Tuesday, September 30, 2014

September Spearfishing Report….The Transition month

The right tail..er um yellowtail can make your day!

September marks the end of summer and the beginning of what too many is the spearfishing season.  Spearfishing from Miami, Florida Keys, Hollywood Beach, Dania Beach, West Palm Beach, Sebastian Inlet all the way to Jupiter, as well as the Treasure coast on North spearfishing  really starts to get awesome as the water starts to cool up and fish start to come into shallower waters. Although September is a fairly slow month for tourism and spearfishing charters, heck even fishing charters in general…it’s a blessing in disguise as our Miami Florida spear fishing waters free up of boat traffic, allowing for 100% spearfishing charter success.  September is a kinda, what I call- a transition month- that is lots of what
A Sept. Line-up
went on in August carries over into September, and what’s to come in October starts to happen towards the end of September as well.  And that includes the “famous” mullet run, in fact as of this writing  there should be schools of mullet making their way from Daytona, Melbourne and Sebastion….some pretty awesome spearfishing grounds in their own right!  Of course this is no secret to the best, top notch spearfishing captains who know, following these mullet are predatory fish- the likes of Cobia, Jacks, Pelagics and the usual reef predators. One spearfishing  secret in Miami, Elliot Keys, Key Largo and continuing to Marathon Key is yellowtail snappers these guys are tops on the list for this September  month of spearfishing!!!  For some reason September always delivers big on Flags (BIG YELLOWTAIL) and you’ll find them from Miami to Key Largo and  forward south to Key West.. Waters are teaming with yellowtail waiting to be shot and the spearfishing trick is lots of chum and shoot them from the bottom up.  Also big muttons are readily available, and as the water starts to cool off, some nice, very coy blacks and gags will be showing up too. Let’s hope this North current continues to
A Flag!
cooperate as this is optimal for good reef hunting.  Offshore and into the blue it’s a whole other “can of sardines” bluewater spearfishing starts to idle a bit as the October spearfishing bonanza approaches!!! For those of you in search of Mahi don't despair as the fall patterns begin to settle in towards the end of September we should start seeing the bigger size Dorado gaffers  and slammers as they start their journey North- if you find flotsam or birds you’ll more than likely find some mahi worth jumping into the water to spear!!!.  Chances on blackfin are also high.  The offshore wrecks as well as the Marathon Key  humps are teaming with them from footballs  to  big 20-25 pounders lots of chum and chunking brings them right up fast…but following right behind them are the taxmen so buddying up makes a lot of sense.   With this cooler water we should be seeing more kingfish and their smaller cousins Spanish and Cero mackerels as they start invading our waters= look for them  along the reef edges where the drops are as well
Nice Florida Hamachi
as wrecks.  Speaking of wrecks, keep an eye out, they are now also loaded with big amberjack. and Almaco Jack (much better eating than AJ's) if you're up for some gear wrecking fish, this is the fish for you…tasty either smoked or as escabeche  this fish provide a cheap bluewater spearfishing thrill and some great training for whats to come in the months ahead with the best spearfishing bluewater in Miami as well as the Florida Keys!!!!  Finally our September spearfishing report wouldn’t be complete without a heads up…. Keep an eye out for those big fat pink moon plates otherwise known as  These big pink jellyfish always invade our Florida waters around September so for you guys out there spearfishing be very careful.  Although their sting is’nt to bad they really can do a number on any divers especially on your ascent running into on head first…our waters are presently  bombarded with these big pink plates so keep an eye out for them


If it’s a fight you’re looking for, then you need to shoot yourself an Amberjack-I’m referring to the Greater Amberjack, not  the Lesser amberjack which look very similar, but do not reach the same size.  Also known as a Reef Donkey (or just Donkey) or just simply as A.J’s, Amberjacks are one of the hardest fighting fish out there pound for pound,  and will surely put your spearfishing gear to the test, if not out of the test all together.  Never underestimate the brute power of an AJ, and make sure you have the appropriate spearfishing gear to handle these brutes!  My preferred set up is either a break away with a floatline (about 25-30 feet shorter than the bottom, attached to a Heavy Riffe 2 atm float, or 30L
Tough gear for tough fish
Hippo  attached to a 10’ bungie with a 15 L float(best) or the same set up attached to your gun (much more precarious).  In my opinion a reel for this type spearing is a little riskier as an AJ can tangle up on the bottom on that first strong run and you can lose a lot of reel line.  It’s important to put some muscle on him on the first run as they will be headed to the bottom like a freight train from hell.  AJ’s like structure that’s holding bait so wrecks is always tops here in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and the Keys, Oil rigs are also tops for Donkeys…but we still don’t have those here, yet.  You find AJ’s on your sonar usually mid depth and as a general rule the deeper the water the bigger the donkey. Once you find them do some burley and chunking this will bring them up a little more off the wreck…wait as the smaller 10-20 will come up first, usually the 50-100’ers are hanging solo and take their time climbing the water column. So wait to take your shot…then be prepared to enter the house of KICK ASS!!  Really any month is ok for amberjacks, except of course the closed dates which can very in state waters and federal waters so make sure you’re on the target with that, most spearfishing charters
Nelson Kwok with a huge AJ
will be informed and up to date.  Usually April and May you will find the big’ems, but we have seen a steady amount of Big AJ’s around the end of September going into October. The current IUSA record for spearfishing using a speargun is 166 pounds from Portugal (H/L its 157#'s from Japan) and the world record Greater Amberjack for polespear/ Hawaiin sling is 50.5 pounds.  Some peeps shy away from a AJ’s as far as table fare, I for one won’t target them specifically for eating as there are fish I prefer more than an AJ, but don’t think for a moment these fish aren’t tasty they make great grilling or smoking meat when prepared fresh. or as a dip.  Sometimes AJs will have worms. Most of the worms appear in the meat toward the tail area of a filet as opposed to the shoulder meat which tends to not have worms.   Up to now we have never found any with them but have heard of some spearos finding them. The worms themselves don’t present any health issues  even if you ate them, but it is a turn-off, so if an AJ has worms just cut off that piece  and pop him on the grill

Well that does it for September, thanks for dropping in…DIVE SAFE

Till next spearfishing report, tight bands, straight shafts, and smooooooooth triggers!



Monday, September 29, 2014

AUGUST Spearfishing Report-SHORT & SWEET

Dog Snapper...August Dog Days

Well the dog days of August are here.....and I don't mean dog as in spear fishing dog snapper...I mean really slow, hot,humid days! For some spearo's/speara's August is the time of year to to tend your boat, and for
others it’s time to hit the sandbar for some braggin' why cause generally speaking the water warms up to the point that it’s virtually impossible to find fish in depths less than 100' and that limits about 50% of most folk spearfishing our Miami, Haulover, Hollywood, Key Biscayne and Florida Keys water. But don't despair my breath holding, band stretching, trigger pulling, fish slinging compadre….spearfishing in Florida in August is still awesome if you have the best spearfishing crew to put you on the fish….so if you want to
A typical August Charter
score some spearfishing bonuses (and some sandbar bragging rights) read these spearfishing tips and tricks for the dog days of August!!!

Water temperature is key when spearing in Miami, Florida Keys, and Miami Beach in the hot month of August….so keep an eye on your temperature gauge any significant change in temperature is worth checking out. Most temperature changes occur either on an abrupt change in depth, as in a drop off or large plate for example, or in a trough that runs parallel to a flat, these are fish routes often used be predator fish such as Coronados (otherwise known as BIG MUTTONS) or Mules (BIG
keep an eye on your sonar.Tept and Depth changes
YELLOW JACK or Florida Hamachi), and yes some mighty big’ass bull sharks too. Temperature is also a few degrees less in the shade so when spearfishing in August look under ledges and especially in holes, I can’t say how many times we have dropped on to a boulder with a crack on it to find a mammoth Black chilling inside. The spearfishing month of August is known for some flash showers, and some long all day showers as well…many spearfishing clients shy away from spearing after these days because visibility is impacted negatively (more on this in a minute) and many spearfishing charters just close all together when these showers roll in as well. But here’s a spearfishing
Black Grouper  in the hole
August secret tip that not everyone knows….although visibility is decreased, due to run-off water dumping into Biscayne Bay and surrounding waters, as well as algae blooms (caused by the change a in salinity and sun) which begins as white particulated water then changing to a more mature green particle (algea)…this
decrease in viz also causes the water to cool off at depth! So water that was say 85 degrees at 30’ can after a long shower, hit say 80 degrees the day after, and that 5 degree change can mean 5 more fish in the cooler!

Another August spearfishing report trick of the month is current- a north current is key when fish are to be speared and the best spearfishing captains will keep an eye out for that as well-especially around that August full moon which brings the big cubera in for some romancing and also increases your chances to score spearfishing some wahoo…and of course some kingfish too. Many of our spearfishing expeditions revolve around bluewater;
Nice Florida Hamachi
we do have success, but truth be said you gotta do some serious running and gunning to find fish. Mahi are out and about but mostly small schoolies, weedlines are not as pronounced, so look for pods….also birds which will usually be under schools of Bonita…which may have a few wahoo under them as well, or as in our last spearfishing guided trip a 300+ Marlin….which we shot, with our GoPro lol. Kingfish can also be had during any of our spearfishing mixed bag of August, these guys are usually along our second reef line where the color change occurs and the depth jumps from 70-80’ to 120-130’ kingfish patrol these waters hungry for food, and a slow deliberate drift with our drift anchors, some chum and flashers usually brings one or 2 in for a closer look . Speaking of chum if yellowtailing is the spearfishing plan…take plenty of chum and find a nice drop of…fix yourself up with the current and let that chum work its magic, and don’t forget to sweeten it up with some chunk to (bonita is golden) keep an eye out for the willy mutton or cubera which might be drawn into your chum slick(especially if your chunking) as well.

Cubera on the prowl

Here’s a spearfishing trick for yellowtail snapper…which by the way are one of the hardest snapper species to shoot. Once the big tails are in swim away from the pack drop and approach from below shooting upwards …we’ve taught clients this spearfishing trick, and they have been able to shoot some big flags this way. No spearfishing report is complete without a wreck forecast right? Wrecks are fish magnets fa’su and now’s a good time to hit a wreck with a cooler full of chunked bait fish and bring up the gear wreckers-Amberjack! This guys will put your gear to the test, and will provide you with an adrenaline rush not soon forgotten…plus a
months’ worth of smoked fish, also within the wreck bunch keep a look out for Florida Hamachi, Kingfish and Wahoo.

BEST BET Spearfishing for the month of August...Well not really spearfishing ....LOBSTA

Florida Spiny Lobster that’s the “fish” of the month for our August spearfishing report! I think we had a great write up on last month best spearfishing blog in the world…lol. So if your up for a review check it out….here is a quick summary for regs . And here is a short version of a few lobster tips and tricks when in Miami, or Florida Keys…also keep in mind when in the Keys many regulations for harvesting lobsters are different than the rest of Florida, so either read them
carefully or make sure your spearfishing charter captain is up to date on them. Another important factor when snatching Florida spiny lobsters is to carry a lobster gauge with you at ALL times.

Here are a few more lobster harvesting techniques when chasing these tasty critters and the best thing is they will work in Miami Beach, Dania Beach, West Palm Beach, Sebastian Inlet and onward throughout all of Florida! I first should mention, when chasing lobsters think like a roach…yes a roach, as that’s a lot like lobstas are. Once you got that lobster tip down …the rest is not to difficult to grasp. In my last blog I mention some broad lobster hunting methods that are 100% full proof and should boat you quite a few bugs as well as the best type of equipment and gear you should use to maximize both your time and cooler with lobsters. Here are a few more methods and techniques to get more Florida Spiny Lobsters. When you approach any reef, plate, hump always look for a lobsters antennae, it’s a very distinguishable telltale sign, that just sticks out . Another tip for
lobster harvesting is to look for them on what I call the “out rock” that is those rocks that are a few feet away from the main reef or rock pile. Another place to look for bugs is in coral heads but not just inside the head, but on the inside top part same holds for the inside top part of ledges and piles. A tickle stick is the best tool for effortlessly getting lobsters to move out of their hole sneak it behind them and tap their tale this will get them to move out and face the tickle stick, the rest is simple.  Another great part about lobstering is that we can combine it into any part of your spearfishing guided trip, often times we will do a half day of bluewater spearfishing and end with a few hours of bugging.
  Overall although August can be a tough month to spearfish, but it still can
be productive.  All they species are here and as any good spearfishing captain and crew will tell you its just a matter of planning your charter to attack from different angles as the weather and day adjusts.  Run and gunning will work well, but so will the other methods fpr spearfishing described above....be versatile and the cooler will slowly fill up.  And if all else fails well you can always hit the sandbar and have yourself a merry time enjoying Florida's awesome weather and its assortment of fun thanks for dropping in!

Till next spearfishing report, tight bands, straight shafts, and smooooooooth triggers!



Thursday, August 28, 2014

Looking like August came and went....where's our August spearing report?

Paradise in the horizon
Well looking like August came and went....and wheres our August spearing report???? Well I have a great excuse-PUNTA MITA where this writing is currently taking place!!!!
How do you spell PESCADO
Yes Punta Mita, the Marlin Tuna, Yellowtail, Cubera,Grouper capital South of'da border! As all you know we have been very busy this year traveling the globe (U.S. and abroad) finding the perfect remote areas that hold quality fish (the easy part) and securing the right captains (the challenging part) and crew to put you on those fish. Punta Mita was high on our list of places to
Right Capt.=Big Fish
meet and connect with right peeps! As most spearos/spearas know fishing captains aren't always the best option, it seems everything flows a lot easier when the captain is a spearo too (most of the times at least)! Speaking of which we will soon have a dedicated "full-time in house" Capitan...that's also a spearo (stay tuned) running charters in our local waters from West Palm Beach to Sebastian, including Dania, Hollywood, Miami Beach and Key Biscayne and Florida Keys we'll have you covered with the best spearfishing captain
...and the right tools
Florida has- "What does this equate to" you ask? Well hopefully a bit more reliability (as many of you have heard me say "wheres a good captain when you need one lol), and a tad less lengthy wait list (the logistics can be challenging when outsourcing a captain, as quite a few of you who have tried booking a charter with us already know) awaits us - and yes finding reliable captains even in the states can be trying (for lack of better words).Although we hoped to get in some down time in Punta
Fishy rock
Mita and do some spearing, such was not the case, but we found what we came for (and then some), and will hopefully soon start providing spearo's with some reliable, LOCAL captains that not only grew up on those waters, but spearfish as well...and for those of you who have
and then some
booked spearfishing charters, with us you know that can make or break a a spearfishing adventure of a lifetime. Finally, a full report on Punta Mita, and the best spearfishing captains Punta Mita has, ready to take you on a trophy spearfishing safari...is in the works....Ahhh speaking of spear fishing reports what about that August spearing report...I got a 3 letter answer I O U and I'm good for it, just gimme a few days to get back home...I gotta catch a plane

Till next spearfishing report, tight bands, straight shafts, and smooooooooth triggers!


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

July's Spearfishing Report- bang, bang, bang with fish and shellfish!

Big Slabbers are in for the  BANG month!  and Permits still around

Every year July 1st  the kids and I go to the nearest fireworks display and rape the shelves for fireworks well July's just not only  for Independence Day  Fireworks, but it's also banging with Fish… and Shellfish as well!!! July is an explosive month to be out on the water spearfishing.

Scallops in grass beds
Every July 1 scallop season begins in Florida, but this year it snuck up on us on June 28th lol. Clean water, high salinity and a healthy seagrass bed is where these tasty critters live, but these same conditions is what has reduced its range- primarily from the Pasco Hernando County line northwest along the Big Bend region to the west bank of the Mexico Beach Canal and Bay county- not too bad. Generally in years of high rain fall induced flooding, the rivers excess fresh water and sediment dumps into the Gulf Coast waters resulting in a poor harvest season, an indicator of the sensitivity of the scallop to thrive in reduced salinity and clarity.  Hunting for scallops in the clear waters of the Gulf is a family experience fa’su! Hunting for scallops is easy, it takes no experience, special spearfishing equipment or training- just a snorkel, mask and pair of fins and you’re in business (and most of us own that already right?).  Jump in on a sea grass bed and look
Scalloping a fun family treat!
for the scallops "Blue eyes" about 20 pairs (I think) in total, lining the edges of its shell, which is about 3" wide, and is a brown/white mottled color which can be easy to spot on occasion, but sometimes they have that mossy algae growing on the shell camouflaging it with the sea grass and of course if they are nestled in the sand it can make it a bit challenging.  Once you spot one, be quick in snatching it up, because they are self-propelled, rapidly clasping their shells together jetting water out of its rear.  Btw these shells can also
The Blue eyes!
pinch your fingers so gloves and a mesh bag comes in handy- fellas you don't want to put scallops in the pockets of your swim trunk lol. A Florida saltwater fishing license is needed to harvest bay scallops even when scalloping from shore.  The daily bag limit is 2 gallons whole in the shell or a pint of scallop meat per person- there is a maximum of 10 gallons whole scallops in the shell or half-gallon shucked meat per vesse.  Also know your boundaries it is illegal to take scallops in waters outside of the designated harvest zone.  Also remember if you are hunting from your boat to have your designated diver down flag exhibited- this is very important as a lot of boaters are in the scallop hunt zone boating around looking for the same thing.  Scalloping is lots a fun if you want to learn more head over to the site its packed with 411 on
Easy pickins'
everything scallop!

While we are on the topic of shell fish creatures let's not forget the monumental lobster mini season.  This two day spiny lobster "sport season" is always the last consecutive Wednesday and Thursday in July.
Mini Season Line-up
It begins at 12:01 AM on the last Wednesday in July and ends at 12 midnight and the last Thursday in July.  The bag limit is six per person per day from Monroe County and Biscayne National Park, and 12 per person per day for the rest of Florida. The possession limit on the water is equal to the daily bag limit and off the water it is equal to the daily bag limit on the first day and double the daily bag limit on the second day.  Possession limits are forced on and off the water. Spiny lobster has a minimum size limit that must be larger than 3 inches carapace measured in the water.  Remember nighttime diving is prohibited in Monroe County (only during the sport season) also
SuperSize'em both
keep in mind lobstering is prohibited in John Pennekamp State Park during mini season as well.  In Everglades National Park, Dry Tortugas National Park, and specific no take areas in the Florida Keys national Marine sanctuary lobstering is prohibited.  A few other clauses within Monroe Countyapply: Islamorada, City of Key Colony Beach, City of Marathon, or any of unincorporated Monroe County there is no diving or snorkeling rule applied within 300 feet of improved residential or commercial shoreline, as well as no diving or snorkeling in any man-made private canal and no diving or snorkeling in any public or private marina-and they enforce this law to the limit!  A recreational saltwater license and crawfish permit is needed for harvesting these tasty critters. Regular spiny lobster season is always August 6 through March 31 the same bag limits during the sports season harvest.

Here are a few important lobstering tips/boating safety pointers during the mini season:

1-Prepare your boat before you launch it

2-Have all your safety gear and boat/trailer papers in order and up to date

3- Familiarize yourself with the local waters and/or your lobstering guide

4- Be cautious of skinny (shallow) water

5- Keep an eye out for divers and steer clear of them; slow to idle speed within 300 feet of a dive flag

6- Watch out for divers where you don't expect them, which could be further away than 300ft from their boat

Bugs! Its whats for dinner
7-Don’t navigate with your dive flag up

8-Be cautious of your divers coming near, into, or out of the boat-ALWAYS keep it in neutral or OFF

9-If it all possible have all divers carry a dive flag tethered to them while in the water-this could be lifesaving especially during mini season.

10- Don't drop the hook on a coral reef, but rather in its outskirt on the sand

11- Keep track of the tides, especially if your off a shoal around Key Biscayne/Elliot Key

12- Check the weather forecast frequently, July/August forecast can change fast!

13- If pulled over by Marine Patrol or FWC, being friendly, polite, and cooperative is the key to a happy ending, remember these guys are just doing their job, and guaranteeing future bugs for our next generation

14- Aside from the saltwater license you also need a lobster stamp

15- Gear such as spears, hooks, wire snares and any device which could puncture penetrate or crush the shell of the lobster is prohibited

16- Always measure lobster in the water before bringing them on the boat

17- Every harvester must have a gauge for measuring lobster, while in the water at all times while lobstering,
The other Taxman

18- Lobster must remain in a whole condition (all parts intact) while at sea, in other words not till you reach terra firma dockside can you wring them!

19- If at all possible keep your bugs alive till dockside (or till you get home) it makes a huge difference in quality

20- If the bug is caring eggs (a bright orange spongy looking sack under its tail) very carefully release it where you got it from-Egg bearing females are illegal to harvest.. 
Finding bugs is pretty easy, look under, in and around rocks, ledges and structures.  Also around shoals with grass ledges. Pretty much anything "crawlable and protecting" can be home to a lobster- tires, tubs, and even metal plates, and cynder blocks are all lobster hotels The best lobstering equipment is dependent on a few factors, but pretty standard is a good pair of dyneema gloves, and a quick pair of hands lol.  Now if you wanna get fancy a spring loaded snare like this one on youtube works pretty well, I prefer the green snare personally, and finally the old reliable tickle stick/net..."the Lobster Assasination Kit" if you guys remeber those back in the days lol..  Here's a great write up on how to use one too.  Finally a mesh bag or a lobster inn bag wraps up the rest of the lobstering gear.  An important consideration especially during mini season, is a float/dive flag combo attached to the divers like this one sold by Austin's Dive shop is great and doubles as a lobster boat lol.

JULY is all about “Strategic Hunting”

The heading echoes what we must apply the next couple of weeks spearfishing in July for the best results. As we head deeper into summer the key word is going to be "Strategic Hunting", and any spearfishing guide will have his/her game plan in place for the very best spearfishing results for their client!

When spearfishing in the month of July- Tides, Moon phase, currents, overall water tempt as well long turn weather (eg repeated afternoon showers over the course of a week) and its effect on spearfishing throughout the week are important to monitor.  The best spearfishing captains will  score consistently if they micro manage these variables- as during these hot as hell months fish will react/move with the slightest of deviations.


Spearfishing weather for July is purdy consistent, calm seas almost every day with that midday breeze from the south and knurly afternoon showers with a few lightning storms thrown in for good measure.  Luckily for
Strategy is the name of the game for July
us spearos/spearas the ocean often serves as a pressure front preventing the storm from going on water this is especially noticeable when spearfishing from Key Biscayne to Elliot Key, in the Keys they cross through fairly rapidly and thus are pretty easy to avoid, also most not being to massive one can maneuver around them, not that it matters much…we’re wet anyways lol!  Another summer weather obstacle to watch for is water spouts….very cool to watch from a distance, but also quite deadly if you’re in its path-STEER CLEAR of water spouts!  Daily rain has its detrimental effects on spearfishing-wash off from our canals make our spearfishing waters dirty, which inturn makes fish spooky.  Rain also changes the waters salinity which causes “algae blooms” turning the water green, worsening viz.
The moon has always had on effect on spearfishing, and during July’s summer full moon quite a few species are spawning aside from Mango’s, and yellowtails; that tasty odd looking fish we call the triggerfish is also romancing. During the full moon fish will be more actively feeding, which means during the day they will be
A July weather water spout
less active.  In other words, hogfish will be hugging seafans and similar structure camo’ed and motionless, blacks will be holed up and snapper will be under their favorite ledge.  If doing Miami, Fort Lauderdale or Florida Keys bluewater spearfishing for  mahi, wahoo, or kings you’re allowed an extra few hours of sleep as these pelagics will start feeding later in the morning, after feeding heavily at night during the full moon.  Tides behave very differently during the summer full and new moons and their consequential effects must be taken into consideration when spearfishing

Tides shift from highs to lows within 6-10 hours and depending where and what you are spearfishing, affecting fish differently.  An incoming tide is bringing in bait as well as clean water, so you can be closer inland (say Hawks channel in our Florida Keys) and find good spearfishing.  An outgoing tide is pushing water out of the bay so it’s going to be dirtier, meaning you’re going to have to go further out (maybe the first reef in our Miami waters) but it’s also pushing bait out with it, so fish might be stacked in certain pockets waiting for food. Also during the full moon tidal current picks up which causes fish to move around, these are great times to be in the water spearfishing while drifting with the current with a great spearfishing captain tracking his clients. New moons will cause the bottom and tops of the tides to be very powerful….any station in tidal creeks could produce some quality fish.  A good current=a good fish.  Anywhere you find good decent current you are more likely to find fish, current keeps fish moving, and it also brings bait in.  Find some structure that has a horseshoe or “cove” type shape and you’ll likely find bait
Typical July spearfishing weather
in these pockets….and with the bait are big pescados. 

During the July heatwave it’s not uncommon for water temperature to hit the 80’s causing fish to move to cooler waters- not necessarily deeper waters, but water that is a few degrees cooler- under ledges, in a current pocket, even a slight depth change within a reef structure could cause that few degree temperature change that fish cool off in.  If doing bluewater spearfishing a surface temperature warmer than surrounding water could mean stressed out bait…which could only mean pelagics are below chomping on that unlucky bait. 

Speaking of baitfish and its influence on spearfishing, around this time every year the Gulf Stream buzz slows down a tad, as Gulf waters warm up.  This inturn pushes huge schools of bait closer to inshore bottom structure- humps, high points, pinnacles. The large mass of baitfish sardines,cigar minnows, big-eye shad (goggle eyes or chicharro) and Ballyhoo migrate to the cooler inshore waters (which are still quite a ways out but not in the Gulf Stream) over wrecks and reefs to spawn, these type structure act like fish eateries for large pelagics.  Any good spearfishing captain will know these migration routes caused by water temperature changes which occur usually around the same time of year, every year, almost assuring  pelagics will be there also.  The best spearfishing guides will have a log of these routes, and will consistently score on pelagics for their bluewater spearfishing clients.
Its no secret during the summer months especially July the Gulfstream gets pushed in tight, around Fowey
The "reef" baitball spawn
Rocks onward south and it’s like a highway for pelagics.  Dolphin, Wahoo, Kingfish, BIG Mackeral, Yellow Jacks, Tuna, Bonitos, and even Cobia are all migrating south in front of Miami around Government Cut which in itself serves as a huge baitfish biomass funnel!!!  The best Miami, Florida Keys, and East coast spearfishing guides will look for the color change from green water to Blue, that’s where your large kingfish will be patrolling, and with them you’ll find Bonito which are making their annual migration through our Florida waters.  Bonitos are found by many to be too bloody to be good eating (although I have heard if bled quickly they make exceptional sashimi) but they do make outstanding burley…if you are fast enough to spear one!  Wahoo and Blackfin tuna spearfishing at the Marathon Humps is excellent right now, with some good size fish in the 12- to 15-pound class being skewered.  Dolphin fishing remains hit or miss, with mostly small numbers of schoolie size fish.   Although elusive, there are some gaffers
A Big Florida Hamachi
and slammers to be had as well, but you have to go way further offshore in the 15-20 mi range.  Finally don’t overlook those real deep water wrecks in the 300’-500’ depth which can have wahoo stacked in the upper water column less than 50’ below!
During this time of the month a bit closer inshore in 30’-100’ you’ll find good yellowtails in the 16”- 18” range and mangrove snapper with some good size to them; some being “slabbers” in the five pound range and above.  Muttons are around mostly in deeper waters coming off the wrecks or a bit shallower on an outgoing tide, keep an eye out for permits (in federal waters) too they’re still lingering around out there!!!  Speaking of wrecks brute amberjack are in the vicinity as are some nice cobia….if your looking for something to wreck your gear!  Speaking of wrecking spearfishing gear Cubera snappers are on these wrecks too as August rolls around and the full moons spawn draws near.


 Call it what you will-gray snapper, mangrove snapper, black snapper, mango snapper- leave the relative safety of the mangrove roots in and around Key Biscayne, Matheson Hammock, and Sands Cut channels , bays, backcountry and Gulf side of the Florida Keys to rendezvous on the outer edge of the reefline on the Oceanside for the purpose of procreation.  The spawn can be found anywhere from patch reefs in as little as 15 feet of water out to the deep edge of the outer reef in 100 feet or more.
The mango July spawn

 The spawn in the lower keys along the reef line is evenly divided between state and federal waters. The rules regarding the taking in terms of size and bag limits vary greatly between the two approximately east of American Shoal the reef line is in federal waters and to the west of the light the reef line is state water.

Mangrove (Grey) Snapper *STATE WATERS
Size limit: 10"
Bag limit: 5 per person/day (included in 10 snapper aggregate bag limit)
Mangrove (Grey) Snapper *FEDERAL WATERS
Size limit: 12"
Bag limit: 10 per person/day (included in 10 snapper aggregate bag limit)

If you want to score on big “slabber” mango’s now is a great time to go spearfishing for them!  From Sebastian Inlet, through West Palm Beach, onward down the east coast to Haulover, Miami Beach, and the Keys mangrove snapper are on the move.  One great spearfishing tip for mangrove snappers is to be on the water during July’s full moon, actually a few days before and even a few days after, but you already know that, so here’s another spearfishing tip for mango snapper-find the numbers!  Numbers here does not refer to great waypoint spearfishing numbers, but rather “quantity”. Mangroves are spawning so the more the merrier is the key.  Although the big slabbers usually are in small pods throughout the year, this time of year in July the slabbers and small snapper are all mixed in, so where you see a large number of small to medium size fish, you will also find the big mammas!  Another one
Big Slabbers are in the Bang month
of the best spearfishing tip for snapper is find good structure, especially a big depth change as found in many reefs throughout Tavernier Key to Marathon Key….ledges, humps, plates are great, and if they drop from 10 feet down to 50’ it can be 1000 times more productive.  You see these type structures will hold bait on the top, so snapper below don’t have to go too far for a meal, so now the same ledge is home, feeding, and spawning grounds all in one!  Probably one of the absolute best spearfishing methods for mango snappers is the aspetto, agachon, or lie&wait…all meaning the same thing (depending where’s your homeport) which is to lie on the bottom (not necessarily motionless).  Some aspettos you want to blend in and be still, a snapper agachon is a bit different, you actually want to stir a little sand, tap a few rocks, twang your bands…as the mango has one downfall-curiosity!  During your lie&wait keep your gun in close under you…and wait, as generally the smaller mango’s will come in first, the slabbers take a little longer…so just be patient!  Another great spearfishing trick I have passed on to many spearo/a is to dress the tip of your gun with some reflective tape and even a fake lure-type fish eye or 2 on the muzzle.  I have had 5# slabbers come right up to my muzzle for a bite of steel!  In fact this spearfishing trick works so well that I include it standard in all my custom made enclosed track Euro spearguns.  If you’re having a hard time locating snapper find any good structure and chum at mid-depth, if within 15-30 minutes you’re not seeing any move on.  Once you locate them bring the chum up to the surface tie it off to your boat and chunk some ballyhoo, this usually brings the slabbers out of hiding.   If you are spearfish  stalking mango snapper on a ledge locate the “snapper train”, a few gray snappers sitting around together, who usually as you are dropping will come up to greet you then swim away in a train-like formation.  Follow them closely looking over your shoulder.  I have noticed the snapper train, on the move, will lure in more snapper, as well as make the bigger smarter snapper follow behind the spearo/a, instead of joining the train, that’s another
great spearfishing trick or technique that I use.  Another spearfishing technique for mangrove snapper is hole hunting.  This is a fast style of shooting fish, and a short one band speargun really helps.  Find a structure that’s holding fish, and has a few holes in it (this is important) so snapper can move in and out and around, lie at the ready on one hole- and wait.  Often a few small snapper will poke in before the bigger one shows himself, shoot fast as the chances are he won’t show himself again.  If nothing happens on that first drop, on your second drop go to the next hole, and so on.  Most good spearfishing charter captains know the snapper spawn will continue even into August (to a much lesser extent) so having a good amount of spearfishing waypoints that have produced snappers in the past during the spawn will really fill the cooler, and the best thing is the great mangrove snapper waypoints will produce big fish year after year


Till next spearfishing report, tight bands, straight shafts, and smooooooooth triggers!