Key Largo Next Week
We'll down in Key Largo beginning Monday AM. Rented a 26 center console and can't wait to get out to try some offshore fishing. Seems like the mahi bite has been pretty good, and blackfins are around too. I've got six trolling setups and 3-4 lighter rods. Weather permitting, we'll probably stick offshore. Here's the plan and I would love for anyone to critique, add advice etc since this is only our second time down there (we did pretty well last time for novices).
For the trolling spread, I've got a bird/chug head lure as the WWB, two feathers in the wash off the flat lines, two 'hoos/feathers off the riggers, and maybe a planer with spoon or daisy chain squeezed in there somewhere if I can make it work. If we see birds or are after tuna, we'll probably drop the rigger lines back farther since they can be prop shy to my understanding. We'll have the lighter rods set up with lures/bait, and will bring some combination of cut hoo and squid to bail mahi if the situation presents.
Any thoughts on this plan?
Whatever you do just keep mixing it up until you find something that works. One of my favorite baits down there is a Crystal over pink billy bait over a ballyhoo off the rigger. I've also had good luck with Blue / white Billy bait over medium Ballyhoo. Instead of the planer try running some kind of big lip swimming plug like a yozury, bomber, or Manns close to the boat. If you think you have tuna in the area but you're not getting bights try dropping a small swimming plug like a 5" yozuri or bomber way way back in your spread if the weeds aren't too bad. I say way back because if it can cause a nightmare of a tangle if it gets mixed up with your other lures. Also if you see tuna busting and moving too quickly to get in front of with your lures try to get close and slow down enough to let someone from the bow cast into the school with a deadly dick type lure or vertical type jig. Keep at least one spinner ready with a chunk and another spinner ready with a 1/2 oz jighead / bass assassin type rubber. Watch the floating debris carefully for trippletail, they are finicky but will eat a chunk or live shrimp.
Last edited by Water_boy; 05-07-2012 at 04:17 PM.
trolling the keys
I cant opine on your spread as I have only been down there once - and it just happened to be last week. I ended up fishing an offshore charter out of Key West. We trolled and caught Mahi. The spread was simple. 6 rod spread; 2 on outriggers, 1 40ft downrigger, 3 boat rods all chasing 1 big teaster.
Originally Posted by cletus9000
On the downrigger - pink skirt with ballyhoo rigged (mate said this was for any wahoo in the area)
All other outrigger and boat rods were rigged with only ballyhoo's - hook out bottom of gut, wired around nose.
Longest line out was no nore than 50 feet. The teaser was about 10 feet from the back of the boat, with a boat rod w/ballyhoo about 10 feet behind that. The baits were skipping the surface all day and the mate seemed to think this was a good thing...it worked and we caught some dolphin.
Other advice I picked up from the mate - look for water color changes, temperature changes, debris floating in the water will attract baitfish - in turn attracting predators, and the captain never kept the boat in a straight line...slow S turns
Good Luck and post back when you catch something!!