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Key West Offshore Fishing Forecast May 2011

Dolphin, Mutton, Grouper !!!!!   Mahi – Mahi, Dorado, Maverikos or Dolphin, call them what you will this is the month when Florida comes to Key West and the reason is simple: BIG DOLPHIN. Offshore action in May is all about Dolphin fishing, and the big ones start coming through our waters at the end of April and build in numbers during May. key-west-fish-25lbs   These guys are eating their way West as fast as they can, catch ‘em and try to get out in front of the school again for another shot.  Mostly they are feeding on flying fish . Big showers of flying fish away from the boat are a clear sign of fish. Larger Dolphin travel in small groups, usually one big bull and a few cows, smaller Dolphin don’t dare come close or be breakfast. Weed lines are not necessary and floating debris is not as crucial as it is later in the run , but bait is and when you find the big schools of flying fish you are in a good depth to start working your way East looking for the birds and bait showers to signal the fish. Live baiting on a fast center console is the most effective way to hunt these fish , a big pilchard will turn a bulls head. The ability to cover a lot of ground and catch up to moving fish makes running these fish down very exciting. Trolling and trying to get lined up takes some patience, but look for birds to the East that are working towards the West and getting out ahead of the approaching  fish and letting them catch up to you is a great way to hook up. Be sure to have a pitch bait, even a rigged dead Ballyhoo to swim past other curious fish at the end game of a fight, you never know who might show up. In the strong Gulfstream current moving a boat to the West and getting to the fish even a quarter mile away may take too long before someone else spots the birds. Usually it is  much more productive to fish towards the East. The only drawback to fishing towards the East all morning is you may not get back home before dark, be sure to keep an eye on the GPS- three knots of current can really move you along. Trophy size fish should be expected and fish over 20 pounds will be common.   pict0063.jpg   May fishing is not complete without mentioning the Full Moon on the 17th. If you don’t already have a reservation at Eye Glass Bar or Western Dry Rocks for the Mutton Snapper spawn you better find a friend who does. The clusters of boats sitting there for three days are because the Muttons go crazy during the spawn. The ten per person limit is easily caught. Many think this is too many fish being taken at the spawn but the regulators who close and limit seasons have not touched the Mutton limits or seasons , so my guess is Mutton Snapper are a very healthy fishery.   Speaking of regulators – Grouper are back in season ( or should I say back on the  menu ) in the Atlantic May 1st.  I can taste a grouper sandwich already.

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