Upper Keys Fishing – Sept 2017

by Capt. Dallas Hopper

The mahi bite has been RED HOT this month! You can expect to find the green hornets in the 500 to 1000 foot range. With their rapid speed of growth, they are usually ready to devour any delicious offerings you might have to throw at them. Make sure you bring plenty of bait. Ballyhoo, squid and bonito chunks are our go to. But it doesn’t hurt to have some frisky live bait in your well if you can’t get some of the fish to eat. Always keep a lookout for birds, grass lines and for the magical piece of debris. That’s where you just might find the jackpot.

Blackfin tuna are starting to show up on the humps as well. When then tuna are finicky light leader is a must. We start out with 50 pound test leader which usually gets the job done but we will run as light as 25 pound test leader to get the bite. Small lures are the ticket when targeting these football sized fish. Our favorite lures to use are the Boone Octopus skirts in the 4 ½ inch size and the Billy Bait Mini Turbo Slammer. The hottest colors of late have been blue/white, black/red, pink/pearl and blue/pink. Don’t be afraid to try new colors, the results may surprise you.

Meanwhile on the bottom, the deep wrecks and rock piles have been producing some epic battles with some giants. Mutton snapper, black grouper, red grouper and amberjack are the targeted species at this time of the year. Live bait such as goggleyes, pilchards and pinfish will not go unnoticed. Live bait isn’t the only choice of bait. Split back ballyhoo, bonito strips and whole squid are amongst some of the other popular choices.

With the high temperatures during the day targeting yellowtail and mangrove snapper at night has been a great way to beat the heat. Anchoring in 40 – 90 feet of water will put you in the strike zone. It is important to drag your chum through the area while looking for the best mark on your fish finder. Lots of chum is a must to draw these fish to the back of your boat. An assortment of cut bait drifted back into the slick will peak the interest of these fish.

Before heading out for a fun day on the water make sure you check the latest rules and regulations on myfwc.com. Also with lobster season in full swing, be watchful and courteous of other boats displaying their diver down flag. Hope everyone has a great time on the water, full of good memories and lots of fish.

Capt. Dallas Hopper
Fantastic II Charters “guaranteed fish”
305-451-2890 • www.charterkeylargo.com