West winds behind Dorian pushed the Gulf Stream way out there and the water is a stirred up turquoise/clay within 25 miles before some gradual clearing. The debris and weeds were all likely 40+ miles offshore due to the wind. These conditions gave us a rather unusual opportunity to fish at depths where the current is typically so strong you can hardly fish.
The deeper structures were very productive and we didn’t catch a single red snapper. Use big live baits on heavy gear for grouper. Grouper have been very difficult to find and catch this year so don’t leave without a backup plan. One likely way to fill up the cooler is to fish chicken rigs with squid or cut baitfish. Vermillion snapper, lane snapper, triggerfish, and porgies are all possible. We could’ve caught as many vermillions as we wanted yesterday.
Amberjack have been thick at times in select spots. You’ll know when they’re in because your bottom machine will be lit up in the column. Live bait on the appropriate size sinker always works but they hit vertical jigs too. The key is to jig it fast and hard. Once you hook up, be prepared for a really hard fight and your fish might get sharked on the way up. Yesterday was better than normal and we got more than half our fish past the sharks.
Always be prepared because mahi-mahi might follow your fish or bait up as long as the water is blue. Have a medium spinning rod set up with a small artificial and one with a circle hook for bait. They usually aren’t picky. There hasn’t been any surface structure well suited for trolling lately. I wonder if they’re down deep with the way they followed the amberjack up because it’s been so hot and stagnant.
I expect changes this week with northeasterly winds. The weeds and debris will likely be pushed west posing a hazard to nighttime navigation. I expect Gulf Stream to be pushed in, potentially making the bottom very difficult to fish. However, a hard edge might form on the western edge of the stream. This could make the trolling excellent for those capable of safely running that far in 5ft choppy seas.