Islamorada Sea Horse Fishing Report
Islamorada is known as the sport fishing capitol of the world. There are few places in the world that offer such a diverse productive fishing area all year. Islamorada’s close proximity to deep water, area reefs, and back country make it a sport fishing Mecca. Additionally, the many Hotels, Restaurants, Marinas, and Charter fishing fleets make Islamorada an easy, affordable, safe, destination for novice, and expert anglers.
Lately the off-shore fishing in Islamorada has been revolving around Mahi AKA (Dolphin). Mahi have been very easy to find in the Gulf Stream all May. All of the Whale Harbor fleet has been producing great catches of Mahi. Lures, dead bait, live bait, trolling, and run and gun methods have been very productive. Mahi have been found on weed lines, current edges, floating debris, and under flying birds.
Along with the Mahi are plenty of Black Fin tuna. The tuna have been in large schools in 250 feet of water moving north with the current. They have been easy to find under flocks of birds, and have been eating small in line feather jigs, small plastic squids, and live pilchards. These fish are moving quickly through our area feeding on any smaller fish they encounter. All the Humps have been holding large and small tunas. Some days are more productive than others, depending on the current. On the days the Gulf Stream is moving quickly over the Humps the tunas are ready to eat. We have caught them on many different lures and colors. Live bait has been the easiest way to catch them if you are able to get the bait. If you don’t have live bait, try jigging butterfly jigs, on a spinning rod. It is a fun, productive way to get bit. Another way to catch tunas is to use a kite rig trolling a single rigged Flying fish, Ballyhoo, or Cigar minnow. This method takes some team work with the captain driving around boat traffic and an angler working the kite rig.
While fishing for Mahi it has been a common occurrence to see Sailfish moving up the road with the Gulf Stream. Weather they are free jumping or tailing near the surface most of these sailfish are eager to eat. Unfortunately they really want to eat something alive, like Ballyhoo, Cigar minnows, or Pilchards. Some controversy about free jumpers not eating; maybe sometimes they don’t but they seldom swim alone. Their buddies will normally cooperate if you work an area over where you saw one jumping. Sometimes you just get lucky and the Sailfish will come up behind the boat and inspect your baits and eat. These are nice gifts when your covering ground looking to catch Mahi.
The Back country guides in Whale Harbor have been catching Tarpon like crazy. On their morning, day, and evening trip they have been getting multiple hook ups and landing many fish. Tarpon have been found along the bridges, flats, boat channels, and around other great places in Florida bay. They have been catching many large tarpon in excess of 100 pounds. These fish have been caught on fly, live bait, and dead bait. Local favorites have been Mahi bellies, live Mullet, and live crabs. Most of these baits have worked well close to the bottom.
See Trout, Redfish, Sharks, Permit, Bonefish, and Snook have been caught regularly in Florida bay. Many of the back country guides have been fishing the Flamingo National Park area to catch these fish. The Flamingo area has always been a great area to catch lots of fish. Whether you are an expert or a novice the park is a wonderful place to fish and enjoy the scenery.
The forecast for off-shore looks great for the upcoming month. Many offshore Captains believe the fish are migrating a month behind previous years. We have noticed the Amberjacks, Tunas, and Mahi showed up about a month later. If what we are observing is accurate then we should have a lot of great fishing ahead of us. Along the area reefs the Yellow Tail snapper fishing should continue to be great. The yellow tail have been full of eggs here in the Islamorada area lately. Usually they will continue to be easy to catch through their spawning cycle. The Grey snapper won’t be far behind. They normally show up in big numbers as we get into the summer months.
While fishing for these Snapper it is not unusual to catch Gag, Black, and Red grouper. Plenty of them have been caught since the season opened on 1 May. More will be caught since they are plentiful along the edge of the reef. Most of these grouper respond well to live or dead bait fished near the bottom. Good luck on your next outing.
Capt Rick Rodriguez