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Key Largo and The Upper Florida Keys

Capt. Marc Blackburn
December 27, 2006
Key Largo - Saltwater Fishing Report

Snapper fishing very good at the reef.

Reef fishing action has been very good in the Upper Keys. We have been fishing the reef over the last week and the snapper bite has been very good. The water has been cloudy due to the breezy weather and the yellowtail snapper have been unable to see the hook and leader as well as usual.

We fish yellowtail snapper at the edge of the reef about 5 miles offshore in 25 to 90 foot of water. Conch reef, just outside the sanctuary has had a very good bite in 45 to 60 foot of water. Look for structure with your bottom unit and fish suspended above. Drop the anchor up current and use frozen chum to draw the fish behind the boat. Always use fluorocarbon leader, 20# or 12# test, and a small #1 or #2 hook.

A variety of baits can be used, shrimp, ballyhoo, skipjack tuna, etc. Cut the pieces small and cover all but the barb and point of the hook. I vary my lead from none to a medium size split shot depending on current. If you have several fishermen, use a variety of weights to determine what size is producing the most fish. Technique is very important, as the bait must appear to be a piece of chum drifting though the water with the other free meal the snapper are feeding on. To accomplish this, leave your spinning reel bale open and feed line as needed to allow the bait to drift naturally. I let a loop of line hit the water and when it starts to tighten up, I give some more line to form another loop. You must be careful however not to let so much line out at once that you cannot see the bite when it occurs. When the yellowtail bites, the line will start running quickly off of your rod. Allow the fish to take the line for 2-3 seconds, then close your bale and reel until you feel the weight of the fish, then set the hook lightly.

It often takes anglers unaccustomed to this type of fishing a few misses until they get the hang of it. If you are using shrimp, the preferred bait, and set the hook quickly and strong without feeling the weight of the fish first, kiss your shrimp goodbye. Snapper are very smart and have great eyesight.

Sailfishing has also been good but we have had anglers more interested in taking some fish home to eat so we have not been targeting them the last few days. Besides yellowtail on the reef, we have been catching some nice mutton snapper, a bunch of just undersized grouper, a few nice 20lb plus amberjacks, cero mackerel, king mackerel, and some very big barracuda.

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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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