverBoy Well-Known Member

    Well this doesn’t sound like much fun at all!! wowzers
  3. Trophy21

    Trophy21 Crew Member


    Up the next morning with a plan to go tarpon fishing. We had a good outgoing tide and I heard there can be tarpon under the 7 mile bridge. Make the 8 mile run to the bridge. Started the gong show off by running up to the bridge From down current and dropping chunks of bonito for Goliath groupers. Current was rippin and we had a tough time getting meat in the right spots. Continued for a couple hours then gave up. Decided to anchour up and drift crabs on balloons down between a few what looked like fishy spots. Had to really watch it as our anchour would slip and we'd get to close for comfort to the pilling! Spend a nice day trying for a silver king but our timing was off. We packed it in early and headed to the beach bar, Havana jacks! We found some beers there! Still a great day.

    Wake up to the Florida heat and decide it's time to get serious and kill some fish. I hatch a plan to head out 30miles off shore to the west hump. A 600 foot tall seamount that rises out of 1000ft of water. The Gulf Stream current hits the mount and up wells lots of bait and fish. We arrive to the spot and wow it's a parking lot, boats everywhere in about 1 square mile! We stay back from the pack set out our outriggers put out our 4 line spread and motor towards the pack at 8 knots. Trolling we see birds smashing some bait in the distance so we head straight for them. Then boom Rod goes off line screaming off . Then snap line brakes! Wtf? Check the line. It snapped at the knot from the braid to the mono leader! F-that pull all the lines in tie to a swivel then to the lure. These things hit like a freight train! Lines back in circle back same tack... Bam same spot Rod goes off....bam another goes off!! I slow the boat this time and grab my Rod! Get it to the boat. Black fin tuna! Things going nuts. I yell grab the gaff! What gaff we don't have one, shit. F-it I grab the mono and sling it into the boat! Ya blood bath.lol. We continue to circle and hit the same spot and get into about 8 black fin tuna and keep one for dinner. So much fun!

    I point the boat back towards land and we have all afternoon to hunt Mahi Mahi. It's a bit windier today so we decide to drift the deeper weed lines. We find a good line and start drifting along it pitching jigs to the weeds. About 1/2 hour goes by and boom my buddy hooks int a nice bull Mahi line screams off then more show! I start chunking and more show. We get a few to the boat and keep 2 for dinner. Then they are gone so we motor around for more weed line and find fish on most of them. So much fun sight casting to Mahi, I'm addicted.

    Back at the rental we clean the fish and have a awesome dinner of seared black fin tuna and blackened Mahi fish tacos! It just doesn't get better than that!

    Report...lots of black fin tuna out on the seamounts, look for birds and chase them down. Best lures green and yellow chuggers fished way back. Mahi on most good weed lines bigger ones from 600 to 800 depths.

    Was a trip of a lifetime for me. You just can't beat the exhilaration of learning a new fishery on your own and killing it!

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    Last edited: Jun 22, 2018
  4. Saltwater Cowboy

    Saltwater Cowboy Active Member

    I would love to hear details on where u stayed and what it cost for the house/boat/tackle etc.. this is on my bucket list to do very soon!
  5. Scorpiofisher

    Scorpiofisher Member

    Sweet write-up. Bucket list trip for sure.
  6. happy hooker

    happy hooker Well-Known Member

    Sounds epic
  7. Tom Innes

    Tom Innes New Member

  8. Tom Innes

    Tom Innes New Member

    Went to the keys last year. Epic!!!

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