Saturday, December 9, 2017

Keys Fishing after Irma

Happy Holidays Everyone,
Here is a quick update on fishing and recovery in the Keys after Hurricane Irma.  The Islamorada and Key Largo areas are starting to clean up.  A lot of the debris that was piled up on the roadside has been removed.  Most of the smaller Hotel/Motels are up and running and a few larger ones.  My boat is still in the shop and the new completion date is "sometime next week" fingers crossed.  I've been renting a boat for the few trips I've had.  Business is normally slow this time of year..but it's slower then normal for everyone.  We are coming up on the Holiday season and I have several trips booked already around Christmas and New Years.   Fishing has been good.
I fished a couple regular clients on Wednesday and Thursday (Bob and Sandy).  They had a great time as usual catching lots of fish.  Wednessday we concentrated on snook, reds, black drum and snapper.  We caught 4 snook, a black drum, lots of snapper and jacks and Sandy hauled in a big Bull Shark.  Thursday we hit the Gulf for some spanish mackerel and the variety pack.  We spent the whole day reeling in fish.  They were catching a fish every 3rd or 4th cast and sometimes every cast.  We enjoyed the variety pack...spanish mackerel up to about 6 pounds, lots of jacks, speckeled sea trout, mangrove snapper, yellowtail snapper, lane snapper, small sharks, blue runners, ladyfish and a few others.  We went "catching" that day!  They kept a few big mangrove snapper and a mackerel for dinner...yum!
If you are planning a trip to the Keys I urge you to make your reservations well in advance.  Call your favorite Hotel/Motel or rental property and find out about their status.  Feel free to give me a call or email for recommedations.
With limited pressure fishing should continue to get better and better.  Cooler weather is coming and that will bring in more black drum, sheepshead, spanish mackerel and it will concentrate the schools of reds and snook.  I'm looking forward to some great fishing over the next few months.  Come down and enjoy it with me!
Thanks and Happy Holidays,
Captain Steve Murray
Phone: (305) 393-1641


Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Fishing in the Keys 2018

Hello Everyone,
I just got back to the Keys last week from 3 months in Montana.  I thought I would write a quick note about what's going on here.
Everyone knows we got hit by a hurricane (Irma) in September.  There is still a lot of cleanup going on but most businesses are up and running in Islamorada, Tavernier and Key Largo.  The oceanside of the Keys got hit the hardest.  Most of the Resorts on the oceanside are closed and will remain closed for another 4 months to a year.  Much of the work is being done by outside agencies.  Many are commuting from the mainland back and forth and many are staying in the Keys...renting whatever is available.
My boat was damaged and is still in the repair shop. It is supposed to be finished by next week.  I'm having a high quality fiberglass repair shop working on it (Glasser Boat Works).  When the boat is done it will be a custom boat...better then new!  I'm looking forward to getting it the meantime I am borrowing a boat to fish some of my regular clients on Thurday and Friday.  So, I will be sure to get a fishing report out to you next week. My circle of guide friends are telling me the fishing is PRETTY GOOD!
If you are planning a trip down here within the next Year....I would suggest making plans and room reservations as far in advance as possible.  Most of the Major Hotels are closed, some for up to a year.  Once Season starts (February through June and the Christmas Holidays) it may be difficult to find a place to rent.  Here are some of the major Hotels that are closed....Cheeca Lodge, PostCard Inn, Amara Cay Resort, Pelican Cove, Chesapeak Resort and many more.  There are many smaller Hotels and Motels open and most Hotels/Motels on the Bayside are open.  But with the number of people who normally visit the Keys in our "season" there will be limited rentals.
I believe the fishing will be excellent this year.  There is/and will be much less fishing pressure and usually after a storm the snook and redfish populations explode.  I'll keep you posted.
Make your room reservations early this year!
Captain Steve Murray
Phone: (305) 393-1641


Thursday, June 2, 2016

Welcome to Tarpon Fishing

Kuuursplassshh!  Ziiinggg!!  Zoowwiie!!!  Zooom......OMG I got one!  Did you see that Fish jump...he must have been 6 feet out of the water!  What do I do??  ....Just hang on and let him run, if the the line goes slack start reeling as FAST as you can!!  Did you see the size of that FISH!!!!!  I've never fought a fish this strong before!   I think he's gone? ......he's NOT gone...REEL REEL REEL ...he's swimming toward you!!!  ZZiinggg!! Zoowiiee!! Zooom!!  Kuuursplasssshh!!!!  Your right, I still got him.....this is CRAZY!                 WELCOME to TARPON FISHING
Tarpon is a word for the present...they are here "bigtime".  Big smiles, sore arms and heart pounding out of your chest is what you can expect.  The Silver King never dissapoints.  Jaw dropping jumps, drag screaming runs.  This is the fish of a lifetime.  These are prehistoric wonders of the fish world.  If you haven't experienced the awesome fight of a need to put it on your priority list of "Must Things to Do". 
The migratory tarpon are the ones here now.  The average size is about 100-150 pounds with some of the monsters getting up to 200 plus.  They're migration brings them back to the Keys every Spring/early Summer to spawn .  After the spawn they spread out and move up the coastline.  Then in the Fall they school up again and start to migrate out to the warmer waters of the Gulf and into the Caribbean.  The Spring migration into the Keys usually starts in March and the peak time to catch the biggest ones is from mid-April through June.  They're usually finished spawning by the end of June ..but I still have caught these big ones into early July.  There's always a few stragglers hanging around throughout the year but the majority of the migratory fish follow the pre-described pattern.
Baby tarpon are present in and around the Keys all year.  They range in size from just a few pounds up to about 40 pounds.  We've been catching some baby tarpon in the backcoutry on medium/light spinning gear.  There are some areas where they can be more prevalent.. but for the most part you never know when you could hook-up with a baby silver king. 
Our World renowned fishery is unmatched anywhere for it's diversity.  Snook, redfish, tarpon, bonefish, permit, pompano, snapper, trout, black drum, sharks, grouper, mackerel, jacks, ladyfish ...and the list goes on and on......
The summer months will sizzle with a variety of offerings.  I offer eveing tarpon trips through June that will produce more of the monster Silver King tarpon.  The backcountry will be cooking with snook, reds, trout, snapper, baby tarpon, sharks and a host of others.  There's always something give me a shout and let's go fishing!
Captain Steve Murray
Phone: (305) 393-1641

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Friday, January 22, 2016

The Fishing Capital of the World

Islamorada is called "The Fishing Capital of the World".  A very profound statement.  Yet pretty darn accurate!  There are not many places in the world where you can fish for more then a few different species all in one location and any time of the year!  In Islamorada we have over 40 different species of saltwater fish that you can target on any given day.
The winter weather has kicked in and with it we are experiencing low tides and cooler water temperatures.  This means concentrations of fish in the channels, Island Moats, the deeper waters in the Gulf and Oceanside patch reefs. 
We put a great catch together on Saturday.  Phil Masser and wife Kelly experienced a fantastic multi-species catch.  Kelly didn't fish but she was an excited commentator and observer.  We started in the Gulf with many great size mangrove snapper.  From there we ran the trap lines for tripletail and boated 4 that were all just too short to keep.  We continued out to an old wreck in the Gulf and hammered some awesome fish.  We caught black grouper, gag grouper, mangrove snapper, mutton snapper, spanish mackerel, pompano, cobia, jack crevalle, blue runners and ladyfish.  After that we headed up to the mainland and hit another awesome spot where we spanked the redfish, black drum and boated one very nice speckled sea trout.  That's over a dozen different species, and I'm sure I missed a few, all in one day.  There are many places in the world where you don't catch a dozen of one species in one day!   We caught more then 70 fish and had a blast!
The cold weather and wind kicked up on Sunday and the bite was slow for a few days.  Wednesday and Thursday proved to be very good.  The mangrove snapper bite was "out of control".  All the snapper you wanted.  They were eating shrimp and biting so good we even caught several on a bare jig.  That's right, a bare jig with no bait on it!  I guess they were hungry?  The snook were smackin and snackin too.  We landed 5 nice snook yesterday afternoon.  They were inhaling our live baits (pinfish and shrimp).
The next few months should prove to be very productive for many of the winter species like black drum, sheepshead and spanish mackerel along with ALL the other species we have in our Fishing Capital of the World!!
Thanks for reading, head on down to the Keys for some awesome catching!
Captain Steve Murray
Phone: (305) 393-1641

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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Fishing and Catching

When you go fishing in the Florida Keys you are sure to be catching.  There are those rare days when the bite may be slow..but if you have an open mind and just want to bend the rod, there is always something biting.  It's great to go fishing and enjoy the fresh air, the beatuty of nature and the anticipation of the next cast producing that fabulous fish...but when they're biting and your catching...that's when it's the best!
The tarpon bite was great as ever this year.  Many happy anglers caught their trophy tarpon with me this season.  Mr Frank Conner landed the biggest of the year weighing in at 170 pound monster!  When you hook up with one of these monsters fasten your safety belt and hang on!  They are spectacular fighters, ripping off hundreds of yards on a single run and jumping for freedom.  An experience that can never be forgotten.  The season for tarpon here is mid March through June.  The migratory tarpon start showing up in March and by mid April the really big ones are here in full force.  Tarpon averaging 100-150 pounds is what you can expect from Mid April through June.  I run an evening trip for tarpon that will produce a tarpon catch over 95% of the time.  If you want to catch a trophy tarpon of your lifetime, get your calender out and start looking at Spring of 2016.  Give me a call and let's do it!
The snook bite was very good this year too.  We had some awesome days with 20 and 30 fish landed.  Mr Roy Shepard from England had a few great days.  He was catching snook, baby tarpon and big sea trout all on artificial baits.  The snook were averaging 3 to 8 pounds, the baby tarpon were 3-10 pounds and the largerst trout was a whopping 26 incher!  Frank and Chip from New Jersey had a banner day in May landing 25-30 snook, 5 tarpon and a dozen sea trout...all in one afternoon trip!  The next day it was just me and Frank.  He landed a few baby tarpon and snook on artificial lures (gulps), then we headed out for the big tarpon and he landed that 170 monster.  Biggest of the year!  The biggest snook of the year was just caught a couple weeks ago in July.  It was a 37 inch fifteen pound pig.  Most of the year has been good for snook.  If we target snook and redfsh you can expect to catch 3 to 5 fish in an average day,  but there are those excellent days when you can get into 10, 20 or even more.
If your looking for table fair the snapper are always plentiful.  I call them bluegills on steroids because you can catch as many as you want and they are great eating.   When they are biting you are catching them as fast as you can put a shrimp on a jig, throw it in the water, let it hit the bottom and CRANK em in!!
Late Summer and Fall fishing is right around the corner.  We can expect the higher tides to be flooding the flats with some extra water.  This allows us to get into some great flats fishing with artificial lures for reds, snook, baby tarpon and sea trout.  I'm looking forward to some great fishing.  Captains advise is... "If you learn to fish good, you will catch good!"  So, get out their and practice your casting and you will give yourself the best opportunity for catching.  Because we enjoy fishing...but everyone loves catching!!!
Captain Steve Murray
Phone: (305) 393-1641

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Saturday, January 17, 2015

Fw: Winter Fishing in Islamorada

----- Original Message -----
From: steve
Sent: Saturday, December 20, 2014 2:31 PM
Subject: Winter Fishing in Islamorada

When most of our Country thinks of winter, they think about cold and snow.  Here in the Florida Keys winter means low humidity, sunny beautiful days in the mid 70's and fabulous fishing.  Our winters in the Keys are sometimes known to be a little windy, but that is not the case this year.  We've had beautiful weather with very light far.  This lite wind allows us "backcountry" fishermen the opportunity to get out in the Gulf as well as the backcountry flats and channels.  The diverse fishery is just another reason fishing in the Keys is so great.
Fishing in the Gulf is a little different then the backcountry.  The water is a little deeper and we catch a variety of fish that we generally don't see in the back bay areas.  Spainsh mackerel, pompano, tripletail, cobia, a variety of grouper and snapper, just to name a few..and the list goes on.....Just a few days ago we had a great day in the Gulf.  It was a beautiful sunny day with hardly a breath of wind.  The spanish mackerel were biting jigs tipped with shrimp.  They averaged about 2-5 pounds and fight like they are twice their size.  After we got our fill of mackerel we headed out towards an old sunken wreck, on the way we look for tripletail.  Tripletail like to float on the surface and ambush their prey underneath, so they are easy to spot on a nice calm day.   You must be a good caster to get them.  If your cast is too far away they wont see it and if you hit them on the head they will spook.  Presentation is everything with the tripletail.  Toss a shrimp just in front of them and wham!  Fish on!  They are excellent fighters and some of the best table fair.  We caught 3 nice ones and missed a couple others.  When we got to the wreck it wasn't long before a couple nice cobia showed up.  Again you need to make a really good cast just in front of them to get the bite.  We landed one nice one about 7 pounds.  Just a little short to keep.  The cobia are also great table fair, die hard fighters and can be 30-40 pounders in the Gulf.  We caught as many jacks (jack crevalle) as you wanted on the wreck and filled the livewell with keeper mangrove snapper.  A couple nice pompano and a few lookdowns in the mix as well.   The week before we got a big Goliath grouper (about 100 pounds) but we were denied the Goliath on this day.  We did catch a few black and gag grouper in the 2-5 pound range.  The guys wanted a shark, so we cut a jack in half and tossed it out on the "jaws" rod.  It didn't take long before the drag was screaming and we were hooked up with a 150 pound lemon shark.  15 minutes later, a few pics next to the boat and we were done for the day.   A pretty excellent day of fishing and this is just another option we have this time of year in the beautiful Florida Keys. 
Depending on the circumstances of the day we have a variety of options as backcountry fishermen.  We can fish the Gulf on certain days, the flats, the island moats,  the channels and run offs, shorelines and beachs, creeks, canals, bridges and the list goes on.  Every day poses different circumstances. Fishing is not an exact science. Some days are good ... some days are not so good.  The GREAT thing about fishing here is...Even on the "not so good" day you are still going to catch something.
Many Factors come into play:
Weather conditions...wind speed...wind direction...light conditions (sunny, cloudy, dark)
Water Temperature...Rising/Falling/Stable
Time of Year
Migration Patterns of Fish
Moon Phases
Water... Color/Clarity/Depth
Is there a lot of Bait in the Area?
Skill of the Angler...This a Big Factor
and the REALLY BIG one...Are they biting?
Each Day poses different circumstances....we do what we can depending on those circumstances.  The mainstays are trout, snapper, redfish, snook, jacks, ladyfish, shark. Those fish are accessable "all year". There are many fish that are more prevelant seasonally - tarpon, mackerel, black drum, sheepshead etc.. There are some fish that feed better in low light conditions - tarpon, snook. There are some fish that we can only access when the weather is nice and the ones way out in the Gulf or Ocean - cobia, mackerel, tripletail, goliath grouper. But ALL of the fish are affected by those factors listed above.
Fortunatley for you as an angler, you don't need to worry about these factors.  Your guide (in this case me) will figure it out.  So, the easy thing to do is...Hire a guide that you trust will try his best and make your day an enjoyable one...No Matter What the Circumstances...and enjoy our beautiful winter weather.
Thanks for reading and have a great day,
Captain Steve Murray
Phone: (305) 393-1641

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Saturday, June 1, 2013

Here Fishy Fishy!

If you say it, they will come.  Here fishy fishy!  People ask me "does that really work?"  To that I respond "It sure does, I say it every day!"  A good friend and client of mine Mr Dennis Wright is a regular user of this phrase and it works for him every time.  He will be here in a couple weeks to perform his magic fishy chant.  I can't wait to see the results.
Tarpon season has about one month to go and it's been a great one!  The evening tarpon bite has made many tarpon fishermen very happy.  One of the happiest is another good friend/client of mine Mr Jerry Graber.  Jerry accomplished what I have never witnessed before.  He landed an amazing 5 out of 5 drag screaming, head shaking, rocket launch jumping, swiming under the boat, around the boat TARPON!!!  Yes, 5 hooked and 5 landed tarpon.  Not small fish either!  He landed a 40, 50, 80, 90 and a 100 pounder...all in one evening tarpon trip(about 3 hours of tarpon fishing)!  For those of you who have never been tarpon fishing this may not seem to be such a great feat.  But for those who have caught know how difficult it is just to land ONE.  The average hook to catch ratio is about 1 tarpon caught for every 2 or 3 hooked.  Great job Jerry!  The tarpon have been averaging 100-130 pounds for the last month or so.  We landed a monster 180 pounder two eveings ago.  The great evening tarpon action should continue through June and into early July.
The trout and snapper bite coninues to be excellent and it's what you want to do if you are looking for some table fair.  They are plentiful, fun to catch and are great to eat!
Sharks are plentiful this time of year and I always have the gear ready for anyone who wants to do battle with JAWS.  Blacktips, Lemons and Bull Sharks are the majority of what we catch and they range in size from smaller 15 pounders up to the monster 300 pounders.  We caught a 90 pound blacktip yesterday and I had a young 12 year old man aboard a few days ago who landed an 80 pound lemon shark.  His biggest fish ever!  Nick Sabol invited his dad out for the first time with me a few weeks ago.  He caught a monster 300 pound Bull shark.  Nice catch Joe!  The sharks should be here, in force, until we get our first cold snap in November.  A cold snap for us is 65 degrees :)
Snook and redfish are on the flats right now and will be throughout the fall.  This is one of my favorite times to catch them on artificial lures.  I like to throw swim baits, spoons, jerk baits and a variety of Berkley gulps.  Site fishing or blind casting the flats and shorelines are producing some good numbers and nice size fish.  The reds are running from 2-7 pounds and the snook 2-12 pounds. 
There is always something biting in the Keys.  So, come on down and lets go fishing!  Don't forget the Magic phras HERE FISHY FISHY!!!!!
As always, thanks for reading,
Captain Steve Murray
Phone: (305) 393-1641