Fished with the Mike's on Saturday. We started out sight fishing on the flats. We caught and released five lemon sharks and a bonnet head shark. The big shorts up to about 70 pounds. We had quite a few shots. We also caught snappers, jacks, grouper, look downs, and even a bluefish. We had a lot of action all day. Pro Tip: The higher in the water column fish are on the flats the more likely they are to eat. Hi and happy is what we call it. When the fish are along the bottom there are less likely to eat. Who knows why this is but their body language and desire to eat is completely different.
The family and I fished for a few more days down in the keys over Christmas break. The fishing seems just fine. We got lots of stuff including snappers, jacks, tarpon, bluefish, grouper, and several other species. Whilel there has been a lot of damage and you can definitely tell that the hurricane has passed through, overall there has been a lot of progress. Things look much better and even during the week that we were there it was noticeable improvement every day. A lot of the Oceanside properties really took a beating, but the Bayside properties fared much better. Everything that I utilize from lodging to fuel to marinas are up and running 100 percent. I'm looking forward to a fun winter season in the keys.
Ryan, Brady, Patty, and I headed out Fishing today in Islamorada. We caught a bunch of snappers and jacks to start. Then we headed into the backcountry chasing sharks. We pulled the hook on a lemon shark and landed a bonnet-head. We then went back to snappers and jacks. Ryan then made a great cast to rolling Tarpon and we fought and released the first Tarpon of the winter season. Pro Tip: Reacting quickly makes a difference. We had three seconds to make a cast to a pod of rolling Tarpon. Ryan saw the fish and made the cast. His quick reaction netted him his first Tarpon of the winter season.
Fished with Lori, Justin, and Luke yesterday in the Keys. Yes the keys are still there after the hurricane. In fact, where I go and what I have seen things look much better. There is definitely still evidence of the destruction, but the recovery has been pretty good from what I have seen. We started out fishing downtown and caught a bunch of snappers and jacks. We moved into the backcountry where we went one for three on lemon sharks and we also had a bonnet head shark. Pro Tip: Waiting until a fish turns to swim away increases your chances of a solid hookup with a circle hook. Sometimes this is easier said than done.
Fished with Mike last Sunday in the ocean for stripers. We set out to catch Stripers on the flyrod. We found the fish under birds and on the surface. We caught them with floating lines on the surface. We ended up catching and releasing 15 stripers up to 43". The fish of the day was Mike's 43" striper that weighed over 35 pounds that he caught on the fly. It was his personal best on the fly. The fishing was excellent. Pro Tip: Fish on the surface require a different approach. Forget those weighed lures and jigs. Unweighted soft plastics or floating lines on the flyrod are the best option. Other surface lures like poppers are another option that produces.
Fished with Larry in the ocean on Saturday. We headed out and found a few fish trolling. Then the birds showed up and the fish chewed on the surface. We ended up catching and releasing over a dozen more fish up to 43" and around thirty pounds. We had fantastic conditions and happy fish. Pro Tip: Bunker always swim into the wind. The movement of the bait is mirrored by the stripers.
Fished last Sunday with Frank and Dave in the ocean for stripers. We trolled up one keeper in tough conditions and called it a day. Pro Tip: Stagger your lines when trolling. Your "long" lines should be different lengths. The same is true for your short lines. This minimizes tangles when you turn.
Captain Joe Hughes -USCG Licensed 100 Ton Master-IGFA Certified
Joe Hughes has been working in the fishing business since he was eleven years old. Starting at Gibson's Tackle at that age, Joe's passion for the sport of fishing has steadily increased. Joe is a versatile angler who is comfortable poling a flats skiff as well as at the helm of a
sportfisherman competing in big game tournaments. During his years as a professional fisherman Joe has been featured in books and
magazines. His main passion is for salt-water fly-fishing. A teacher by trade, he enjoys sharing his knowledge about fly-fishing, fly-tying, and
fly-casting with his clients.