Channel fishing in the Keys.
When I mention channel fishing by this I am talking about the numerous channels that flow through Florida Bay on the gulf side out to the shallow reefs on the Atlantic side. These channels offer excellent fishing day and night for a variety of species from snappers, jacks, ladyfish and barracuda to big sharks and tarpon.
Channel fishing offers an option for folks worried about sea sickness or when it becomes too rough to go offshore. Don’t get me wrong. Fishing the channels is not always plan B. Many guides, myself included often make hay in these channels.
Such was the case July 4th when I took a last minute booking from some nice folks from Louisiana. They specifically wanted to stay inshore and wanted action. So that was the plan.
This time of the year we catch tarpon and big sharks on dead baits fished on the bottom. Admittedly it’s not as exciting as watching a live bait get blown up on. But when you only have an hour to prepare for a last minute trip all that is required are a few mahi carcasses and bonito, both readily available at this time of the year.
We started out on our first spot by catching a large nurse shark. But then the baits started getting pecked and shredded by smaller fish. I pulled out a couple small spinning rods to see what was shredding the baits.
We immediately started hitting pay dirt with mutton snappers. The action was fast and furious on these fish in the 14 to 17.5 inch models of muttons. We were releasing everything as they had no interest in keeping any fish for the table.
In the middle of the mutton bite one of the big spinning rods doubled over and a huge barracuda launched from the water. After a furious battle we CPR’d (catch photo release) the nice fish.
The blue stripe grunts moved in next and we couldn’t get a mutton to bite. Many people enjoy catching these tasty panfish. And after about a dozen of them I decided to make a move.
Time was not on our side at this point. The next spot was slow. But we managed a dandy 25 inch mutton snapper to cap off the trip.
Day or night channel fishing can be action packed. Here’s a pic of a 200lb Goliath grouper we took on a 30lb spinning rod just after the moon came up on a channel fishing trip. Had to show my angler how to really pull hard on a big spinning rod. Ha! But we got the fish!
Call 954-629-0211 to book your next trip. http://finestkind.fish/