It’s that time of year again – when blistering heat descends and the surface bite shuts down. Despite the August doldrums, the fishing during our last few trips has been pretty good overall. We’ve been catching a mix of bonitas, kingfish, as well as a few nice dolphin in the 10lb range. We’ve run into several nice schools of mahi-mahi the past few weeks and hopefully they’ll stick around.
The key to summer fishing in Miami, FL is to find structure and current – making use of live bait whenever possible. Most of the larger pelagic species stay deep when the water temperature slides above 85 degrees, which means we work the entire water column to “find the bite”. Trolling planers along the edge has produced a consistent bite of kingfish while the ship wrecks have held a few amberjacks and the occasional Almaco.
We’ve been putting in some time trolling offshore as well – looking for weedlines and floating debris which hold lots of small baitfish. Most of the dolphin we have found were hiding under floaters or being chased by birds and there hasn’t been much of a pattern to their location. The best practice for summer dolphin fishing in Miami, FL is to spend time in the 1200′ to 1600′ range – as the deeper water is often where cooler water temperatures reside – but most of our fish have been caught in the 1000′ range.
A few large schools of skipjacks and small blackfin tunas have also been making their way through the area. It’s common this time of year to see massive flocks of birds working huge schools of skipjacks – what they lack in size they make up for in ferocity. Catching skipjacks offshore requires a bit of “running and gunning” to keep up with the fish, but it’s still a great summer treat which is exciting to experience.
As we move into the fall pattern, the kingfish and bonita bite should remain consistent. It’s likely there will be a few schools of dolphin sticking around the deeper waters as well. With plenty of live bait in the area, we’ll certainly be capable of live lining for the next few weeks – and you never know what you might catch with frisky live bait at the end of the line.