The heat of summer is definitely upon us. Make sure you have plenty of fluid on board to replace what you'll be perspiring away. For those who like to troll, get a #3 1/2 drone spoon down deep and you'll get your reward with kingfish and bonito. They've been anywhere from 100' out to over 200'. Drifting live bait will get you hits also if you find the area where the fish are concentrated. Early in the morning, there has been a very light NW wind for the past several days and a south current.
Running offshore for dolphin has been OK if you can deal with all the undersized fish that you should be throwing back. There has been lots of weed and debris and the birds continue to help with finding the schools. When you start finding the large grass patches, in past years you'd start licking your chops and tasting dolphin fillets. This year, you'll have to work hard running from patch to patch until you find the right one. Don't waste to much time at any one patch. If you don't get a bite quickly, drop a jig down deep. If this still gets no action, then move on to the next one.
If you just want to bend a rod, then save a bluerunner or two in your livewell and if you slow troll them in the right places, then you shouldn't have much trouble getting a large barracuda to inhale it. For the best fight, don't forget to us lighter tackle. Their jumps and runs can be amazing.
Saturday (7/23), Glen Tischner, his daughters Arista and Hope, and grandson Chris spent a day together fishing as a family. We started with running and gunning for dolphin. Once again birds and networking with other boats were the key to finding some fish. The first group of fish were all in the 15 to 19 1/2 inch range. Everyone got in on the action and enjoyed the pulling, tugging, and jumping of these beautifully colored fish. Every fish was released. The next group of fish was a carbon copy of the first. It was a shame to see some of the other boats that were on the school keeping every fish they caught. We worked our way out to 31 miles in search of larger fish. A boat out at 38 miles reported that they were also on throw back size fish. Moving back in a bit, we started finding all kinds of floating lumber inside of 20 miles. Of the six items we found, only the wooden cable spool held fish and you guessed it, they were all under size. Arista and Hope were catching fish as fast as they could put baits in the water. They were amazed at how visual the fishing was. Glen and Chris worked together as a team to release numerous fish and then Chris wanted to be the bait catcher. Every time some needed a bait, he scooped up a net full from the livewell and kept everyone supplied. We kept working our way back in with the intention of finishing the day on the reef. The first drift on the reef resulted in the mono leader getting chopped off by a toothy critter. The next drift had Arista fighting a kingfish that took a downrigger bait and Hope battling with a feisty bonito on a surface bait. Chris was helping me with the chumming process. Despite some heavy chumming, the last two drifts drew a blank and the day came to an end all to quickly. Final tally for the day was at least 24 dolphin caught and released, 1 kingfish, and 1 bonito.
Monday (7/25) Jose Sarraga and his friend Julio wanted a relaxing half day of fishing. Species of fish wasn't important, they just wanted some action and to listen to the sound of a protesting reel drag. We started off Haulover and with no current and little wind, slow trolling was in order. Julio grabbed the rod when the first fish hit and held on tight as a bonito dumped about half the reel before stopping. After a couple of more tacks in and out with no hits, we ran down to the Cuban Hole off Government Cut. This time Jose did battle with the next bonito. Neither angler had caught a bonito before and both were thrilled with how hard the fish fought. Next, we ran offshore and 7.5 miles out from the Sea Buoy, we fought a large grass patch that had dolphin and bluerunners on it. Once again the dolphin were of the throw back size. After catching and releasing 8 dolphin and 6 bluerunners, we moved further out in search of more action. We saw a free jumping sailfish that we were able to throw a bait at, however, it wasn't interested in feeding. Heading back in, we found another large grass patch. This time we watched as a small dolphin swim up to our live pilchards and then ignore them. The question is where are all the decent schoolie and gaffer size dolphin? Maybe we'll find them tomorrow. I'll let you know.
Tuesday (7/26) Eileen Clark, her brother Stephen, his son Matthew, and Matthew's friend Joey were looking forward to a day of fishing off the Miami coast. Like yesterday, species wasn't important. They just wanted any kind of action. Straight out from Haulover, we found a very light NW wind with a south current. The bonito action was good and both boys had their hands full pulling on the hard fighting bonito. After 7 fish, we headed offshore in search of dolphin. At 5 miles out, we found a weedline and a single tern put us on some fish. Everyone got in on the action using either live pilchards or a jig. After catching and releasing a dozen fish, we moved on with our search. We found lots of weedlines, scattered grass lines, and large patches of grass. At the 10 mile mark an exceptionally large patch had us in the fish again. Moving on, we came upon a school of porpoise and neither Matthew or Joey had seen them in the wild before. We spent some time with the porpoise cruising in our bow wake and pictures and video being taken. Along the way, we also caught a remora, a large houndfish, and 2 bluerunners. With the runners in the livewell, and with 24 dolphin caught and released, it was time to try for a barracuda. The first location had the bait getting nervous several times, but no strikes. At the second location, Joey did battle with a large barracuda that tested his stamina. After releasing the fish, it was time to head back to Spinnaker Marina and reflect on the days catch.
Wednesday (7/27) I had Alan Luchnick, his business associate Ben and Ben's two sons Mike and Nathan out for a half day of fishing. Once again we just wanted some action for the young boys and then some larger fish for the adults. Neither Mike or Nathan had been fishing before, so any action was great for them. We started with bonito straight out from Haulover. After catching 4 bonito and a remora, we headed offshore in search of some dolphin action. Between 5 and 9 miles, we found loads and loads of grass in large patches. We moved from patch to patch and finally found some large bluerunners under several of them. We kept two for some barracuda fishing later in the morning. After about the 25th patch, we found the largest one of the day and it had the dolphin under it. Ben, Mike, and Nathan were very excited at all the fish around the boat and how pretty the fish were. Alan had seen this type of action before and caught his share of fish. Meanwhile, Mike and Nathan wanted to keep catching and releasing fish, their Dad was having fun taking pictures, enjoying watching his children catching fish, and catching a few himself. As has been the pattern for the past week, every fish was a throw back. We had enough time left in the morning to try for some barracuda with the bluerunners. They didn't disappoint us and very quickly Alan had his hands full pulling on a 15# cuda. After pictures and releasing the fish, it was Ben's turn next. As the incoming tide pushed us through the Inlet, we got our reward once again and Ben did battle with a 20# barracuda. More pictures and the released fish swam away in a flash.