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FISHING KEY WEST at CHRISTMAS 2009

Capt. Ralph Delph
December 16, 2009
Key West - Saltwater Fishing Report

OFFSHORE: The Gulfstream has moved well offshore leaving the water near shore with a blue-green tent and a temperature of 78 degrees. This has pushed most of the Blackfin Tuna further east with most of the action due south of Key West. Little Tunny are plentiful all along the reef from the Tortugas through American Shoal Light. Only an occasional Sailfish and Wahoo are being taken while Dolphin are not to be found anywhere.

Bottom fishing remains very good with full bag limits of large Red Snapper falling to live bait and jigs. See our "CATCHES LAST WEEK" at www.delphfishingcharters.com . Mutton Snapper are building and will only get better as the season progresses. Scamp and Black Grouper are here and on the increase. It looks like they will be here just in time for the closed season. Amberjacks are in greater numbers along the reef than I have ever seen for this time of year, in more that 40 years. They are a virtual plague. The AJ's have been running from 4 to 60 pounds on the average. Large Jack Crevalles, in the mid 20# class, have been numerous on structures while fishing for the bottom dwellers. Small Sharpnose Sharks have been a plague as well, along the bottom. Large Reef Sharks have been chasing and eating hooked gamefish in the areas around the larger Key West wrecks.

Reef action has been good for medium to large Yellowtail Snapper for those chum fishing, and Ciro Mackerel are responding to jigs and live pilchards. Some of the latter topping the ten pound mark. Ciro mackerel unlike the Spanish Mackerel, are excellent eating. Kingfish ranging from 5 to 25 pounds have been numerous along the reef as well as in the deeper water. We have had to go to Steelon while bottom fishing, due to Kingfish cutoffs.

Hawks Channel has been plentiful with schools of small Spanish Mackerel and medium size Jack Crevalles. Very large Kingfish, some in the mid 40 pound range have been taken on live bait by those willing to spend the time chumming with block chum to draw them into the area.

The Gulf of Mexico has been fishing well for medium size Kingfish and small Spanish Mackerel, however, Cobia have been the target of most fishermen around the wrecks. Goliath grouper are still a plague for those fishing for Mangrove Snapper and Gag Groupers.

The flats have been fairly slow, however some of the knowledgeable guides have been producing some Bonefish along with Barracuda and Sharks. This action is determined by water temperature and will fluctuate as the temperature rises above or sinks below the 70 degree mark.

That's it for now. Tight lines and good fishing.
Captain Ralph Delph

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1 Riviera Drive B.C.K.
Key West, FL 33040
Phone: 305-294-6072
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