OFFSHORE- Wahoo fishing has been good this week, and should remain that way through the weekend. High speed trolling with large inline trolling sinkers and heavy lures is a great way to target wahoo, especially early in the morning and late in the afternoon. Trolling split tail mullet or horse ballyhoo at slower speeds behind a planer or inline trolling sinker is also a good option for the wahoo. During low light periods of the day look for the wahoo to be in 100-300' of water, and a little deeper when the sun is up higher. Dolphin have been scattered offshore anywhere from 300-1500' of water. Look for the dolphin to be hanging tight to floating debris, weed lines, or around current rips and color changes. Kingfish remain scattered along the 120' ledge. The kings will bite a live bait (if it escapes the bonita) or a bonita strip trolled behind a planer. Snapper fishing remains good, with some nice muttons around. Sardines or bonita strips are great bait options for the snapper. Just reel those snapper in quick, the sharks like snapper too!
INSHORE- Catch and release snook fishing remains very good inshore right now. Lots of big fish in the Loxahatchee River right now, as well as the ICW. Throwing jigs and swim baits at night is a great choice. During the day large live baits around seawalls and docks is the best bet to get a big bite from a linesider. Mangrove snapper have been booting at night around the bridges, especially those closer to an inlet. Small live pilchards and sardines are great choices, with live shrimp coming in a close second. Other inshore action is a bit spotty at best. Look for anything else inshore to be feeding early in the morning, late in the afternoon, or at night.
SURF/PIER- Snook fishing remains the best game in town along the beach and at the pier. Plenty of big snook around right now, and for the most part they are fairly willing to eat. A Spooltek Swimbait is a great choice during low light periods of the day, and live bait is about the only option to get a bite in calm clear water. The snook are gobbling up live baits in the inlet right now, croakers especially are not lasting long at all these days. The Juno Beach Pier has a few bonita cruising around the T, and even a few stray kingfish. Croakers and whiting are around in the trough, and actually a handful of rumors about some pompano up towards Hobe Sound.
Thanks For Reading,
FREIGHT TRAIN FISHING REPORT- Lots of good action offshore this week. Been catching a decent number of kings trolling. Snapper fishing remains good. Those looking to have a lot of fun can finds all the sharks and bonita they want to pull on right now!
OFFSHORE- The moon will be getting a little bigger each nigh; and with it the wahoo bite should continue to improve on a daily basis. Look for the wahoo to bite best early in the morning and then again late in the afternoon along the 120' ledge from Jupiter to Palm Beach Inlets. During the brighter parts of the day look for the wahoo to slide out slightly deeper, with 200-500' being good depths to pick up a mid-day hoo. The usual tricks for wahoo (high speeding, split-tails down deep, deep live baits) are all viable options right now. With any luck the weed will not be too bad this weekend and trolling spreads will stay clear. Dolphin rate being caught, but you have to be prepared to go find them. Southwest winds will most likely have the dolphin further offshore, so don't be afraid to take a trip way offshore. Trolling ballyhoo, bonita strips, and squid are all good bait choices for the dolphin. Lots of action along the 120' ledge right now. The bulk of the action is from sharks and bonita, but other surprise species will keep you guessing whats on the end of the line. Blackfin tuna, wahoo, kingfish, amberjack, and kingfish will all be in the mix with the bonita and sharks. Live sardines are a great all around choice for constant action, and a block of chum or few handfuls of chunk baits is enough to really fire the action up all around the boat. Snapper fishing remains good on the bottom, just reel fast to get them past the sharks!
INSHORE- The ICW and Loxahatchee River are filled up with big snook right now Low rainfall has kept the spillways closed, and the fish are a little more scattered out than they can be this time of year. As usual low light periods or night will be best for the snook, with moving water being a must. Tide direction is not overly important, but an outgoing tide typically brings a little dirtier water and makes the snook a little easier to trick. A handful of tarpon are in the Loxahatchee river right now, and are easiest to find rolling early in the morning. Scattering of mangrove snapper action around the bridges at night. Small live pilchards are awesome baits to get the snapper biting.
SURF/PIER- Lots of good snook action along the beach right now, including some REALLY big fish. Live croakers are snook candy and will usually not be turned down by a cruising fish. Those looking to trick a snook on artificial lures will be well served with X-Raps, Yo-Zuri Crystal minnows, Vudu Mullet, and small white jerk baits and jigs. Cast more parallel to the beach than straight out, and be sure to keep an eye out for cruising snook. Nothing like sight casting a 15lb snook in crystal clear water and watching her eat! Croakers, whiting, and sand perch are biting in the first trough on small live shrimp. A few passing tarpon are still being seen along the beach. In addition to the above listed species, the Juno Beach fishing pier is also seeing a fair number of bonita and a few nice spanish mackerel.
SHOP UPDATE- Still getting in new stuff on a almost daily basis...If you haven't seen it yet; YOU NEED TO! I may be bragging a little (and I'm obviously very biased), but this place is AWESOME! Ok...I'm done now
Thanks For Reading,
FREIGHT TRAIN FISHING- Look for Captain Eric's report (and hopefully some cool pics and videos) in the next day or so. He's been busy fishing and has some cool stuff going on right now. More info in the next day or two!
Fishing Report/Outlook 7/16
Offshore- Lots of scattered weeds, strong currents (2kts on the inside up to 4.5kts outside of ledge), and green water out past the ledge has made trolling inside of 200' challenging. Find the areas with less weeds and pull your baits with a wire leader with some sort of skirt in front of the bait (pink or purple skirts have been producing fish). I recommend making your own leaders using a #8 wire and leaving the tag end of your wire long enough that it extends past the point of the hook (see pic below). Keep your baits closer to the boat and you will get less snags. From 75'-110' expect to see kingfish, bonitas, and the occasional dolphin; 110'-300' bonitas, wahoo, and dolphin. If you're dead set on catching dolphin and want to avoid the bonitas find blue water which could be anywhere from 300'-1500'.
If you are looking for steady rod bending action take some live sardines out to 120' and hold on! Bonitas are in full force on the ledge and make for some very exciting fishing. If you want to catch less bonitas and have a shot at bringing home dinner, slow way down! Dead baits or a jig that doesn't drop too fast will help curve the bonita bites.
Stay in shallow for snapper 90' or less and fish a chicken rig with squid or bonita chunks or a slide sinker rig with 1oz-3oz of lead and a 6'-8' 30 lb leader.
Inshore- Snook fishing remains hot and this is the time of year to catch big snook on artificials! During the day fish smaller artificials like the D.O.A. shrimp or cal, and at night or early morning and evening hours your larger baits flair hawks, swim baits, and large plugs will get the job done. Snook are spawning this time of year and are catch and release only through the summer, have some respect for these fish...we're all really impressed with your instagram and FB pics but if you can't take a quick picture of a snook and get it back in the water without dropping it 5 times on your boat or concrete leave the snook in the water.
There are a few big jacks roaming around the intracoastal chasing small schools of mullet if the snook aren't biting and expect to see some tarpon show up in the next few weeks.
Pier- Croakers, whiting, and sand perch are at the pier. Use small pieces of shrimp and enough weight to keep the shrimp close to the bottom for these tasty fish.
OFFSHORE- Been a tough week offshore for many, while others have managed to find some nice fish. Best bet on dolphin continues to be long runs offshore in search of fishy debris, weed lines, birds, and current rips. Trolling and covering some water will lead to some dolphin bites out deep, while setting up a deep drift(outside of 800') and chumming may bring the dolphin to you. Anytime the schoolies show up be sure to send a bait down deep for a lurking wahoo or larger bull dolphin looking to pick off an easy meal. A few wahoo have been caught out of Jupiter and Palm Beach inlets, but constant scattered weed is making high speed trolling for them tough. Inside along the 120' ledge the bonita and sharks are around in full force, with a few kingfish mixed in. Still hearing about a few cobia on the bottom out of Jupiter, and even a few more cobes out of St. Luice inlet. Snapper fishing is good, with some muttons, yellowtails, ands mangroves being caught by those putting their time in. Sardines remain the bait of choir for the snapper, and luckily we are still getting nice quality domestic sardines in on a regular basis.
INSHORE- Catch and release snook fishing is very good inshore right now. Summertime mangrove snapper are around the bridges, and willing to bite small live pilchards, sardines, and live shrimp. A few little tarpon have been active in the Loxahatchee River in the morning. Look for rolling fish early in the morning and throw suspending lures around them. Not a lot of other inshore action to write about this week.
SURF/PIRER- Catch and release snook fishing around the inlets (both Palm Beach and Jupiter), along the beaches, and around the Juno Beach fishing pier is about as good as it get right now. Throwing lures at night and first light are a great choice, and then live bait when the sun comes up is the way to go for the snook. Be careful with the big spawning females, they hold the future of the snook population in their bellies! The Juno Beach Pier has been seeing a decent number of bonitas chasing baits around on the end of the pier. Some decent schools of croakers in the surf.
SHOP UPDATE- Come check us out at the Big Dog & Fat Cat KDW Tournament this weekend. We will have a booth set up sat Sailfish Marina Friday and Saturday night, so be sure to stop by and say hi if your around for the tournament. It's a great tournament, a great party, and supports a great cause so be sure to check it out!
Thanks For Reading,
FREIGHT TRAIN FISHING REPORT (http://www.freighttrainfishing)-
Been a good week for Capt. Eric. Decent bottom fishing, snook fishing has been good in Jupiter Inlet, and lots of sharks offshore. Lots of good trip options available, give Capt. Eric a call about different deals he has going on right now. (561) 578-3941
"That's What Living Is To Me"
Dark doesn't really begin to describe Everglades City as I rolled into town on Sunday night. A wicked thunderstorm, that provided an excellent light show driving across Alligator Alley, had knocked out all the power in the tiny southwest Florida City; giving the quite city on the edge of the Ten Thousand Islands an almost erie feeling. Creeping along the dark empty road I spotted what looked to be a couple camp lanterns...I'd found what I was looking for. Steven and his
dad Tom were camped out in the front of a small dark powerless hotel; steaks on the grill, cooler and chairs set-up, and drinks in hand. Any erie feelings I had slipped away in an instant as I pulled into the parking spot in front of the room and promptly joined the party. Sitting in the cool night air with a breeze blowing just enough to keep the bugs away (and...well two thermacells on high), a slim trickle of moonlight trying to poke out from behind the clouds, and stories of past 'glades trip gave the night an instant feel of a camping trip twenty something miles in the backcountry. Luckily, we had a nice cool room to crash in; if the power ever came back on!
After a good round of BSing we crashed in the warm room, hoping the power would come back on and get the A/C going. At some point during a semi-sleep I heard the power click on, and smiled with the thought of electric juice flowing to the nearly depleted trolling motor batteries in Steve's boat...and the A/C. With the battery charges rolling, it was easy to fall asleep. And yeah I guess that A/C did help too!
Monday morning came with clear skies and almost no breeze. After a semi-restful night of sleep, it wasn't exactly a crack of dawn start. Steve and I loaded up a few things in the boat, checked the cooler, and rigged up a few rods. I tied on a 3.5" Vudu Mullet (a decision more than a few fish probably regretted later), while Steve went with some old Everglades faithfuls. A few gallons of gas, a quick gas station breakfast, and it was off to the boat ramp. We pulled up to Outdoor Resort (also known as "Kenny's Place" to Everglades regulars much like some people refer to Juno Bait as "Todd's place") to find only a handful of boat trailers in the parking lot. A quick splash and we were in the water.
Leaving Outdoor Resort I couldn't help but sing Jimmy Buffett's "That's what living is to me" in my head. The song seemed to fit the situation. The lines based on a Mark Twain quote,"Be good and you will be lonesome. Be lonesome and you will be free", seemed to fit the situation as we departed semi-civilization; unsure of wether we would see anybody else for the rest of the day. Feelings of extreme loneliness and complete freedom are both possible on any given day in the "backcountry".
The ride into the backcountry from Chokoloskee is one that every angler who enjoys inshore fishing should get to experience at some point in their angling career. The run is combination of visual beauty; and at the same time a white knuckle thrill ride through mangrove rivers, over shallow sandbars, across wide open bays, and around lower unit destroying oyster bars that requires local knowledge or years of experience. Luckily for me; Steve and his dad can make the run in the dark (something I can also personally attest to), so I was able to sit back and enjoy the ride.
The "No Wake" sign at Gopher is one of the last man made things we would see as we headed further back into the backcountry (and at the same time closer to the Gulf of Mexico). The ride through Gopher has tightened over the years, and I was certain at times we were going to crunch Steve's poling platform a time or two. Our insistence on trolling lures through the tightest spots (a tactic that continues to produce bites from some of the biggest snook) doesn't help keep the scratches off Steve's hull. After sneaking through Gopher, we jumped a few bays, passed the ONLY boat we would see all day, and got down to some serious fishing.
The Vudu Mullet was an instant hit, with numerous snook jumping all over it. The action on the Vudu is fantastic, and I found it great as a "cast and wind" or twitch bait that the snook jumped all over.
Steve did an awesome job of poling us into some great spots, and used the height advantage to get a couple great looks at a few nice snook early. The Vudu Mullet caught a lot of fish for me, but a white Gulp Jerkbait still gets an awful lot of bites!.
This was one of the nicer snook that couldn't help but jump all over the Vudu Mullet. The morning bite was pretty good, and we were lucky to catch a decent number of snook and put a small tarpon or two in the air. As the morning wore on the heat set in, and the fishing began to slow.
We pushed further back as the day wore on. The trolling motor got a MAJOR workout this day. We asked a lot out of it, but it did all we could have asked for...and then some! You do a lot of looking, pushing, and working to get into the best spots.
Luckily the monsters started biting around mid-day!
The true "lonesome" feeling settled in as a massive storm built over us while we tried to get to some fish in the back of a very remote bay. While hiding from the thunderstorm, we decided that someone up above was looking out for the big snook on that bank we had worked so hard to get to. Each crack of thunder reminded us it was much better to just let that snook be.
We thought the fish would fire up after the storm, but they remained bait spooky. I was trying to snap a cool picture of the Vudu and Daiwa Ballistic, when the lone redfish of the trip popped up. Steve worked hard to get a shot at (and I worked hard to get a shot of) the tailing red. His cast was great, and my camera work was fair, but it wasn't meant to be as the tailing red spooked off (if you look close in the above picture you an see the redfish spook off the bait).
We worked hard, but not nearly as hard as the trolling motor, to get out of the back bay and make our way back to the "ditch". The falling tide made it tough, but we sneaked out of the shallowest spots and made our way into some fishy looking spots.
This gator didn't like us in his stretch of canal. After snapping a few pics we let him be and continued on. The afternoon wore on and the fish started to fire up.
As we fished a productive stretch of bank I was overwhelmed with thoughts of just how great of fishery the Everglades backcountry really is. I think at one point I said to Steve "There are a lot of places that I haven't been, and a lot of places I'd like to go and fish. But, I really can't imagine anywhere else in the world better than this." Not long after making that statement, a juvenile tarpon rolled in front of me and a well placed cast quickly had him all over my lure. A beautiful strike and hook set had the tarpon in the air, and in my head I was already planning where to a ask Steve to go and look for a trout and redfish to finish the slam after we took the pics, But, as tarpon do so well after a few jumps the Vudu mullet came back towards us with no tail and the tarpon went freely on his way.
As the day started to slip away we trolled back through Gopher, headed back to check a spot or two before heading out. The mouth of Gopher, we were greeted with a wide variety of life; snook popping minnows, rolling tarpon, lazy gator, feeding ladyfish, playful dolphin, and even a cruising shark.
Steve put the finishing touches on a good day of fishing with this chunky snook. Despite our best efforts to coax the tarpon into biting, they chose not to play. The snooklets were in their usual spots on the backside of Alligator Creek, but the with the sun starting to sink low in the western sky we called it a day.
The ride back to Chokoloskee was beautiful as the sun sank in the west and the thunderstorms pushed their way offshore. No better place to be, and in my head...
"The stories from my favorite books
Still take on many different looks
And I'm gone again, home again
The time has come the walrus said
And little oysters hide their head
My twain of thought is loosely bound
I guess it's time to mark this down"
Thanks For Reading,
OFFSHORE- Nice looking weather forecast for the upcoming holiday weekend will no doubt make for a busy ocean the next few days. Those looking to avoid the crowds will be best advised to top the fuel tank off and take a long run offshore in search of dolphin. The best dolphin reports this week have come from way out deep, so don't plan on stopping till around 1000' of water. It's the usual dolphin game at that point; look for the fins to be on well defined weed lines, floating debris, current rips, or under working birds. The full moon this week did have the wahoo biting pretty good, and they should bite into the weekend. Look for the wahoo to be feeding around the 120' ledge from Palm Beach to Jupiter Inlet during low light periods of the day, and out deeper when the sun is higher up. Trolling a bait down a little deeper is a great way to entice a wahoo strike. Split tail mullet make a killer wahoo bait, and will swim well for extended periods of time. Inside of the 120' ledge a few kingfish are biting, as are a few very late season cobia. Snapper fishing has been very good, with some very nice mutton snapper being caught. Fresh sardines or bonita strips are great baits to grab a big muttons attention.
INSHORE- Good catch and release snook fishing right now in the Intracoastal and Loxahatchee river. Look for the snook to actively feed around bridge fenders and dock lights at night on an outgoing tide, and also along seawalls early in the morning. Mangrove snapper, including some really nice ones, are biting around the bridges at night on small live pilchards and shrimp. Still seeing a decent number of sheepshead and occasional black drum in the ICW around the bridges. The Loxahatchee river has a few tarpon rolling around early in the morning.
SURF/PIER- Great time of year to try and catch a big snook along the beach right now. The snook are feeding well early in the morning, and are willing to bite a large assortment of lures. The Spooltek has been the lure of choice for some monster snook early in the morning at the Juno Beach Pier this week. The Juno Beach Pier has also been catching a fair number of bonita, jacks, and stray kingfish or two. Some tarpon schools are making their way along the beach, and are up rolling mainly early in the morning. A live sardine, thread fin, or crab is a great choice to toss in front of a rolling tarpon. Hearing a few reports of some spanish mackerel on the beach north of Jupiter Inlet.
SHOP UPDATE- Lots of good stuff going on in the new shop. We have some new stuff in, new stuff on the way, and more cool stuff in the works. The bait freezers are full for the holiday weekend, and with any luck the live shrimp situation will improve over the next few days.
Thanks For Reading,