Mutton Snapper and Snook on Beautiful Warm Days
This week we were riding from La Siesta Marina in Islamorada through the Florida Bay backcountry of flats and finger channels to the Flamingo area to find bait on a warm humid November morning. The bait we were looking for are perfect sized pilchards or Snook candy, once in the bait spot with a little help from chum we started seeing flashes of silver behind the boat, I only had to throw the cast net one time to black out our live well for a perfect start to the day. We got the liveies in case the Snook were not going to be interested in our flies!!
Once on the flats we started seeing small Snook here and there and caught a couple small guys around 16 inch’s on fly. Standing on the tower searching for more Snook I looked down at one point in about three feet of murky water from mullet muds and saw 50 to 75 Snook slowly swimming away. I got off the platform and grabbed a net full of live Pilchards in the live well and started chumming the Snook until I saw the water boiling with the fish going nuts, and it did 7 Snook later with an average size of 30 inches until we spooked them out. The next day they would not touch a thing in the same place but here were a ton of Redfish there as well. There are some Reds up on the flats as well out front with a mix of larger Black Drum. But they have been kind of spooky this week.
There are also a lot of Tarpon in the Gulf and that should be the trend until we get a cold blast which should happen this weekend. There is also plenty of Pilchards around the cheeky huts in west Whitewater Bay and some small Snook in some of the ponds in Northwest Whitewater.
Leaving out of Homestead Bayfront Marina and sticking close to the eastern shoreline we have been finding loads of Pilchards for the Snapper bite.
This week in one day on a trip close to Miami we managed to catch 21 Muttons on 8 lb spinning outfits which are a blast! The largest was 12 pounds and 2 Mangrove Snapper that were 4 or 5 pounds on live bait out on the patch reefs, and I have had reports of Muttons being caught up to 16 pounds. We are also catching them on plugs.
This weekend when we get a north wind and it murks up the water a bit should be
The best bite.
Also on the West side of the bay we have been doing ok on Bonefish that are the average 8 lb fish. Some days when it was overcast I have found chumming with cut up shrimp has been working best on sandy bottom with good current.. But this past week the water was high and dark with the cloud cover. But most bones were in 2 to 3 feet of water mudding, which are easy to see on a clear day, but as we know overcast days can be difficult.
We are getting to Tarpon time in some of the bays to the North!. If we have some calm warm days in between fronts we should have a red hot Tarpon bite on fly.
Good Luck! Capt. Jim Hale
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