I went to Islamorada this weekend to pick up the skiff to bring it back to New Jersey. The family accompanied me on the journey and we were able to fish on Saturday. We caught some jacks, blue runners, cudas, hogfish, and snappers. We also hit the flats and sight fished sharks. We caught and released three lemon sharks to about sixty pounds. We also broke off a permit and a tarpon. It was a good season and we had great numbers of permit and tons of tarpon bites. Every year is different and we caught tons of fish every trip. Can't wait for next year. Spring fishing is starting up at home and it will be nice to fish in my backyard again on a regular basis. Pro Tip: For tarpon and sharks, baits need to be presented in front of the fish and on their level. Both will rarely notice a bait not on their level or go out of their way to eat it. It is always best if the fish "discovers" the bait on its own. In their world there are not too many shrimp or baitfish that deliberately swim towards them.
Fished tonight with JoAnne and crew. Things are just getting started in Sea Isle but someone has gotta be first! We headed out in the afternoon and managed to get the first striper of the year. We broke the ice and it's go time. Pro Tip: The first stripers of the year are caught when the daffodils start to bloom. Coincidences in nature make for great reminders.
Fished with Dick and Mike in Islamorada for a second day. We caught jacks, snappers, Spanish mackerel, pompano, and a few others. We also caught and released an 80 pound lemon shark sight fishing on the flats. We had several other shots but the visibility was really tough. Pro Tip: Loop knots are best to connect jigs to your leader. The loop allows a little extra action that triggers more bites.
Fished with Dick and Mike in Islamorada this weekend. The highlight of the first day was Mike's first permit. We caught and released three permit to 11 pounds. We also caught gag grouper, snappers, jacks, mutton snappers, cero and Spanish mackerel, and blue runners. On the flats we caught and released multiple lemon sharks sight fishing. It was a good day. Pro Tip: When sight fishing in overcast conditions, fish shallower than usual. You will be able to see fish finning even in flat light overcast conditions. It's not ideal but it will allow you to sight fish when others can't.
Fished with Jim and Tom for day two. We started out on the flats and released a few nice lemon sharks, including a beauty that was close to 100 pounds. We also released a bonnet head shark as well. These fish were all caught sight fishing. Watching that big shark eat was awesome! We turn moved from the flats and caught some jacks and snappers. We also hooked and jumped a nice tarpon that we fought for quite a while. The tarpon broke off after it wore through the leader. Tarpon fishing has been excellent and we are averaging more than one tarpon to the boat every weekend. This is in addition to the others that we hook and lose. Pro Tip: When fishing a jig, give it sufficient time to fall after jigging it. Most bites occur on the drop and if you jig it to soon you will miss out on bites that you would have had if you slowed things down.
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.