Follow the Yellow Brick Road all the way to the Lower Keys!!

Well, I had the day off today so I gave a call to Capt. Marcus of Hot Rod Charters up in Big Pine and we headed out to the reef to enjoy guides day off.  First spot was a nice area of the reef where I had caught good grouper at before.  There was a little life down on the rocks so we set out the anchor and started chumming.  The goal for the day was to scout some ground for the opening day of grouper season on May 1st.  Well, after an hour on that spot with only a handful of Bonitas and 1 yellowtail to show for our trouble, we decided to make a move. 

We crossed the reef again and headed back into Hawks channel to see if the coral heads were still holding the grouper they were last week.  But, with zero current and gin clear water, the bite was extremely tough.   We strung together a decent stringer of small fish and picked up and headed back out deeper. 

My goal had been to scout a few spots I had, but with the weather finally being nice, there were a lot of other boats out there today.   And, not wanting to crowd anybody, we ended up fishing in the same general area we had started the day in.  Again…..we set the anchor.  Again…..the reef looked good.  Again….we put out the chum block.  But, this time, we flat filled the boat with Yellow Tail with an 18″ average.  You see, when the snapper come up to the top the way they did today, we call it “the yellow brick road”.  There is no sweeter sight in the Keys! We added a nice grey trigger, a couple more bonita, broke off what I think were 2 grouper(I’ll be back for you!!), and even fed a few to a very aggressive bull shark that decided our boat resembled a buffet line. 

We ended the day by checking out some shallow areas that will be hotspots as the mangrove snappers make their move offshore for the spawn.  But, the fish weren’t there yet.  After catching 3 grunts we called it a day.  And, even with all of that, we still hit the dock before noon.  We both had a nice cold beer while cleaning fish and we went our separate ways with 2 bags of some of the finest eating on the planet.  Not too bad for an impromptu trip with a  buddy!!  You have got to love Summerland Key this time of year….and it’s only going to get better over the next 3 months! 

Until next time, tight lines!!



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Charter fishing Florida Keys with Captain Ryan Dean, Sebastian Inlet, full grown, trout, Triton, Penn, giant fish, best fishing, best fishing charter, Summerland Key, Lower Keys, Cudjoe Key, Key West, Keys Fishing, Triton, Penn, Giant Fish, Fishing Charter, Best Charter in the Keys, Capt. Ryan Dean, Final Point Charters, Full Grown, Sore Arms, Charter fishing the Keys, memmorystix rods, mirrolure, lil john, guides secret


  1. Todd Grooms says:

    Good intell


  2. Dave Logan says:

    Hi, I haven’t been down to the keys in years, but it looks like me and some buddies can make it in June. Last time down there we were on a head boat and some grunts started coming up. The captain almost apologized and asked everyone to reel em up and quickly moved the boat. My dumb snobird question is are grunts an acceptable catch these days ? I’m told at least the tourists are catching something. Please say it ain’t so. Thanks, Dave Pittsburgh Pa

    • Yes, you can eat grunts. Just ask all the old timer keys guys and they’ll talk about grunts and grits. But no, they are never your target species. If I stop at a spot that is over-run with grunts I will move areas. There is no reason to sit there and waste bait when there are much better things to catch.

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