Groupers and Snappers Here in Summerland Key!! May 2017

May brought with it a pleasant change.  Not only did the weather man finally decide to play nice but grouper season opened up as well….and we have been taking full advantage of both of these provisions!  Most of my trips over the last couple of weeks have involved reef fishing for both snapper and groupers and we’ve been coming back with full coolers, sore arms, and smiling faces!! 

One such trip recently involved a family of 4 who used to fish with me up in Sebastian.  Deb, Jeff, Sam, and Will made the trip south to test out the beautiful waters here in Summerland Key.  We met at my dock at 630am and started our day by fishing my pinfish traps for a pile full of fresh baits.  With the livewell filled we pointed the nose of the Triton SW in search of a hump I had been fishing in 70′ for the previous week.  We get there and set up anchor after marking some nice fish.  I deployed 2 chum bags and we settled in to wait for the fish to come into our slick.  Well, it didn’t take long when we started seeing yellow tail snapper darting here and there gobbling up our chum pieces.  We put 2 anglers on the drift rods in the back and 2 anglers in the front on heavier tackle aiming at grouper.  We didn’t have to wait long until yellow tailed gold started making its way into the cooler!!

We cycled through anglers so everybody had a chance to catch some of the hard fighting yellowtail off of the stern while we were waiting for the big bite on the other rods.  Well, it so happened that Will had the honor of holding the big stick when it bends double!!  With a little bit of coaching he made short work of the big fish and a roughly 20lb black grouper joined his yellow tailed cousins in the box!  We stayed there for a little while longer but by this time the sharks had showed up and were getting more of our catch than we were.   So it was off to greener pastures. 

We made a quick stop at a wreck and started deploying vertical jigs in the hopes of inviting a blackfin home for dinner.  The first jig down gets hammered and I think were on the fish but up pops Mr. Blackfins not-so-popular cousin the Bonito.  While they are great fights they are not great eats so into the cooler he went to become bait later on.  The next bait and the next jig down resulted in the same thing… almost instant hookup and an equally quick shark attack.  There isn’t much fun in feeding all of your tackle and your fish to the Tax Man so we pointed the nose of the Triton towards bluer waters.  With a 6 mile run to the deep drop spots we deployed a trolling spread with different color skirts and started the troll to our next destination.  It didn’t take us too long to locate a nice weed line in a little over 300 feet and we turned to follow it.  Almost as soon as the lines came straight the port longline starts screaming and a good sized cow starts putting on an aerial display!!  Jeff grabs the rod for what would have been his best Mahi to date and starts working the fish to the boat.  Well, Jeff did everything right but it just wasn’t meant to be because after getting the fish into gaff range it ran under the boat, jumped, and gave us our lure back.  Oh well, that’s why it’s called fishing. 

This marked the end of our good fishing for the day because when we reached the deep drop area the current was ripping!!  We had a drift of almost 3mph and even with 6lbs of lead we couldn’t hold bottom.  We gave it the old college try but couldn’t get it done so we went back to trolling.  We trolled in depths from 600-250 and only had one short-strike to show for it.  But, with a cooler full of eats we headed back to the barn!!  It was definitely another great day on the gorgeous waters of the Lower Keys!!

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. Kirk McCarthy says:

    Sounds like a great day… looking forward to be seeing you in the near future…
    Until then, tight lines my friend.

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