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Key Largo and The Upper Florida Keys

Capt. Marc Blackburn
February 23, 2007
Key Largo - Saltwater Fishing Report

Cold Fronts spark the sailfish and grouper bite, Thursday February 22nd

The water has cooled over the last couple of weeks after some of the strongest cold fronts of the year hit early in February. This has caused several fisheries to pick up tremendously. Sailfish and grouper have been the best bite over the last two weeks.

Captain Ron has been fishing the Dauntless for grouper with great success using deep diving plugs over the patch reefs of Key Largo and Islamorada. This technique helps to bring the fish out of the structure and pull them away from there holes with the boat. Grouper are one of the toughest customers out there when it comes to rocking you up. There is nothing more frustrating than having a 20 to 50 pound grouper hit your bait and take it back under a coral head or rocks where there is no hope of getting him back out.

With Ronís technique of trolling for the grouper with plugs, the fish are drawn farther away from there structure as the chase the trolled lure and when they do get a hook in them the boat pulls them farther away and there is no chance the grouper will get back to his hole. A 50 pound plus fish was lost last week even with the trolling technique but this one hung up on a lobster trap line. A picture of a beautiful 35 pound black grouper will be on the website shortly. Dozens of black grouper have been brought to the dock the last couple of weeks.

Sailfishing has taken off again here in the Florida Keys. We had several double headers with two sailfish on at the same time this month. The fish have been hitting live ballyhoo and pilchards slow trolled just outside the reef line in 90 to 250 foot of water. The thrill of seeing a 7 foot plus sailfish hit a live bait behind the boat then dancing for everyoneís pleasure before coming along side for a few pictures is hard to describe. If you havenít caught a billfish, get down here soon and get out with us. The season will be over before you know it.

Yellowtail snapper fishing has been very good. We have even been catching a cooler full while getting our live ballyhoo in the morning for sailfishing. Snapper fishing is a great opportunity for the entire family to have a great time. The action is non-stop for the kids and the ladies usually out-fish the guys because it is a game of finesse. We use frozen chum in a bag on the back of the boat, which melts and drifts into the ocean. The snapper line up for the free meal and we drift shrimp or cut bait back to them. The trick is to let the bait drift freely at the same speed as the chum but without giving too much slack line and not feeling the strike. Once you see the bite, close the bale and reel until you feel the weight of the fish. When you feel the weight of the fish, set the hook and the fight is on. Yellowtail snapper are great eating also and most restaurants in the Keys will cook you catch for you.

Spanish mackerel and blacktip sharks have been red hot in the Gulf of Mexico. Limits of ten fish per person on the mackerel is very common and the blacktip sharks have been averaging 100 pounds a piece and put on a show that a sailfish would be proud of. Blacktips are out of the water more than they are in the water after being hooked. Blacktips are especially vulnerable to a butter-flied Spanish mackerel floating under a balloon. In addition to mackerel and blacktip sharks in the bay, cobia and mangrove snapper have been filling the cooler.

The season is booking quickly, call or book online now to get a day. Donít wait until the last minute and miss out. If you are looking to share a day with another couple, check out the splits page for postings or send me an email and I will be happy to post a request for you. Dauntless Charters is located in Key Largo, Florida just minutes north of Islamorada and an hour south of the Miami airport. If you are planning a trip to Key West, stop for a day or two and check out the Upper Keys. The fishing and diving here are the best in all the Florida Keys. Dauntless Charters is located in Key Largo, Florida just minutes north of Islamorada and an hour south of the Miami airport. If you are planning a trip to Key West, stop for a day or two and check out the Upper Keys. The fishing and diving here are the best in all the Florida Keys.

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Dauntless Charters provides a first class experience for all types of Florida Keys fishing. Whether you are targeting offshore species such as swordfish, marlin, sailfish, dolphin, tuna, wahoo and kingfish; reef species such as grouper, snapper, mackerel, shark, and barracuda; or backcountry species such as tarpon, bonefish, snook, permit, redfish, and sea trout, we have the right boat and captain for you. Located at mile marker 94.5 in Key Largo

Contact Info:

Dauntless Charters
200 Florida Ave
Key Largo, FL 33037
Phone: 1-877-DAUNTLESS
Alt. Phone: 305-304-9129
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