A Big Mack Attack
No not a Big Mac... a Big Mack. And it was a Whopper of a fish. Recently a Kingfish weighing over 40lb. was caught by P.J. Davidson while fishing with Capt. Paul Tejera. Now a 40lb. Kingfish is not a rare catch in the Florida Keys; what is unusual is that this fish was caught in the shallow waters of the Keys Backcountry in Florida Bay.
Now what was a Kingfish this size doing so far away from its usual environment? Kingfish are usually found in the deeper, offshore waters of our reefs. Was it lost, or just maybe hungry? It (The Kingfish) didnít have anything to say but Iím guessing this fish had probably been chasing some baitfish and found itself in shallower waters but happy to be eating. It just so happen to at the wrong place and the wrong time when it happened to come across P.J.ís baited hook. P.J., a 13 year old from Chicago, was at the right place and at the right time. Capt. Tejera has gotten his clients on significant catches but I doubt he expected to catch a King this size where he was fishing.
Many anglers come to the Keys hoping to hit the reefs and do some offshore fishing or diving. The Gulf side is often ignored as a vast desert where hot spots are few and far between reserved for a knowledgeable few. Resident Keys anglers who regularly fish Florida Bay know what fishy treasures lie in it. And itís a good idea for anyone who consistently enjoys fishing in the Keys to do their homework and learn how good the Gulf side can be. Winter time often finds us waiting for good weather to go fishing. The strong winds of cold fronts are less of a factor in the Bay.
Charts are an easy way to get an idea of where to start. Hiring a good backcounty guide is probably better. If you consider the years of experience you will be getting in a few hours of fishing with a guide, the expense is not that much.
Many of the banks and deeper channels found in Florida Bay will hold plenty of fish at this time of year. Right now the Spanish Mackerel are thick in these areas. You can find them by anchoring up in any of these banks and channels and start chumming. They will hit live shrimp or any other live bait. These are toothy fish so wire leaders must be used. Avoid using swivels or heavy line. Use 1/0 long shank hooks on a short piece of wire tied directly to your line with an Albright Knot. Freeline the bait and just wait. There are also trout, bluefish, jacks, ladyfish, snook, shark, and other species plentiful this time of year. The Bay is large but if you are willing to run a few miles you will probably hit paydirt. Many Bay anglers will also put a big bait on a heavy rig for the occasional Goliath Fish or Shark. Cobia are also a very common visitor to chum lines in the Bay.
A shallow draft boat is probably best for fishing this area but Iíve fished it on a 30í Scarab and done very well. The average depth is probably between 5 Ė 7í but there are also areas much shallower. Good polarized glasses are important to avoid getting stuck in the mud. Good current is a must for successful fishing in the bay.
Good Luck and Tightlines from
Waldo Tejera Jr. ďDouble TrebleĒ
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