Educate an amateur please. Techniques requested.

Hello all. I'm lucky enough to be able to head to Marathon in early December, dragging along 2 fishing buddies who know very little about saltwater fishing. I plan to try to hit patch reefs and the like as I am renting a 22 footer and figure it will be windy. We also know how to drop baits around Seven Mile Bridge and have done so with success in the past. We're staying right near Vaca Cut.
One of my buddies is dying to catch a cuda. I've never caught one and have never tried. Apart from drifting/trolling live baits, what are your suggestions? Depth? Areas to try? Baits to use? I'm not knowledgeable in this area. Thanks in advance!
UFM82

Replies

  • The Cat's EyeThe Cat's Eye Posts: 1,293 Officer
    The best bait for Cuda is actually an artificial bait called a tube lure that is made from surgical tubing with flexible nylon coated wire running through its entire length. For many years i specialized in catching huge cuda's on these lures. The problem is that store bought tube lures are not really long enough to entice the largest of this species. I make my own that are 12 to 18 inches long. Green seems to be the best color, but i have seen large cuda's eat plain brown colored surgical tubing, especially on the flats.

    Large Cuda's like to hold up in the shade of the bridges in the Keys, especially in the shallows, but these fish are very strong and usually will break you off on the pilings. Contrary to popular belief i believe that on the flats a tube lure resembles a blood worm more than i needle fish. In deeper water this lure obviously mimics a needle fish or hound fish. Large Cuda's are very wary, so sight fishing is usually a waste of time, since they will see you before you see them. Long casts up to 120 feet in known Cuda waters are the way to go. Trolling a tube lure will also work occasionally. Tube lures will out fish live bait since the wire is concealed inside the lure itself except for a few inches protuding from its nose. If you do spot a cuda, cast at least 20 feet in front of it and 20 feet past it or more. They are so fast with keen eyesight that this distance means nothing to them.
    Giimoozaabi
  • UK AnglerUK Angler Posts: 278 Deckhand
    If I was your mate, I'd have 2 rods out. One with a live bait, one with half a fresh dead bait (Sliced to let blood out), both fished under a float (I think you call them bobbers?) and let them drift behind teh boat. Keep letting line out until they have worked back 150+ yards over 15 or 20 minutes and then bring them back to the boat and start letting them back again. When my kids are yellowtailing off teh back, I stick my rods out on the outriggers and feed them back that way so it keeps all of the lines tangle free. This way- you guys can bottom fish/ yellow tail etc and he can cover a lot of water whilst you sit in one place. I had more success this year with dead baits than lives to be honest. If the weather is choppy- all of the near water banks in the gulf (Bridges, Money key, bethals, red bay bank etc etc) will give you a good shot at a Cuda (or shark), plus the odd table sized fish in between the juveniles.

    When he's tying his wire traces up- have a circle hook up the trace to lip hook the bait and then a treble further back to stick in teh bottom end of the bait- cuda's will slice a bait in half in seconds and 1 hook can lead to lots of missed bites.
  • piner_wahoopiner_wahoo Posts: 3,677 Captain
    rigged ballyhoo near vaca cut= massive cudas
    28' SEA VEE BRAND NEW 200 SUZUKI's- LIVE BAIT OFFSHORE WRECKS DEEP DROP REEFS BACKCOUNTRY
    CUSTOM CHARTERS u pick the boat- Capt.Harlan Trammell
    American Allegiance Charters -LOWER KEYS BACKCOUNTRY FISHING,LOBSTER dives, fish the 33' WORLDCAT w/ AOK+Allegiance!
    your boat or mine, my spots+my gear, your fish.
    305.394.7400
    BIG WAHOO
    checkout our new website- http://www.american-allegiance-charters.com/
    https://www.facebook.com/pages/American-Allegiance-Charters/708182519302079[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • piner_wahoopiner_wahoo Posts: 3,677 Captain
    rigged ballyhoo near vaca cut= massive cudas-p emmed u
    28' SEA VEE BRAND NEW 200 SUZUKI's- LIVE BAIT OFFSHORE WRECKS DEEP DROP REEFS BACKCOUNTRY
    CUSTOM CHARTERS u pick the boat- Capt.Harlan Trammell
    American Allegiance Charters -LOWER KEYS BACKCOUNTRY FISHING,LOBSTER dives, fish the 33' WORLDCAT w/ AOK+Allegiance!
    your boat or mine, my spots+my gear, your fish.
    305.394.7400
    BIG WAHOO
    checkout our new website- http://www.american-allegiance-charters.com/
    https://www.facebook.com/pages/American-Allegiance-Charters/708182519302079[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • BigguyBigguy Posts: 99 Greenhorn
    Cuda's can't resist those Tube Lures They are not expensive, like stated above get the biggest you can fine and troll kind of fast
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