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Key West Fishing Report - Offshore

Capt. Ralph Delph
May 23, 2000
Key West - Saltwater Fishing Report

For the past couple of weeks, the Gulfstream has been pushing royal blue water up against the edge of our reef. Visibility has been over 100’ and the sailfish have responded in a most favorable manner. Those using live bait have been taking up to 6 or 8 fish per day. The boats venturing further offshore have been returning with large dolphin up to the 30 to 40 pound marks. Throw in an occasional blackfin tuna and a wahoo here and there along with the inevitable bonito, and that about sums it up for the blue water fishing. Finding an adequate supply of bait has been the hardest part of the day.

The bottom fishing has been great, with limits of grouper and red snapper reaching the docks on a daily basis. It looks as if the grouper spawn is over and the fish are dispersing and a mixed bag of gags, blacks, scamps and reds are all showing up in a days catch. The red snappers have been running into the mid teens with the average fish around 10# or so. The muttons have been showing in their usual haunts in preparation for the spawn on the full moon of June. Those working these fish in their gathering places have been taking bag limits of fish with almost completely ripe roe. The yellowtail fishing appears to be holding up, however the clear water and fast current out front has forced those in pursuit of bottom fish to concentrate their hunt to the west where the current is much slower.

The gulf has been producing good catches of large blackfin tuna up into the 30# class for those willing to travel the distances required to find the fish. The bonito will drive you crazy while trying to pick out the tuna. Good numbers of permit have been reported from the various structures and holes in the gulf with some running into the mid 30# class. Chumming and fishing with crabs has been the best producers for the permit. The sharks and jewfish have been taking a few of the smaller permit.

The flats are doing fair on the tarpon. Although there have not been large numbers of fish, they seem to be eating fairly good for the flyfishermen. Those fishing live bait in the back country have been reporting good action on the silver kings. The permit have been in good supply and cooperative on both artificial lures as well as crabs. Bonefishing has been holding up well and the fish don’t seem to be very spooky, probably because of the lack of pressure due to the tarpon fishing.

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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