Moby Dick Returns to Key Colony Beach

By: Captain Terry Fisher

It is 1st Mate Vicki and my annual trip to the Florida Keys for two weeks to enjoy fishing in the Atlantic for Pelagic species (Mahi, Tuna, Wahoo) as well as some grouper and snapper on the close reefs. Our Chocolate Lab ‘Moby Dick’ loves it when we rent the house close to a beach, complete with a dock and cleaning station. This year we will arrive on July 6 to finish out the 4th of July celebrations and return back to SW Florida around July 20.

Even-though we will enjoy our private time together, our thanks, hearts and prays will be with my Marine Corps ‘brothers and sisters’ together with every other veteran and service member in the armed forces that has insured and is continuing to ensure our freedoms as we know them. Nothing comes easy without sacrifice!

Last year Vicki and I took 2 separate ‘Voyages’ to Key West and beyond to Ft. Jefferson and the Dry Tortugas. Unfortunately for Moby, he was not included. This year however, he is joining his ‘Crew’ for two full weeks of fishing, eating, fun and relaxation. Moby loves to sniff the fish and hang out with the ‘Gang’! When he’s not with us, his job is to greet any friend or client that shows up and protect the house and property that we are renting. He loves it.

The wonderful thing about living in SW Florida is that it is only a half day trip by land or water to the upper and middle keys. All the species that we target and catch here are there as well. The techniques are the same, the difference however, is the beautiful shallow waters and shorter access to the depths in the Atlantic Ocean for the species mentioned above. The negative aspect living and fishing offshore here (SW Florida) is that to get to 100 ft. of water from our outer islands one has to travel approximately 35 miles offshore. In the summer months, as water temperatures heat up, that distance can increase to 50 plus miles out to catch keeper size grouper, trigger fish, african pompano, snappers and other reef species. This being said, every fishing destination has it’s ‘hang up’. Summertime in the Florida Keys can be very windy, just to mention it is a peak time of the year for tropical storms and hurricanes. Nothing is perfect.

July fishing in our ‘Neck of the Woods’ (SW Florida) offers good numbers of Snook, Redfish, Seatrout, Mangrove Snappers and other inshore species. The Snook are in the passes and swimming along the beaches on all of the outer islands. The baits of choice for Snook will consist of artificial, Pilchards and Pinfish. Fish for them when tides are incoming or outgoing.

Big Redfish begin to move into the back waters of Pine Island Sound around Galt Island, Big Panther Key, Little Panther Key, Big and Little Wood Keys, to name a few. Matlacha Pass will offer other secluded estuaries such as; Oyster Creek, St. James Creek and Smoke House Bay). Big Redfish will also inhabit Turtle and Bull Bays on the northwest end of Charlotte Harbor. In other words, they can be everywhere. They will be very aggressive eating shrimps, pilchards and crabs. The reason I mention these locations is that high summer tides will provide sufficient water to allow boaters access to more remote locations. Fish until you find them. I like to fish these inshore venues on the top half (3 hours into) an incoming tide. This is when there is plenty of water for angler to target the fish as the move into these locations for safety and food.

Seatrouts will be found in three to five feet of water on grass flats. Shrimp and artificial baits will do the job. Look for larger seatrouts in the ‘potholes’ around the islands mentioned above for the redfish. Mangrove snapper will be in the back waters with the redfish. Light tackle is best for all inshore species.

July offshore fishing in the deeper waters from 100 to 160 ft. will reward those taking the time to run 40 to 60 miles out but don’t hesitate to fish for yellowtail, lanes and mangrove snappers closer in. These fish are fun to catch, and the harvest quotas are good. If this summer is anything like last summer anglers need to consider going deep as warm water temperatures will ‘drive’ the bigger grouper, triggerfish, african pompano, american red snapper, bigger lanes and mangroves farther out. Use cut baits, sardines, squid, pilchards and threadfins for bait. Have plenty of chum to keep the fish interested.

Medium heavy equipment is the way to go for offshore. 5000 Series gear with 30-50 lb. line test and plenty of weight to hold bottom. Feel free to call me for any equipment recommendations and techniques for either inshore or offshore fishing.

This is Captain Terry Fisher of Fish Face Charters wishing you ‘tight lines’. Check out my website at Call me direct at 239-357-6829 or email me at for more information. I am available as ‘Captain for Hire’ on your vessel for navigation, safety, fishing locations and instructions by the hour for inshore and offshore fishing.