Fishing between midnight and dawn yields unique opportunities

Fishing between midnight and dawn yields unique opportunities

MIAMI (MCT) - For inexpensive, late-night entertainment, it is hard to beat party boat fishing on the Sea King in Islamorada.

You can escape the daytime heat, catch dinner (or maybe even several dinners) and maybe make some new friends.

The mangrove snapper are spawning, with prime-time expected from now through mid-August. Tasty, grayish-brown fish with sharp bicuspids weighing up to 10 pounds are showing up on patch reefs and rocky ledges throughout South Florida, primarily in depths of 40 to 60 feet at night, when the moon is dark.

"The dark side of this moon will be wide open the rest of the season," Sea King owner/captain Bill Hauck said.


Nearly all South Florida party boats offer night trips in the summertime, but Hauck has gone the extra step of conducting outings from 1 a.m. to 5:30 a.m. on weekends. The postmidnight excursion allows members of the Keys' service industries to go fishing after they get off of work. It also gives the boat's evening customers the opportunity to stay on board if they haven't caught their limit on their previous trip.


The 75-foot boat was sold out during a recent weekend's red-eye. Two days before, for the 8 p.m. EDT Thursday to 2 a.m. Friday trip, the boat was about half-full with 34 customers. The Sea King made two drops on the late-night voyage - the first to a 52-foot-deep rocky ledge. This was followed by the second - to a 46-foot mixed bottom of rubble and sea fans.


On the first spot, several anglers caught mangrove, yellowtail and schoolmaster snapper in the 3- to 5-pound range using cut bait on 15-to-20-pound spinning tackle with "knocker rigs" - half-ounce to one-ounce egg sinkers next to a 3/0, long-shank, live bait hook.

Hauck and mates Teri Rich and Brian Greene put out a chum bag and a circle net, hoping to attract pilchards for live bait. But the bait stayed down, and so, for the most part, did the snappers.


The deck of the Sea King alternately rang with excited shouts demanding the landing net, followed by periods of relative quiet as anglers merely waited.

David Llerena, 15, of Sunny Isles Beach, who was fishing with his father, David Sr., caught one of the largest mangroves - about 4 pounds.


"The biggest fish I ever caught," he said. "It was hard."

The fishing slowed a bit on the second spot - more yellowtails were caught, along with a couple of bonnethead sharks, but not as many mangroves.

"They're still making their way out," Hauck said of the reluctant mangroves. "Maybe they'll hang around this year. Unless we get a hurricane. Then they're gone."

 

© 2008, The Miami Herald.
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

Recommended for You

Fishing How-To

Your Guide for the Best Catfish Baits

G&F Staff

If you've been catching catfish with the same method for years, it's time to change it up and...

Bass

Baitfish for Bass: Search, Suspend or Sink Crankbaits

Jason Houser - May 21, 2019

Crankbaits mimic exactly what they eat when hungry — other fish!

Trout & Salmon

How to Catch the Biggest Trout in the Stream

David Paul Williams

Several factors need to be evaluated before reaching a conclusion about what fly, lure or...

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Berkley's New Terminal Tackle

OSG's Lynn Burkhead and Chad LaChance, host of World Fishing Network's Fishful Thinker television show, talk about Berkley's new innovative terminal tackle being introduced at ICAST 2019.

13 Fishing Omen Black Baitcasting Rod

Multiple time FLW Costa winner Jessi Mizell is no stranger to catching big Florida bass on a popping frog. As he tells OSG's Lynn Burkhead, with the new 13 Fishing Omen Black baitcasting rod, the job just got easier.

MLF BPT angler and former Classic champ Casey Ashley has been with Costa del Mar sunglasses his whole career. At ICAST 2019, he shows OSG writer Lynn Burkhead some new products and talks how to pick the right lens color for the water.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

Other Freshwater

6 Tips for Nighttime Crappie

Keith Sutton - June 19, 2017

Fishing for nighttime crappie gets you out of the summer heat and puts more fish in the...

Records

Upon Further Review: 70-Year-Old Catfish Record Voided

G&F Online Staff - May 22, 2019

Experts agree record channel cat caught in 1949 was actually a blue catfish.

Panfish

Find and Fish Bluegill Beds Efficiently

Terry Madewell - May 22, 2019

You can catch bluegill faster with these strategies.

See More Stories

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

×