Upper Keys Fishing

by Capt. Dallas Hopper

The nighttime snapper bite for yellowtail and mangroves has been red hot! We’re using 1/16th oz jig heads tipped with cut ballyhoo, shrimp, live pilchards and live pinfish for bait. We’ll target them by anchoring in 30-65 feet of water over top of reef and rock piles and chumming. If the fish are there it won’t be long until you see them up close in the chum slick.

Mahi fishing is still going strong and showing no signs of stopping, we’re finding plenty of fish in the 400-850’ range. There have been copious amounts of sea grass offshore and on the calm days it forms into large mats. These large grass mats hold an abundance of life, shrimp, minnows, crabs and of course mahi. Try soaking live bait around these grass mats, the mahi will hang around and some times deep underneath filling their bellies on the baitfish that hide in the grass.

We have been doing a lot of deep dropping lately which has been super productive! It can be a surprise as to what you might catch, we have caught grey tilefish, snowy grouper, yellow edge grouper, barrel fish, black belly rose fish and even a couple of crazy looking alfonsino.

Some of the best tasting fish come from the bottom that we all pass over every day while chasing mahi. We’re dropping on the bottom in 500-1200 feet of water, that’s deep! If you’re feeling sporty you can break out the hand crank reels or use the electric reel to do what we call “grocery fishing”.

August is one of the warmest months of the year but also one of the calmest, so make sure you take advantage of the calm weather and enjoy everything our watery playground has to offer.

Capt. Dallas Hopper

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