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MAY - JUNE - JULY

“We have cool summer weather:” Surprisingly, the weather can be cool and pleasant here in the Florida Keys because we are surrounded by water creating a cool, sea breeze. In the "shade" it is often 86o F – 89o F (the same temperature as the water), and a gentle breeze.

And on the 23' SeaCraft we have the “big shade” of  my big T-top (9' x 7')while tarpon fishing or offshore fishing.  

In the last five seasons

1,117 TARPON RELEASED!

Dream It! Live It!

 10 TARPON RELEASED in a DAY: On 2 different days

 9 TARPON RELEASED in a DAY: On 7 different days

 8 TARPON RELEASED in a DAY: On 13 different days

 7 TARPON RELEASED in a DAY: On 16 different days

 6 TARPON RELEASED in a DAY: On 20 different days

 AN INCREDIBLE DAY: Hooking 19 tarpon out of 30 tarpon

striking the baits and releasing 7 tarpon that day

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  2003 TARPON SEASON: Another phenomenal season

 328 tarpon released!

We caught them in 77  FULL DAYS OF FISHING. This was done live bait fishing the channels.

We averaged more than 4 tarpon released per FULL DAY of fishing.

This is hot fishing action, lots of strikes and fish jumped off. We averaged 9 tarpon “striking the baits” per day while “hooking and fighting” 6 tarpon a day, then catching 4 tarpon per full day. (1999 was better than this year. We averaged just about 5 tarpon released for 9 tarpon “hooked up” for 14 tarpon “striking baits” per day. Check past fish reports for details).

THESE ARE BIG TARPON: Chances for catching a big tarpon were great. Check out the percentages. (Check out the tarpon photo gallery too.)

    a.) Tarpon over 80 pounds: 63 % of the catch

    b.) Tarpon over 100 pounds: 32 % of the catch

    c.) Tarpon over 120 pounds: 16 % of the catch

    d.) Tarpon over 140 pounds: 5 % of the catch

    e.) Tarpon over 50 pounds: 85 % of the catch

(In the last two weeks of July the big tarpon, “the spawners,” migrate out of the Keys leaving the smaller tarpon behind. We still catch big tarpon of 80 to 100 plus pounders, but the percentages start to fall. We catch more tarpon in the 50 to 70 lbs. range and more tarpon down to 30 pounds. The number of tarpon per day stays the same.)

Most often we are catching these fish in twenty minutes, even tarpon up to 175+ lbs.  How do you think we can catch 9 and 10 fish in a day? I teach you the technique to beat these fish, responsibly. That way the fish is in good health, and you are not totally whipped. Ready to catch another big, wild, jumping tarpon.  Sometimes a fish will take forty-five minutes or more, what can you do but slug it out. 

FLATS FISHING:

BONEFISH: This is a great time of year to catch a lot of “big, Keys bonefish.” They are not as huge as during the spawn of March and April, but they average 8 – 10 lbs. Real “freight trains” compared to the 2 – 4 pounders of the Caribbean.

This time of year you can find big schools of tailers and mudders all day long. We have caught 6 to 7 bonefish in a day. They are not as pursued, so they can be a little less nervy when fishing for them in the summer.

PERMIT: From May to July permit migrate out to the reefs in huge schools to spawn. However in August, permit are back on the flats in big numbers because they have finished their spawn on the reefs by mid July. This is excellent fishing for permit through October. We find them right on the edges of the flats in schools of 10 to 20 permit. We can see 50 permit in a day while we are bonefish fishing.

These fish average 30 to 15 lbs., and the largest we have caught was 39 ˝ lbs.  Every year I see some very big permit in that +40 lbs. size. Any permit over 25 lbs. is a big permit.

I have caught quite a few permit on fly too, 5 here in Islamorada (9 total). If you want to catch a permit on fly, I can help you with the “nuances” of hooking a permit on fly.

REDFISH: We can catch redfish in the summer, and we have gotten into some good schools of fish, but it is generally better in the fall after the water stars to cool again in September.

Barracudas and sharks: While we are tarpon fishing there are plenty of big barracudas that can almost be a nuisance. There are not as many big ones on the flats as in the winter and spring, but at any time a big barracuda (up to 30 lbs.) can be on the flats.

Big lemon sharks are plentiful this time of year too. They are fun to cast to and they fight very hard. We can catch them on bait or plugs, and fooling them on a big plug can be exciting. We can catch big ones on 30 lbs. spin (from 50 to 200 lbs.), or small ones on 10lbs. spin.

Also, black tips and bull sharks are still around, but not like the numbers we find in the spring.

OFFSHORE FISHING

DOLPHIN: the keys are just as well known for its outstanding dolphin fishing as its tarpon fishing. We have caught some big “slammers” while I ran an offshore charter boat here, 40 plus pounders. These are great fish on spin, plug, or fly tackle.

BILLFISH: This time of year we can catch a blue marlin, white marlin or a sailfish at any time while we are fishing for dolphin. My last year fishing offshore here in Islamorada, we caught a 300 lbs. blue marlin, which was the 112th blue or black marlin I released for clients.

If anyone can catch you a billfish, I can do it for you. I have released close to 900 billfish for clients, friends, family, and myself. That is 112 blue and black marlin, and over 750 sailfish (Atlantic and Pacific).

BLACKFIN TUNA: The big blackfin tunas will be around until the end of  June (15 - 25 lbs.) This is a good time of year for blackfin tunas on the local humps offshore, but you got to be able to make the rough run unless it is calm. We could catch a half dozen or more in an hour or two. Believe me, two or three of these guys each will kick your butt on #20 lbs.

WAHOO: While we are fishing for dolphin, wahoo often accompany the dolphin under the floating debris. These fish are 10 to 30 lbs. typically.

PERMIT: They are in big schools on the reef, and we can catch 2 or 3 in an hour sometimes. These fish are 15 to 40 lbs.

SNAPPER AND GROUPERS: Summer time is when all the snappers spawn. They school up on he reefs and wrecks, and can really be fun. Big yellow tails, mangrove, and mutton snapper can just be great action day or night. While you are fishing for snappers, groupers can be caught with big, live bait near the bottom. We catch blacks, gags, and Nassau grouper here.