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How long will sailfishing be decent around KW

This is my first year in Key West and due to my schedule and the winds I haven't had a chance to give sailfishing an honest shot. I will be around for the next few weeks and weather pending I would like to try to land one. Any advice on how long they are typically around for as well as depths/best bait would be appreciated

Replies

  • Jack HexterJack Hexter New Port RicheyPosts: 5,494 Moderator
    You are approaching the end of the season, but they should be around for a while. Best bait and tactics in KW are live ballyhoo, bump trolled in about 130' but anywhere from 90 to 250 will work. By bump trolling, I mean just put the boat in gear to keep the baits behind the boat, do not drag them, once behind the boat, put it in neutral until they swim up even with the boat or start to cross the lines, then into gear again to keep the lines straight and behind the boat. Put the reels in freespool with just enough tension to keep the line from running out ( I use spinners and use a ballyhoo wire as a release to hold the line) Keep an ear to the radio to find the depth they are in on the day you are out.
  • rivamunstasteverivamunstasteve Posts: 694 Officer
    Most I saw last year was the third week in May. Jumping everywhere past the reef. I wouldn't put money on that being the best time to get them, but that should give you reason to target them and expect (hope) success.
  • UK AnglerUK Angler Posts: 298 Deckhand
    Do they disappear completely, or just thin out and leave a few residents? If they do disappear, what time of year do they come back back?
  • bonebone Posts: 1,167 Officer
    I've caught them off marathon in June every year drifting with live bait in 140-220.
  • rivamunstasteverivamunstasteve Posts: 694 Officer
    They are kind of a year round fish. But they do thin out in July and August for sure. My dad used to catch them in April, may, and June like Bone just said , drifting in 150 ish. They Pick back up in the fall.
  • UK AnglerUK Angler Posts: 298 Deckhand
    They are kind of a year round fish. But they do thin out in July and August for sure. My dad used to catch them in April, may, and June like Bone just said , drifting in 150 ish. They Pick back up in the fall.

    Just when I'm back then LOL.

    From what I've seen they are pretty line shy...what's the secret to fishing flouro straight through and not getting bitten off by toothy predators? Or is it just worth while putting 3 or 4 inches of wire/titanium before the hook?
  • rivamunstasteverivamunstasteve Posts: 694 Officer
    Kite fisherman provide the best presentations. But freelining works. I would recommend a longggg 30 pound flourocarbon leader with no swivel. If I wanted to target them I'd use 6 ft of flouro, and then connect it to main line with a double uni. The mainline would also be flouro coated 25lb (maybe p line). You will lose bigger and tooothy fish but maximize your chances of hooking a sail. Some people use up to 60lb flourocarbon leader for them.

    Make sure you get a 4/0 -5/0 demon circle or all purpose hook. I always scale a little smaller. It pays off. Good luck when you go for them. Let us know how it goes.

    You could always put a light wire with a treble along the back to the rear. The toothy guys usually hit tail first.
  • UK AnglerUK Angler Posts: 298 Deckhand
    Cheers mate appreciate the advice! As with all types of fishing then- its scale down to get the bites- but expect to lose some. It's an ever present problem I guess. I've never liked the idea of leaving fish dragging line and tackle around, so I'll probably put a bit of wire and a treble in the mix. It doesn't sound like I'm in peak time in August....so maybe I'll just fish for what's biting and if a sail happens to come along I'll take it as a bonus.

    I will of course report back! :-)
  • Yankee CaptsYankee Capts Posts: 1,003 Officer
    I am at Maryland Shoal right now. I have seen at least 7 on the reef edge. Hope that helps?

    Greg
  • bigd9116bigd9116 Posts: 101 Deckhand
    I am at Maryland Shoal right now. I have seen at least 7 on the reef edge. Hope that helps?

    Greg

    Thanks, plan is to go Tuesday evening I will start around there!
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