Hi, this is Capt. Chuck Butler with Charter SeaClusion, operating out of Key West Oceanside Marina where we offer full-service charters aboard my forty six foot Bertram sportfish “SeaClusion”. August is HOT
and this is when you really need to start looking for ways to beat the heat. Reef fishing is pretty good , the Yellowtails are biting good , but you are going to be measuring a lot of them . Twelve inches is the width of a five gallon bucket. If it touches both sides it’s a keeper. Grouper are good just a little deeper this time of year and you are on your own figuring out the bag limit. If you have a few lobster heads left over from mini season bust em up in a bucket and mix with oats, chum and sand. Freeze this up in a milk bottle or something like that with a handle and put it on the bottom off the bow of your boat when you start Yellowtailing. This mixture will have every grouper on that reef sniffing around. When the tides cooperate snapper fishing in the evening is a good way to beat the heat . Add a light and fish into the night, very pleasant.
The best program is to go Offshore at sunset and drop some squid down for Swordfish. Along the drop near your favorite crack is a good place to start. Depth of rigs is always a big discussion, but I like mine relatively shallow 75 – 100 feet deep. If you can mark the thermocline one on top and one just below might be a good plan too. Get some big balloons for floats (party supply, they sell them cheap by the pound) and drift some lines off with the deepest the furthest out. Rigging squid looks complicated but is really easy. I use a wine cork with a hole drilled length wise and crimp the hook just behind the cork so that a # 16 circle hook holds the tentacles in place. Weight the line depending on current and put the weight and light at least 20 feet from the squid to reduce shark bites. The light too close and you will fight more sharks. Talking to longliners, they like to put out near the edge of the Gulfstream but not in it and the reported depth of the hooks to Fisheries Management is 75 feet in the Florida Straits. The swordfish bite near Key West is good and the chances of hook ups are very good. A pitch bait is handy and Swordies will get all over a Goggle-Eye. We have had several come up in the lights and eat behind the boat; it just seems to take forever before they have killed it enough to eat. Bites are sometimes hard to know. Some will pop the clip and scream off while other times the first indication is the Swordfish jumping behind the boat with the bait in his mouth and 400 feet of belly in the line. Reel Fast!!! Swordfish are without equal when it comes to the fight. They are strong, smart and angry. The bigger ones will figure out that you aren’t moving them and just sit, time for some boat handling. Like some say , try to drag them towards the dock and don’t be in a hurry. When they do get to the boat a Swordfish is not freaked like a Sailfish or Marlin, he is angry . The look in the eye of looking for someplace to use that bill is unmistakable. The action , nice evening temperatures and the view of the Milky Way all are great reasons to get offshore and hook into one of the top fish in the Florida Keys.