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Upper Keys Fishing Report Feb 2010

Key Largo to Key West - including Florida Bay, the Marquesas and the Dry Tortugas.

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Upper Keys Fishing Report Feb 2010

Postby rufishingyet » Mon Feb 15, 2010 11:33 am

The weather was a concern mid week as a cold front was pushing its way through the Keys docking most small back country boats. I was able to get out a few times allowing for some productive days on the water. This week the fish were biting out west around Springer Bank. My clients were looking to bend the rod and that is just what we did, finding good sized Mackerel, Ladyfish, Bluefish, Mangrove Snappers, many species of sharks, Jacks, Blue Runners and over 100 pound Goliath Groupers!

The Goliath Groupers were the highlight this week as we were catching some mammoth ones. In Florida, the largest Goliath Grouper ever caught and recorded weighed 680 pounds. They are the largest members of the sea bass family and are thought to live approximately 50 years. Their habitat consists of shallow, inshore waters to depths of 150 feet. This fish is solitary by nature. The Goliath Grouper is habitat consists of underwater caves, wrecks, mangroves patches and ledges, displaying an open mouth to discourage intruders. Additional warning may be delivered in the form of the Goliath Grouper's ability to produce a distinctly audible rumbling sound generated by contracting muscles in their swim bladder. This sound travels great distances underwater and is also used to locate other Goliath Grouper

The Goliath Groupers are one of the most difficult to get to the boat because of their instinct to cut your line. As soon the grouper has been hooked their immediate reaction is to find a structure and wrap the line around it, ultimately cutting it. There is a definite technique in catching these monsters! For bait I use small Jacks and Blue Runners. I cut their tail off then hook them through the dorsal fin and place them in the water. The vibrations that occur as the Jack attempts to swim will attract the grouper as well as many species of sharks, providing for plenty of action beneath the surface. I have my clients use my medium to heavy rods with 30 pound braided line and a 80 pound leader attached to a 8.0 circle hook. I find that free spooling while placing the rod in the rod holder (affectionately called Rodney the Rod Holder) works best for most anglers. This cuts down on the normal reaction of a fisherman to attempt to “Set the Hook”.

Setting the hook too early is a major concern when hooking grouper. Once the grouper hits the bait give 4 or 5 seconds then shut the bail letting the line become tight. After the line is tight, reel down while pointing the rod towards the water. Finally pull up at the same time you are winding the reel. Remember they will be headed for any structure to cut the line so keep your knees bent and the rod low. Try your very best not to allow the grouper to wrap the line around anything that maybe sharp enough to cut your line. This fight will be intense! I have seen so many anglers fight these monsters with the ending result being the disappointed stomp of their feet as they realize the worst has happened, the grouper got away! If you are one of the skilled anglers and lucky enough to land one of these monsters remember they are a protected species and you may not lift them from the water.

Until next time ask yourself this one question….Are you fishing yet? If not www.rufishingyet.com
am a South Florida native who has been fishing the local waters from Biscayne Bay to Islamorada for over 30 years. After obtaining my captain's license, I have been chartering light tackle and fly fishing enthusiasts in the Key Largo area and Everglades National Park.

My fishing speciality is targeting Snook, Redfish and Sea Trout in the backcountry and Bonefish, Tarpon and Permit on the ocean side flats that surround the Key Largo area. I am very easy to get along with and welcome experienced and novice fisherman. Junior anglers are welcome as well!
Cabin Boy
Cabin Boy
Posts: 34
Joined: Fri Jun 27, 2008 5:55 pm
Location: Islamorada , Florida

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