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Key West Fishing Report - Offshore

Capt. Ralph Delph
February 15, 2000
Key West - Saltwater Fishing Report

getting back to a more normal type of February. The african pompano are starting to show up again and some up in the low thirty pound class have been weighed in over the past several days. Again, I stress the release of these fish as they are only fair to eat. They require an almost immediate release or they will not make it back down.

The black grouper fishing has been on the increase and some fine catches have shown up at our docks. Over the last week, Jim Eckhart (of Miami) brought in a 35 pounder, Jamie Knight (of Tallahassee) brought in a 50# pounder, and Mr. Lively (of Orlando), celebrating his 71st birthday, brought in his limit of 25 pounders. All fish were taken on 20# test line and along with some fine eating, they have some good pictures and some real bragging rites. All had good catches of mutton snapper up to 18# as well as red, scamp, and gag grouper. The bottom fishing is still holding up well and is as good as I have seen it in a number of years. Live bait and even jigs are the best producers.

On the reef, the cero mackerel action has picked up and fish up to 10# have been taken by anglers chumming with live chum. This has also been producing yellow jacks, jack crevalle, small amberjacks, barracuda and yellowtail snapper. The action is centered around the outcroppings of the shallow reefs and has produced some good light tackle fishing over the last several days.

Offshore, the blackfin tuna have returned and those chumming with live chum have reported some good action with fish up to the mid 20s. Live bait is producing the best catches however artificials are producing some action especially with bonito. Only an occasional sailfish is being taken along with very few wahoo. Although the water temperature is 72.6 degrees and the winds continue to be from the north and northeast, dolphin action remains good with fish in the 5 to 10 pound range. A mind bender for sure here in mid February.

The flats remain cool however some action can be had on barracudas by those plying the shallow waters of the back country.

Update for FEBRUARY 15, 2000

Boy, how fast things can change! The wahoo have moved into our waters from Eastern Dry Rocks to Vestal Shoals. All boats were reporting from two or three fish to as many as 10, ranging from a few small fish of 20#, to the average of 40# up to some fish in the high 50’s. At one point we had three fish in the air, skyrocketing the same bait. The blackfin tuna action was good over the wrecks and a good number of sails were raised. The water temperature is 73.6 degrees and the water is a deep blue so the action should hold up until a major weather change moves through.

That’s it for now. Tight lines and good fishing.

Capt. Ralph Delph

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