South Florida Fishing Report -12-15-11


Captain Bob Fernicola of Backcountry/Ocean Charters out of Key Largo reported fishing the shallow patch reefs is producing considerable action from mangrove, mutton and yellowtail snappers plus lots of groupers, hogfish, porgies, Spanish and cero mackerel. All of the fish were eating shrimp and cut bait fished on the bottom and top on light spinning tackle.


Fishing aboard the party boat Mucho K out of Haulover Marina, local angler Michael Orr released an estimated 100-pound goliath grouper that ate a bottom bait and landed dolphin and blackfin tuna. Captain Bobby Probst guided Orr to his catch. Captain Mike Johnson of Local Knowledge Charters out of Fort Lauderdale reported schools of baitfish continue to attract lots of mahi mahi along with kingfish, wahoo and medium-sized blackfin tuna offshore of Port Everglades. Captain Jimbo Thomas from the charter boat Thomas Flyer out of Bayside Marina reported catches of dolphins and sailfish along the bluewater edge. Fishing aboard the PRN off of Fowey Light in 150 feet of water with Dr. Mike Owens, Harrison Tellam, 6, released his first sailfish. The sailfish ate a live threadfin herring fished under a kite. Harrison’s dad, Douglas Tellam, also was aboard the boat.


Captain Rick Rodriguez of Islamorada Sea Horse Sportfishing Charters reported sailfish are chasing ballyhoo schools over the patch reefs out to the drop-off. Dolphins and blackfin tuna are heading southwest against the current and can be found by locating the black birds that are following the fish. Captain Bill Hauck from the party boat Sea King located out of Marathon reported a good mutton snapper bite is taking place outside of 115 feet of water, and the black grouper have arrived along with big goliath groupers. During the Islamorada Fishing Clubs’ ninth Annual Captains Cup Sailfish Tournament, team Contagious took the Grand Champion Honors with the release of seven sailfish. Teammates Travis Bennet, Greg Toplin, John Timura and mate Shannon Attales shared the honors.


Mike Scheele from the Juno Pier reported very rough offshore conditions are producing bluefish, ribbonfish, jacks and bluerunners for pier fishermen. Captain Tom Van Horn of Mosquito Coast Fishing Charters reported finding redfish from slot-sized fish to 30 pounders in the Indian River. Along with the redfish were a number of sea trout. The hot bait was chunks of ladyfish, menhaden and mullet.


Captain Jim Hobales of Caught Lookin Fishing Charters reported having lots of action in the backcountry of Whitewater and Oyster Bays and along the Gulf side shorelines. Fishing shrimp under a float resulted in lots of redfish, sea trout, jacks and ladyfish and fishing chunks of ladyfish on the bottom resulted in large redfish, snook, tarpon and sharks. Local angler Dave Sanderson fished the backcountry of Flamingo with captain Bob LeMay and had nonstop action from sea trout that ate his flies, jigs and jigs tipped with Gulp baits. Later in the day, pink jigs produced lots of action from small- to slot-sized redfish cast along the mangrove shorelines.


Captain Rob Modys of Soul Mate Charters out of Fort Myers reported working the backcountry of Estero Bay has produced steady catches of redfish that are eating live shrimp on jigs cast close to the mangroves and oyster bars on the high tide. Sea trout action has been good on the grass flats for catch and release. Spanish mackerel, bluefish and loads of ladyfish are working the baitfish schools along the beaches.


Jessica Baker from Slim’s Fishing Camp in Belle Glade reported crappie fishermen are catching limits of specs to 17 inches on live Missouri Minnows and jigs during dawn and dusk hours in the Rim Canal and around Airport Hole. Largemouth bass are bedding in areas near Pelican Bay, Ritta Island and Kramer Island. Best baits for the bass are live shiners and large soft plastics. John and Nel Schaffner and grandson Chris Meade and his girlfriend, Alex Wolf, all from New York, released 22 peacock bass, two snook and two Mayan Cichlids casting Rapala floating lures in the C-4 Canal with captain Alan Zaremba.