Upper Keys Fishing

by Capt. Dallas Hopper

What a year it has been! With plenty of amazing catches this past year, days of double digit sails in the spring, mahi and blue marlin over the summer. Banner days of bottom fishing in the fall with some black grouper pushing 50lbs and an awesome bite of wahoos this winter! With a pile of personal records beat, were looking at this year with high expectations.

The fishing has been great! Whether live baiting, trolling or bottom fishing there’s plenty action to keep you busy. With each cold front that makes it all the way down here, it brings along a fresh wave of fish.

If you’re looking for some wintertime wahoo, you’re in luck. The wahoo have been snapping on the edge in 120-200ft of water. On the days when we’re specifically targeting the ‘hoos, we’ll leave the dock as early as possible, as the bite is usually over by midmorning.

The edge is alive with action in 100-140 ft of water right now. Fishing with live ballyhoo, cigar minnows and pilchards we have been putting together some nice catches of king mackerel, mahi, blackfin tuna, sailfish, mutton snapper and wahoo. Ideal conditions are blue water and a roaring north current, this gets the surface bite going.

Yellowtailing in 60-80 feet of water has been nothing short of epic, plenty of fat fish that are hungry for cut ballyhoo and peeled shrimp. The critters can be pretty bad some days so as soon as you hook a snapper it turns into a race to get it in the boat. For tackle we’ll use 12lb test monofilament topped off with and arm’s length of 15lb flourocarbon leader and a small jig head. Always keep a heavier rod ready to pitch at whatever might show up in the chumslick, cobia, yellow jack and even mahi will get curious enough to pay a quick visit.

Let’s break in the New Year and go fishing, if you’re in the area give us a call and we’ll get you out there on one of our two boats for an awesome experience!

Capt. Dallas Hopper

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

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