Slow and Small Offshore 06/25
Fished the UM almuni tournamnet this weekend...Cleared Tavernier creek at 0700 and we were on our way. 3-4 ft rollers greeted us in 40ft of water, weather man said 4-5 so it looked right. Grab another dramamine and chug a corona, it's gonna be a rough one. Plan was to get 27-30 miles, no way we were going out 50+ in this and expect to fish efficiently while making the weigh in. Hit the color change at 135ft and saw plenty of scattered grass in 200-300. Got into better scattered weeds in 500-700. Plenty of tuna birds skimming and picking but a group of 4-7 caught our eye. Sure enough some flyers sprayed up and we saw some small dolphin breaching under them. Lines in at 0800 but its 0754. Tick tock tick tock. Long 6 minutes but finally got some lines in. By this time that small moment of action was gone so we figured we'd stick around and see if anything happens. Sure enough those birds centralized again and flyers went up, troll right through and a schoolie hits the flat line. Drop back the outriggers and the naked gets taken by an 11lb bull who made it in the boat looking roughed up. Good school around the boat and pitchman picks up one more schoolie, no size to this group so we organize and head out to 1500+. 3 fish in by 0830 hey maybe the fish are biting today. Same scattered weeds from 1500-2200 and this is were we planned on being. We bounced around looking for any signs of fish but in 4-5 footers it was rough to spot debris, so we focus on the birds. Good amounts of small birds were seen often, sometimes in groups of 50+. Saw the football tuna breach and we know that story, keep moving. in 2000 we found a HUGE weed line, biggest we've seen all season. Clumps 30ftx30ft and the line was solid and long. Birds were bouncing from clump to clump and a few were resting on pieces of debris. Group of 20+ were diving and when we got to them there was a large group of jacks on some bait, keep moving. Strange how the scattered weeds in 1500 had small bait on every 2ft clump but I couldn't see a dang thing on these 30ft mats. Down rigger may have been a good option but with the 4-5ft waves and the scattered weeds, it wasn't really feasible. Picked up a schoolie on the flatline on one of the clumps and the rest of the school followed it in, pitchman picks up another and we decide this just isn't producing, plus we had 5 boats within 200 yards of us, keep moving. Ran along that weed line for while but it just didn't seem to hold fish. Turn it in a hit the long troll home. Nothing on the way in but a big turtle with plenty of bait with it but no big fish. Met the scattered grass again in 200 right were the color change was. Did see 2 sails free jump in 180 and the USCG board a boat that looked real heavy towards the stern and the driver never took it out of gear (I'm assuming they were taking on water). Ran 92 miles overall out to 29 miles off, slow fishing reports continue. Our competitive season is done so I look forward to some recreational fishing and family time in Islamorada early July.Good luck and tight lines!