By: Capt. Greg Poland
Hope everyone had a great holiday season and got a new fishing pole or set of rain gear from Santa. Its winter here in Islamorada and that means it is time to get out your fleece and get out on the water for some rod bending action! If you are on the Atlantic side of the islands, it is now officially Sailfish Season and a great time of year to load the livewell with ballyhoo and get out on the edge of the reef. Although I can throw a castnet, last year I got a BallyHoop Net at Islamorada Fishing Outfitters and have never looked back as it is so simple to use and you will not have to visit the Chiropractor as much!
I like a 20lb spinning outfit with 40lb fluorocarbon leader and a 4/0 circle hook for my sailfish rods. On the Gulf side of the islands, the bite has been great for spanish mackerel and honestly this is something I always look forward to doing with my clients as the seas are mostly calm and the action can be nonstop. I typically like to chum heavy and take as many live shrimp as you can afford. For this set up, use a light spinning outfit with beaded line and a leader of either 40lb mono and a 2/0 circle soon or light jighead. You are going to get some cutoffs, but I find you will get many more bites and prefer the mono to start the day. After you know the Macks are in your slick, switch over to a short trace of leader wire and you are bound to have lots of laughs on a mackerel trip.
I always keep a backup heavier rod ready because sooner or later a cobia will show up and if you toss him a grunt, he will have a hard time resisting it! The snook fishing has been consistent both in the Everglades and around some of the Keys bridges. If you are looking for a snook trip, my advice is to select the biggest shrimp in the bait tank or better yet get a well full of pilchards and do a bit of chumming before putting one out with a hook. Chum for a bit to see if you can get them really worked up and chasing the freebies then send one back with a soon and another one on a jighead so you are covering the water column. I have some open days in my calendar this month and would love to get you out on my Contender Bay Boat and show you how we do it! Call me and lets set up a trip or I can meet you at your dock and we can take your boat.
— Contact Capt. Greg at 305.393.3327
or email firstname.lastname@example.org