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Key largo reef action

cranker789cranker789 MiamiPosts: 526 Officer
Headed out yesterday at sunrise from garden cove launch looking for pilchards. No luck so set out some chum and hook and lined 8 pins and 2 blue runners and headed out to elbow reef area. Didn’t have much luck with the pinfish, never do, down low, caught one porgy by the tail that measures 16”. Had better luck with the blue runners on top. Caught a barracuda while trolling and then a trigger ended up on the hook from another blue runner as well lol . Not a bad day, but I don’t have much luck with pinfish even when cutting the spines. Long way out to the reef even with the motor it takes an hour and a half, so don’t know if I’ll be making many more trips out there lol. 

Replies

  • John McKroidJohn McKroid Posts: 3,929 Captain
    Good to see your report.  Nice looking Porgy and Trigger!  Many yrs ago, I did that same exact trek down there with only pedal power.  It was a long pedal out to the Elbow.  On the way out I caught a Blue Runner while trolling.  Used it as bait off the Elbow.  Caught and released a big Cuda with it.  While washing the slime of the Cuda off my hands, my wedding ring slipped off -- gone.  It was a 1.5hr drive down there to catch the same fish I catch locally.  I had a bad trip but look forward to seeing more of yours which might encourage me to give it another try.

    Cheers
  • cranker789cranker789 MiamiPosts: 526 Officer
    Wow what a day that must have been… you’re an animal for getting out there on pedal power. yeah I’ve never kept a porgy or trigger so looking forward to dinner tonight. Not your typical trophy fish but it good to bend a rod and bring something home. Maybe in a weeks time I’ll be inching to get out there again… I’ll probably go to a patch reef to load up on blue runners instead of pins next time. Ever fished blue runners on bottom? 
  • John McKroidJohn McKroid Posts: 3,929 Captain
     Ever fished blue runners on bottom? 
    Yes, No luck for groupers, but Amberjacks and Cudas love them.
  • plasteredplastered Posts: 636 Officer
    Pinfish good grouper bait.
  • cranker789cranker789 MiamiPosts: 526 Officer
    plastered said:
    Pinfish good grouper bait.
    Yeah so I hear, I guess I won’t give up on pinfish yet. 

    The trigger fish was pretty good, different from anything I’d had before. Porgy was good too but trigger was better. 
  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 4,639 Captain
    I was taught on the very first charter boat I worked on as a mate (1973) that in the islands a native would trade you a snapper or grouper for a good sized trigger... When I gave up blue water and retreated back into the Everglades I gave up any shots at them... Fortunately tripletail take their place for us... in the "best eating" category... 
    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
  • bigfinn35bigfinn35 Sarasota/VenicePosts: 1,065 Officer
    plastered said:
    Pinfish good grouper bait.
    Yeah so I hear, I guess I won’t give up on pinfish yet. 

    The trigger fish was pretty good, different from anything I’d had before. Porgy was good too but trigger was better. 
    Main thing with the pins is that they're a pretty hardy bait, so most of the smaller reef fish that might mess with a dead bait or more fragile live baits (like pilchards or hoos) aren't gonna be an issue. Flipside of that is that you might need to wait out the right bite a little sometimes. Granted, my fishery in SWFL is different from the Keys, but on any spot with decent-sized grouper, a tail-hooked pinfish on 5-6 ft of leader (at least) pretty much always gets the bite eventually. When something takes it, there's not much ambiguity.
    Paddle faster, I hear banjo music.
  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 4,639 Captain
    While everyone is working the bottom... I'd have at least one pinfish ballooned out hehind and allowed to drift with your hull, just swimming along five or six feet under the surface with the hook right in front of the dorsal fin so the pin is forced to struggle downwards under whatever float you're using... Leave the reel in gear - no dropback at all... 
    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
  • The Cat's EyeThe Cat's Eye Posts: 1,661 Captain
    edited January 29 #10
    Like the Capt's advice above. The all tackle world record Black Fin ate a pinfish.  I read that is some fishing magazine. The 49 lb 6 oz tuna was caught off Marathon in 2006, possible at one of the Humps.
    Giimoozaabi
  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 4,639 Captain
    One other quick tip about pinfish for those who haven't used them much... Do not discard a dead or dying pinfish since they make an outstanding bottom bait if rigged properly.  Lay that pin on your cutting board and carefully "butterfly" it.  Slice a filet from the tail to the head while leaving it attached to the head - on each side then simply remove the tail and backbone leaving the two sides and head intact.. Hook that butterflied pinfish through the lips or the head then fish it on or near the bottom where it will leave a great scent trail and yet survive small fish nipping at it... Any fish that picks it up will be good sized.  And a butterflied, fresh killed pinfish is a great bait out on the reef or inshore.... 
    This "old timer's bait" really works well - I've been using it for years and years...
    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
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