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Yellowtail Fishing In The Florida Keys
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Yellowtail Fishing In the Florida Keys

Reef Fishing in the Florida Keys for Yellowtail

There is nothing like getting yourself on the water to do a littlel fishing. It is a fish from the snapper family, which means they are delicious eating. The fish have a distinctive yellow stripe that runs along both sides. My husband and I have traveled to the Florida Keys for 20 years before we finally decided to do some reef fishing. We would always go off shore and burn expensive gas, waste time and seldom find our other favorite fish, dolphin, or also called mahimahi. You will have serenity, excitement and a wonderful dinner if you are smart enough to catch the little tasty fish.

Yellowtail are found around patch reefs and along outer edges of deeper coral and reef rocks. If you look in the chart maps that you can get at any bait store, you will find points for fishing holes tested and confirmed. Of course you will need to have a marine GPS system, which Garmin is a good brand. Handheld works great too.

You want to have the proper equipment; a lighter fishing reel; Shimano and Ocean Master are good brands with 12-15 pound test line and 1/0 circle hooks. You may use silver side, live shrimps or pieces of squid for bait. If you have a live well, live shrimp and pin fish are also good to use. You need to have some sort of commercial chum with a chum bag or chum cage. Oats or cracked corn are also needed to get the frenzy going. Old bacon grease or fry grease mixed in the oats really gets the fish biting.

Once you are achored, put the chum bag out tied to the back of the boat and let the water get "chummy". Flip a scoop of the oats in your chum line. Secure your bait on your hook and just peel off your line a little at a time, but constant. When you get that bite, don't jerk, let the yellowtail take the bait before you set the hook. Get ready to reel in the most fun fish to catch. They are real little fighters and taste oh so good! They say "the bigger the fight, the tastier the fish". You are permitted 10 fish and no smaller than 12". Make sure you also have a fishing license.

Sometimes you will see the snapper all around your boat and they will not bite. Try to take a piece of the bait, the smaller the better, a tail of a silver side or piece of the body, but not the head. Snappers are smart and they will think they are eating chum. It's all about out smarting them. If there is a predator around say a baracuuda or bull shark, they will form a large ball for protection. You want to let your line out to where the ball is, if you can see them from the boat.

I always pack a nice lunch for the down time, when the "bite is off", but I can surely tell you that I have gone home not eating my lunch, but have a wonderful fish dinner planned.

Anyone can do this type of fishing, you just need a little know how. We taught ourselves along the way and have talked to other anglers for their ideas. There is no better place for yellowtail fishing than the Keys.

Happy Fishing!


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