Patty and I fished yesterday afternoon in Islamorada. We hooked up a tarpon on the second cast and the action continued until dark. We released four tarpon, jumped three others, and broke off two more. It was very good. Pro Tip: When fighting fish, the amount of pressure should always change relative to the fishes behavior. Examples would be more pressure when a fish is coming at you and lessening pressure on strong runs away from you. No matter what, line should either be coming in or going out. The static bend in the rod without line coming in or out does nothing but give the fish more time to get off.
Fished yesterday with Shane and Rich in Islamorada. We started out the morning on the flats. Shane started us off with a 50-60 pound lemon shark on the flats. We moved to the reef and caught cero mackerel, blue runners, yellow tail, and we broke off a huge barracuda. We made a move and caught snappers, jacks, look downs, and a few more blue runners. It was a good day. Pro Tip: Live bait needs to be lively. If your bait is tired, put on a fresh one and hang on!
Fished today with Rich, Shane, and Patty in Islamorada. We had an epic day! Shane had a grand slam and caught a bonefish, tarpon, and permit in a single trip! A day to remember for sure! We also caught and released bonnet head sharks, lemon sharks, gag grouper, Spanish mackerel, jacks, lady fish, black drum, moonfish, and speckled trout. Patty also had her first permit that weighed in at 15 pounds (also released.). More pics to follow. Pro Tip: In order to effectively hook fish with circle hooks, there can be NO bend in the rod at all. Only lift the rod after the fish pulls drag.
Patty and I arrived in the Keys yesterday and we fished today. We had a great day. We started off on the flats and caught three bonnet head sharks and broke off a nice lemon shark sight fishing. We changed tactics and moved. It turned out to be a great idea. We had seven tarpon bites. We jumped four tarpon and released a fifth. We also caught lady fish, mutton snapper, jacks, and Spanish mackerel. It was a great way to start off my Keys fishing season. Pro Tip: Current is important to success. Too little and nothing happens. Too much and presentation is difficult. Finding the productive window of just the right flow makes all the difference.
Fished Tom, Jim, and Mike on Saturday in the ocean. Fishing was a bit slow but we trolled up one striper. It was a cold but beautiful day. Pro Tip: In many ways, dry equals warm. On the ocean, it is very important to keep dry to stay warm. Spray is inevitable and once your wet it is impossible to dry out. Wearing a waterproof outer layer is a must in cold weather conditions.
Fished again with Mike Roth last weekend. We brought out the flyrod for a second day. Mike caught two bass on the fly and I had another two on the spinning rod. Pro Tip: The sink rate of the fly is as important as the size and color. Many times a slightly heavier fly will out produce other flies when fishing in the ocean.
Fished this weekend with Mike in the ocean for stripers. Mike wanted to fly fish for the bass. The trolling bite has been much better but we decided to catch them the way we wanted to catch them. We ended up catching and releasing five stripers. Mike caught two on the fly and we had three others on jigs. Pro Tip: Surface feeding bass sometimes respond better to floating lines rather than sinking lines. Even a few inches below the surface can cause refusals in certain situations.
Fished with Ken, Mike, and friends yesterday in the ocean. It took a while, but we found the big stripers feeding well. We were trolling and we caught four big stripers from 25-31 pounds. We also released a 27" striper as well. We pulled the hook on three others. The quality of the fish this year has been great. Pro Tip: You're not fishing if you're not trolling your striper gear on the bottom. In deep water this means slowing down and letting out more line. Braid is a big help in accomplishing this.
Fished with Jim and friends yesterday in the ocean. We ended up finding one nice striper on the troll. It weighed in at 23 pounds. Lots of bait and whales around. Pro Tip: Your trolling speed matters. Sometimes small adjustments slower or faster make a huge difference. Pay attention to differences in down sea versus up sea speeds.
Fished with David and Fred yesterday in the ocean. We trolled one nice striper that was 23 pounds. The fish have been big but the numbers have been down. We hooked and lost another big fish in a micro blitz that was extremely short lived. Pro Tip: Have small jigs on hand. When fish come up to the surface, a small soft plastic may be the only thing they eat.
Fished with Rich and friends yesterday in the ocean. We headed out and found a few big stripers. We hooked four big bass on the troll and landed two of them. The biggest fish was 42" and around 35 pounds. The other was 26 pounds. Both were released. We moved into the bay and caught and released one 26" bass on a spot. The fishing has been getting better slowly and it should bust wide open any day. Pro Tip: The edges of structure frequently hold fish. When trolling, a pattern that moves from shallow to deep or deep to shallow is frequently productive.
Fished with Doug on Saturday out of Sea Isle. We headed out in the ocean looking for stripers. The conditions were a bit tough and there fish are not here en mass as of yet but we did catch one that was 45" and about 38 pounds on the troll. We released the fish. We pulled the hook on two or three others. It's not great, but it's a start. Pro Tip: Constant pressure, instead of pumping and winding, keeps fish on the hook better when using heavy lures like umbrella rigs or mojos. The inherent weight of the lure can and will shake the hook loose if you pump and wind.
Patty and I snuck out at sunset last night. The fishing in the bay has been terrific for smaller stripers. We caught a few on jigs and headed in. The bay striper fishing will continue for a while. The ocean bass fishing is just getting started!
I'm finished in Montauk this year but I realized I didn't post some pictures from a previous trip. Fished with Darryl, Bill, Matt, and Dave in Montauk a few weeks ago. We had three albies, one striper, and a bunch of blues. We also had a bunch of sea bass up to 20". Pro Tip: Approach breaking fish from upwind. This improves casting distance and your presentation.
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.