Well, with spring break in full swing here in Summerland Key, we have been running trips every day! We have been beyond blessed with the response down here and are continuing to work hard to provide a great experience for everybody who chooses Final Point Charters for their fishing/snorkeling needs in the Lower Keys.
Over the last week we have had some horrendous wind, but thankfully it started to lay down Wednesday morning. With the seas and winds still elevated Wednesday afternoon, we decided to stay in the backcountry to the North of Summerland Key. We ended up doing 3 different fisheries and Jay and Krissy caught 5 new to them species including trout, barracuda, lemon shark, ladyfish, and jack crevalle. Despite the near 20mph winds we had a great time and were ready to go the next morning.
The next morning we were on a mission to get Krissy a World record. Our goal was black or red grouper on 4lb test. To say this is a tough challenge is an understatement!! We hooked plenty of fish, but getting them away from their rocks was another thing all together. We ended up missing the World Record for Red Grouper by 2 inches on the one grouper we were able to get to the boat. We did catch a pile of YT snapper though to make the grouper defeat a little more palatable.
My guys for Thursday afternoon were long time clients/friends from the Sebastian area. The idea was meat fishing so we made our way out to the patch reefs to see if we could load the box. Well, if grouper was in season we’d have sunk the boat, but as it was we still came back with a limit of YT snapper and some other mixed lanes and mangroves. Good eats to be had by all!
Friday morning had me meeting return client Cotty with his son Josh and his niece’s husband Jonty. I asked them if they wanted fish to eat or big fish and the unanimous response was “Big Fish”! So we headed to the back country and started drifting a flat that I know holds big cudas. The first hit we got was on Josh’s rod on the bow of the boat. He says “Oh!! He missed it!”, which made me turn his way just in time to see a giant torpedo of a barracuda inhale his lure 15′ from the boat. He hit coming at Josh and when he felt the hook he took to the air slamming into the side of the Triton right at Josh’s feet!! After rebounding the cuda headed under the boat at mach 3. And while Josh had to keep his rod submerged in the water to keep the line from breaking on the bottom of the boat, the rest of us were treated with the cudas aerial display as he burned off 60yds of line while staying more out of the water than in it. But Josh did a great job of fighting this hard running fish and several minutes later a true trophy cuda hit the net. At nearly 30lbs it was the biggest fish he had ever caught! We caught several more cudas throughout the day, but couldn’t complete the day with the requested big shark. So, we ended the day catching more smaller cudas and everybody left with great memories and sore arms.
Saturday started out with rough but clear conditions which made the reef fishing tough. Myself and my crew of 3 decided that after giving it a go for the first part of the day(with only a few catch and release grouper to show for our efforts) that we would head out back. We opted to throw soft plastic mirrolure lil’ Johns for trout and whatever else we could catch. Over the next 2hrs we caught several trout to 20″, lane and mangrove snapper, numerous ladyfish, jack cravalle, and big bluefish. We were catching 50 fish an hour. Hard to complain about that as a back up plan!!
The fishing in the Lower Keys and Summerland Key in particular is nothing short of amazing!! Book your trip to come see how awesome it really is!
Until next time, Tight Lines!
Had an afternoon trip planned so, with a brief weather window before 4 days of strong winds, we baited up and headed to some nearshore patch reefs. With a well full of nice sized pinfish, a bonita in the cooler for cut bait, and several dozen nice pilchards as back up we were loaded for whatever wanted to play. We reach the first spot and immediately deployed the chum block. While we were waiting for the chum block to work it’s magic, my guy pinned a pinfish to a jig head and started floating it down to the bottom. Well, that poor pinfish had a life expectancy of about 12 seconds on this particular spot and this time it was even shorter than that. Half way to the bottom and his line gets hammered and it’s now a serious tug of war. But, this time at least, the angler won and a 25″ black grouper came on board for a quick photo op and back to the water he went.
Over the next couple of hours we spent time catching yellow tail, mangrove snapper, red grouper, bonita, and more black grouper. The highlight of the day came on a live pilchard that got slurped up by a 29″ black grouper that better be thanking it’s lucky stars that grouper season is still 2 months away. And, with the sun setting and a box full of goodies, we headed home. Did I mention that this was only a half day trip? Yeah, that’s the greatest thing about fishing here in Summerland Key. Everything is close by and the options are just endless! This place is definitely an anglers paradise!
Until next time, Tight Lines!!
I had the pleasure of having Derek and Lacey on board for 3 days of fishing and snorkeling in and around Summerland Key located at the mid-point in the beautiful Lower Keys. Our first trip was a half-day afternoon excursion out to Looe Key to sample some of the best snorkeling opportunities in the country! Despite the “chilly” wintertime water(76 degrees), these Oklahoma natives had a great time getting up close and personal with the abundant sea life found in the protected waters of Looe key. After everybody was safely back on board we headed to some good bottom fishing areas and deployed the chum bag. Lacey didn’t even need the chum because her first drop down resulted in a what would have been keeper red grouper had the season been open. The next bait down results in a just undersized black grouper, and then some 16-17″ mutton snapper. By this time the chum slick is rolling and Derek hooks into something with weight and up pops and 8lb mutton snapper!! A few small(but keeper) yellow tails join their mutton cousin in the yeti in between catches of grouper, sharks, and many just too short muttons. About this time the bait fish have found our chum slick so I tell Dereck to cast a Mucho Minnow back there and see what might want to chew. Well, it didn’t take long for a freight train to decide he liked the way that minnow was moving! Something with some shoulders smashed that plug and started heading towards the Tortugas. 3 trips around the boat and some serious up and down fighting later, a 28# jack hits the net. I said it in my last post but I will say it again, these things will put ALL of your tackle to the test!! About this time the sun is setting, the cooler has got some nice eats in it, and Derek was pretty much done after that arm crushing jack, so we headed to the barn.
Monday greeted us with some stiff 20+mph East winds…..not the best for fishing. But, because of the unique waters of the Lower Keys and Summerland Key in particular, there are plenty of secluded, wind protected areas to go have some fun!! We started the day on a flat I like to fish for some toothy barracudas. With tube lures tied on all around we let the wind “drift” us down the flat. First in on the action was Lacey(again) with a large hit followed by that little Penn 2500 reel getting SMOKED!! Several jumps and line screaming runs later, a close to 20lb barracuda hits the net. Now, we don’t usually keep these things, but for today they were going to play a role in the next phase of our fishing so into the cooler it went. Not to be outdone, Derek gets a line screamer of his own and he brings his own cuda on board for a photo op. But, unlike Lacey, Derek decides to lean in for a kiss with his new fishy friend. Lacey wasn’t so much jealous of the kiss as she was worried that he was going to come back without some lips!! But, the relationship between man and cuda took sour turn when Derek released her into the Yeti. After we drifted the same flat twice…..while catching 7 more smaller cudas and losing another full grown model….we headed North in search of bigger game. We posted up on a fishy looking flat and deployed the powerpole. Now is when our cuda friends were going to earn their keep. I butterflied the biggest one and hung him over the side on rope. The smaller one I cut into chunks and added the carcass to the same rope as her bigger brother. Well, it didn’t take long for the sharks to show up. Lacey, yielding her place as the first fish catcher, let Derek throw the first bait out. Well, it took about 30 seconds for a Lemon Shark in the 5′ class to inhale his bait and it was off to the races. For those of you who have never done this kind of fishing I’m here to tell you it’s a blast!! Crystal clear water, big fish, aggressive strikes, and blistering runs will make anybody’s adrenaline kick into overdrive!! After a boatside release of Derek’s Lemon, Lacey put out a bait and was hooked up within seconds. But, unlike Derek’s shark, Lacey’s was a Bull Shark in the 6′ range. Again, blistering runs, 1 jump, and a heart pounding charge at the boat made this type of fishing a highlight of the trip! After a quick boatside photo op, Mr. Bull went back to patrolling the flats. Having caught all the big fish they could handle we went in search of some food for the table. We ran farther into the backcountry and started fishing some deep grass flats. We spent the next 2 hours catching a mixed bag of mutton snapper, mangrove snapper, jacks, ladyfish, and a boat limit of some beautiful trout….all on MirrOlure Lil’ John soft plastics. Derek though couldn’t get away from the sharks and had a real surprise when an 9′ Bull Shark breached on the trout he was fighting. It was too bad about the trout but the show the shark put on was one for the books!! By this time we had done 3 different fisheries and found success at all 3. Again, with a cooler full of good eats and everybody with sore arms, we headed back to the dock with plans to meet for a half day trip the following morning.
The next day greeted us with even worse conditions…..25-30mph winds. With the ocean side not even an option we headed north into the backcountry. First stop was the trout grounds where we caught tons of ladyfish and jacks, but only 2 keeper trout. With a back to the dock time of noon we pushed on to find better fishing. We cleared the last key leading out into the gulf and set up on some rocks in 18′ of water. Fish started quickly coming into the boat with catches of yellow tail, mutton, and lane snappers, red and gag grouper, and grunts. We had fun catching many additions to the cooler over the next hour before the sharks moved in so thick that no bait lasted longer than 10 seconds without one of those toothy critters picking it up. With the day coming to an end we made one pass by the cuda flats from the day before, and with 3 bites and no takers, we called it quits.
In 1 full day of fishing and 2 half day trips we fished 5 different fisheries and got to do some world class snorkeling. People ask me why I moved down here and this post says it all!!
Until next time….Tight Lines!
I had the pleasure of taking Cotty and his 2 grown sons Mark and Joel out on a half day trip here in Summerland Key today. We had a big blow yesterday so we were still feeling the affects with higher than normal winds and waves along with some pretty stirred up water clarity. The guys met me at the dock just in time to wait out a brief shower and then we were off to the blue. We cleared the last set of markers and headed offshore into some less than stellar conditions….a close period 2-3′ and some rain in the distance. But, my guys were game so we made our way out to fishing grounds.
Because the conditions were not the greatest we started our day in shallow on some coral heads. We made a pass over the area I wanted to fish and deployed the Minn-Kota spot lock as our anchor. I threw a chum bag over the side and set about getting our gear in order. Joel was first up when the pinfish he was drifting back into the slick gets hammered!! This fish had some serious shoulders and took Joel completely around the boat and then went vertical. An arm-wrenching 5 minutes later and a 20+lb Jack Crevalle hits the net. Let me tell you, those things are the pound for pound champ in our waters! Nothing, and I mean nothing, pulls like they do. After pictures and hi-fives the fishing resumed.
Next up in the action was Cotty. He was drifting back a weighted hook with a nice piece of Spanish mackerel for bait when it gets smoked. At first the fish wasn’t acting that big but then it started stripping line like it had somewhere else to be. As fast as it took line it doubled back and headed right at the boat. After that it was only a short time until a long silver profile showed itself and a King Mackerel in the 25lb class hit the Yeti. Smoked fish dip for everybody!!
Not to be outdone, Mark sends his bait back into the slick and gets the hit he had been looking for. His rod bends double as his fish starts digging for the reef, but Mark did a good job of keeping his rod high and the pressure on. A couple of good runs later and a few head shakes and a mouth watering Mutton Snapper hits the ice next to his buddies. In-between these fish we also caught yellow tail snapper, red grouper, sharks, and an assortment of other bottom dwellers.
By this time the weather is deteriorating so we headed into the backcountry to finish out our day. First stop was a deep grass flat and we started out throwing 1/4oz jig heads with various colors of Mirrolure Lil’ Johns on them. Everybody had a great time catching trout to 22″, jacks, some nice mangrove snapper, and ladyfish. So, with sore arms and a full cooler, we headed back to the dock. Today was the very definition of why I love fishing the lower keys. Weather not the greatest? No problem. It gets worse? We still have great fisheries we can access. In a half day we fished offshore for snapper and kingfish AND inshore for trout and other assorted critters. In a HALF DAY trip!! This is something that is just not possible in many other areas of the state!
The fishing is only going to get better down here in Summerland so be expecting some more of these posts!
Until then, Tight Lines!
Well, we finally completed the move down here to Summerland Key during the first week of January. For those of you who don’t know Summerland is located equal distance(about 30mins) from both Marathon Key and Key West. Being centrally located in the Lower Keys, Summerland is one of the fishiest places I’ve ever had the pleasure of casting a line! I can be in blue water 6 miles from my dock or I can be in the backcountry in half of that. Having the choices that we have here allows for a wide range of fishing opportunities….as you will see from the pictures!
One of the best things about this area is the variety you can encounter on any given day. Have calm winds? Head out to the Atlantic side to fish the reef for an assortment of groupers and snappers, king mackerel, and various members of the tuna family. Winds are howling? Head to the backcountry for trout, mangrove snapper, mackerel, sharks, and Barracuda.
I’m just going to walk you through one particular day we had about a week ago. I was busy that morning so the only option we had was a quick afternoon trip. My buddy Danilo met me at my dock around 3pm and we headed out to the reef to take advantage of the nice weather and calm seas. Because we didn’t have much time we elected to stay shallow and fish structure in Hawks channel. We picked a spot that I had marked but never fished before and set out a chum block. We gave it a minute for the chum to start working and then started sending baits back in the slick. Armed with a well full of pinfish and a cooler full of various dead bait we were prepared for anything. One of Danilo’s first baits back was quickly inhaled by a nice quality Mutton Snapper. Dinner mission accomplished!! After that was some keeper, albeit small, mangrove snapper. Then a good thump on a live pinfish turns into a serious tug of war with a keeper, albeit out of season, black grouper. A couple more just undersized mutton snappers hit the deck along with a 4′ moray eel that couldn’t resist my pinfish on a knocker rig. Then we started getting cut off….almost as soon as the baits hit the water. Curious as to what toothy critter was out there eating our gear, I threw a Guides Secret Mucho Minnow on my 5000 series Penn Battle II and casted it back into the slick. I engage the reel and almost had the rod yanked out of my hand in the same instant!! A few minutes and one lap around the boat later a 20lb king hits the gaff. After that it was nothing but pandemonium on the Triton as cast after cast resulted in 20lb schoolie kings on the Mucho. We quickly caught our limit and, with a box full of goodies and the sun setting, we headed back to the dock. Total time from pulling away and pulling back into the dock was under 3 hours. Got to love wintertime fishing in the Florida Keys!!
Until next time….Tight Lines!!
Well, it’s been a long time since I sat down in front of this computer to put together a fishing report. And, as usual, when it’s been a long time there is a whole bunch to talk about. November and December has been absolutely some of the best fishing that I can remember. It was rare that we went out without catching our limit of snook. To add to that there were plenty of redfish(both slobs and slots), black drum, trout, and even some bonus pompano from time to time. We caught trout that were pushing 30 inches back in the mangroves. We caught snook that had shoulders over 7 inches wide. We got redfish whos tails were bigger than my outspanned hand. And we had several days where all of our keeper snook were over 31 1/2″(which is quite a feat when the limit is 28″-32″). And, as usual, I could tell you about our trips but I will let the pictures do the talking. This report will be followed up by an offshore fishing version as well.
I will be fishing in the Sebastian Area through the end of this year but after the 1st my wife and I will be pulling up stakes and moving down to Summerland Key which is about 24 miles outside of Key West. I will be taking a little time off from chartering to get settled in down here but will begin booking trips again starting in March. Hopefully some of you will be willing to make the trip down here to sample the awesome fishing in the Florida Keys!!
Until next time….tight lines!!
Ok, so that title is a little weird but after you’ve been writing these for a while it’s hard to come up with good ideas all the time.
Over the last few weeks the fishing has been good all over the spectrum. My wife and I returned from an anniversary trip on May 15th and I went right to work that afternoon. Had some good trips over the next 4 days or so that included snook, reds, trout, jacks, and flounder all caught on artificials. The week after that was mostly offshore with many, many red snapper, mangrove snapper, gag grouper, some really nice triggerfish, and one mahi that I failed to get a good pic of. Then it was back inshore for 2 trips to catch a late season slot snook along with a few jumbo reds and jacks before going back offshore for a repeat of the previous week. After being shut down for 3 days because of rain and wind, I am about to start up a really busy rest of June. By the way, the one brown is flounder…..the 2 red are American Red Snapper and Redfish…..and the 3 grey are Gag “grey” grouper, Grey Trigger fish, and Mangrove “grey” snapper.
This time of year is great for fishing because of mostly moderate temperatures and calm seas. I spend the majority of June and July out of the sight of land and hope to keep up that pattern this year. If’ you’re interested in going offshore it is hard to beat the next 2 months here on the Treasure Coast.
I’m really sorry if you’ve called or emailed me about trips recently….I’ve just been so busy that I don’t have the days available that I usually have. Please keep calling and we’ll get out there sooner or later! Until then, Tight Lines!
The last 2 weeks have been a mixture of offshore and inshore for the Triton.
Offshore we had good catches of BIG American Redsnapper, several species of grouper, stud mangrove snapper, mahi mahi, and trigger fish. Inshore the redfishing and snook fishing has been consistent and, at times, spectacular. On the rare occasions when it’s a little slower we’ve been filling the time with bluefish, pompano, and jacks. We’ve also gotten several juvenile goliath grouper. Inshore fishing will stay consistent over the next several weeks and the offshore will only get better.
Now, that the fishing report is out of the way I want to talk about a phone call I had the other day. Yesterday(Saturday, April 16th)
Me: Hello, Final Point Charters.
Customer: Hi, I’m interested in an offshore charter for this coming Monday. Do you have any availability?
Me: Well, yes, I have the day. But the forcast is for 20+knt winds and 7-10′ seas.
Customer: Oh……..is that bad? (yes, he said that)
Me: Well, it means that we’d most likely not make it back to shore alive.(only half joking)
Customer: So…….(wait for it) ………(wait for it)…….does that mean we can’t go out?(Yes, he actually said that)
Me: (scratching my head) Yes, that means we can’t go out.
Customer: Oh……..ok……can you recommend anybody else?
At this point I was thinking of giving him the number of some of my buddies just to hear their reactions, but I was afraid they’d come after me once they figured out I referred them. Anyway, this story made my wife laugh so I figured I’d share it. Enjoy the pics as well, and until next time, Tight Lines!!
The title says it all. The target for us most of the last 2 weeks has been the abundant overslot redfish in the Sebastian Inlet. My favorite way of targeting these bruisers is on the drift using minimal terminal tackle….just a piece of fluorocarbon, a 4/0 circle hook, and enough weight to get the bait under the bluefish. Using tackle like this makes the strike, and the subsequent fight, all that much more fun!! There is something about the way a 20+lb redfish hits a live bait that is completely unmistakable.
There are days when my clients arms just can’t take the fight from those giant reds so we’ve been doing other types of fishing as well. One of my favorites is light tackle pompano fishing with artificials. Not only is it fun, but most of what you catch is great table fare. The majority of fishermen here on the east coast of Florida target pompano from the surf using up to 12′ rods and heavy weight. These same fishermen are surprised to find out how hard a pompano fights when it is caught using little 2500 series reel with 10lb braid. And, if they’ve never eaten one before, they quickly find out why these fish are so highly prized on the table.
No matter what kind of fishing we’ve been doing this month the results have been the same. Sore arms, full bellies, and smiling faces!! Until next time, Tight Lines!
This is routinely one of my favorite times of year. After the cold and windy February(the closest thing we get to a winter in Sebastian), March tends to bring forth warmer water, warmer temperatures, and all around better fishing conditions. Gone are the days of having to hide inshore from the wind and waves and it’s off to the beach and the deep blue sea for some salt therapy.
Over the last 3 weeks we’ve had some great days on the water with big redfish being the norm in the inlet, the beaches are covered up in nice sized spinner and black tip sharks in the 80-150lb range, and the offshore bottom bite is only eclipsed by how good the kingfishing has been. Doing several different kinds of fishing in the same 3/4 or full day trip is one of the main reasons I look forward to March all of February. This level of fishing should stay strong for the next month…..but after that we have a mahi run to look forward to, the return of the snook to the inlet, and that fantastic mutton snapper fishery we get here. Here are a few pics to show how the fishing has been over the last 20 days or so and a little appetite wetter for what we can expect for the next 30. Tight lines!!