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Capt. Skip Dana - Broward County

February 9, 2012

What a strange winter it’s been so far. Fishing along the reef has been pretty good overall, but without a steady dose of coldfronts like we’re used to it’s been hard to put any kind of pattern together. 

While we have been catching a few fish out in the deep, lot’s of vermilions and groupers, both of which are out of season, and a few muttons off some of the wrecks, our best fishing has been in tight from 65 to as shallow as 25 feet. The water has been extremely clear the past couple weeks which makes it tough but when the ocean gets choppy the area inside the 2nd reef almost always clouds up and turns to a milky white which is straight money for muttons, yellowtails, mangroves, kings, spanish mackeral, cobia, and even red snappers. A couple days ago we caught a 5 pound red snapper in 18 feet of water.
I’m not sure why the fish get in there but I believe they move into that cloudy water because it stirs up all the bottom critters they feed on and the dirty water makes it easier for them to feed, because on the days we catch them on the inside you can hardly get a bite on any of the outside reefs.

It’s easy fishing we’ve been starting on the outside of the 2nd in 65 feet and pretty much drifting to the beach. My guys have been rigging up mostly with longer leaders and a 3/0 to 6/0 circle hook, I like a 5/0 vmc, and just enough weight to get to the bottom and freespooling till you get a bite. The fish have been scattered all thru the area inside the reef. The yellowtails and mangroves seem to stay a little closer to the reef itself, the muttons will be pretty much anywhere but they like what I call the plateau anywhere from 40 to about 30 feet, same for the kings which have been pretty solid in there with some nice fish too up to 27#’s. The cobias have been in that same area but they are kind of a hit or miss thing, kind of like blind trolling for dolphin. They are coming down the coast following the rays so if you do happen to get on them it will more than likely be the motherload. We got jumped 3 times this past week in there and got, 9 with 4 keepers, 5 with 2 keepers, and 5 with 1 keeper.

The charterboats have been catching a fair amount of wahoo this past week along with a few dolphin and lot’s of little tunas. The sailfish bite has been very slow for the past few weeks, there are a few around but not in the numbers we should be seeing for this time of year. I’m guessing that our lack of coldfronts is the reason for this. Weather looks like it’s going to be nice for the next few days and heading into the weekend, but if it’s choppy and you can’t get anything going try up in shallow, they’re there. Good luck if you can get out.

Capt. Skip

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