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Archive for December, 2009

December 26th 2009 Fishing Report

Saturday, December 26th, 2009

Christmas has come and gone, however the Florida Keys fishing is here to stay! Some people ask me what makes the Florida Keys such a special fishing spot. Maybe it is because The Florida Keys are located in the most biologically diverse area of the Atlantic Ocean. The Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean surround the islands, while the warm waters of the Gulf Stream current passes close by.  The ocean surrounding the Keys contains more species of fish than anywhere else in the Atlantic! A fishing trip in the Florida Keys is sure to be successful. This past week was no exception to the normal Keys fishing day. The bite has been spectacular for Snook, Redfish, Speckled Sea Trout, Goliath Grouper, Mackerel, Jack Crevell, Cobia and the occasional Blue Fish. 

Jack and Ida from Louisiana who stayed at the beautiful and unique Kona Kai Resort here in Key Largo had their luck with the Snook! We caught approximately ten great sized Snook. I have to say that Ida caught the most Snook. This frequently happens that the novice fisherman catches more fish then the experienced because they do not have the instinct to set the hook. I cannot tell you how many times that prize fish was lost by the angler ripping the bait right out of the fish’s mouth. We used 10 lb Power Pro braided line with a 40 lb floral carbon leader to ensure the catch. We used large shrimp as bait by hooking the shrimp through the bottom of the mouth and up through the head. The fish were caught under the mangroves in the deep channels surrounding the islands as the water temperatures were still hovering in the low 60’s.  

Later in the week we caught numerous Redfish by using a 1/8 oz Chartreuse Hook-Up Lure. Shrimp were thrown up current and worked back to the boat slowly, as the fish are still a bit lethargic due to low water temperatures. If you are unlucky with the shrimp try using a Berkley Gulp Shrimp. The Speckled Sea Trout were happening this week too! When targeting Trout don’t forget the special weapon!  They are attracted by the popping sound that either a popping cork or a Kajun Thunders makes while being dragged through the water. We caught most Speckled Sea Trout on the grassy flats around the Flamingo area. We used 3ft of 30lb leader below the cork and a ¼ oz weight located just above a 2.0 circle hook. 

Finally, the Mackerel, Bluefish and Cobia were caught about 1 to 3 miles passed Springer Bank. When catching Mackerel it is important not to forget your wire leader because of their sharp teeth. We caught them using about 8-10 inches of 40 lb wire leader on the end of the line. All of these fish make being on the water a joy for me everyday! 

Regardless of your interest in fishing the scenery alone is worth a day on the water. It is expected that your fishing guide knows a great deal about the ecosystem here in the Florida Keys. He or she could not do their job successfully if they did not understand the combined physical and biological components and the complexity of the way they interact. A trip on the water will open your eyes to a new way of seeing the world. You will see many beautiful islands peppering the landscape, beautiful rare birds, playful dolphin, sluggish manatee, filtering sponges, elegant Sting Ray, and hopefully you’re most prized catch! Getting on the water is the best things you can do to relieve all that holiday stress!  

Until next time, ask yourself this one question; Are You Fishing Yet?

Understanding your live well for lively bait

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

One of the most important aspects of being a successful fisherman takes place before you ever get on the water. This aspect is overlooked by many anglers, but to the captains that make a living fishing it is one of the most important elements of a productive fishing day. Captains know all too well through experience that dead bait usually means a spoiled fishing trip.  It is for this reason that every angler should pay close attention to keeping bait alive and healthy for as long as possible. There is nothing worse then spending hours catching bait to find most of them belly up by the time you arrive at your honey hole.

There are many misconceived notions regarding aeration. Three most common misconceptions are that large live wells are required to sustain a large quantity of fish, large pumps are needed to move large quantities of water to keep the bait alive and last much not least the surrounding water temperature and salinity levels effect of the bait. These factors if not understood properly can lead to unnecessary bait death.

The most important aspect to a live well is the direction of the water. Livewells come in many shapes and sizes. The shape and size of the livewell will not matter as much as the direction of the intake water. The water must be pumped in to create a circular motion. This reduces the stress on the fish. Delicate bait such as pilchards will not survive a day of fishing unless the water flow creates a gentle current. Turbulent water will damage the bait and force them to work against the strong flow causing additional problems such as fatigue and stress and ultimately death.


The second aspect I would like to discuss is the quality of the air bubbles.  The air bubbles should be small because the smaller the air bubbles; the more slowly it will rise, giving it more time to dissolve in the water. This is a very important aspect to your live well and to the health of your bait fish. Make certain you bubbles entering are small to ensure there is enough oxygen for all the bait in your well. We saltwater anglers have an advantage over the fresh water anglers!  Salt water is denser then fresh so the air bubbles are usually smaller allowing your bait to have access to increased oxygen.


The last factor to consider is the different temperature and salinity levels as you move from one environment to another. As your live well works it pulls in water from the surrounding environment which can be stressful for bait. When you are on a flat, the water might be warmer than if you decide to try your luck in the deeper waters. The warmer the water, the less oxygen it will hold. These factors will certainly have an effect on your bait making them more sluggish while they try to adapt quickly to the change.

Having lively bait will attract more fish to you line. Make sure to talk with a professional in regards to your bait well. It is one of the most important things you can do before you get on the water to catch your dream fish.

December 2009 fishing report

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

Tis the season of giving!  Many guides set aside some time, even with all the craziness of the holidays, to give back to the community.  The Key Largo Guides Association did their giving by completing their annual clean-up of the Boggies.  This area is known to receive heavy traffic by our weekend anglers and it seems to receive much of the trash. We filled our bags with plastic bottles, plastic bags, aluminum cans, foam food containers and of course a large quantity of fishing line. Besides the harm these items can cause to our precious wildlife, the breakdown some of these items is more than 500 years.  Please if you read this article be aware of the garbage you are leaving behind for the next generation! A big thank you goes out to Captain Chris Handson, Captain Tony Delossantos, Captain Kerry Wingo, Captain Ted Benbow, and Captain Terry Hilker.  Thank you for making this cleanup a success. Your dedication to our environment is much appreciated!

Well the weather has changed and its feeling a lot like Christmas! Finally one of the cold fronts made it all the way to the Keys! This has changed the fishing strategies for anglers. Captains will now be in search of the deeper channels.  For example in Flamingo, Snake Bite would be a good choice to try your luck or at Cape Sable the deep channels that line the land will be hot during these cooler days.  The bait choice will be mainly shrimp. The reason for this is because of the change of salinity due to the rain fall we receive each time a cold front enters our environment.  Heavy rainfall with the accompanying drop in water salinity, have been known to cause shrimp to move into deeper waters.  Shrimp will be one of the main foods for game fish during cold fronts so do not throw something into the water that looks out of place.

The fishing has been steady all around Flamingo and the Cape. Snook , Redfish and juvenile Tarpon .Bonefish have been biting pretty steady with our warm waters this week.  Reports have come in of 10 pound bonefish being caught on the oceanside flats! Now that’s a prize fish! The main reason for the great fishing is the ease of catching bait. Bait has been visible all week making our jobs simpler.  All captains will agree there is nothing better than live bait.

Until next time, ask yourself this one question, Are you fishing yet? Captain Richard Burson