Fish News: Wreck Fishing

Fish News
Wreck Fishing
by Dr. Ken Neill, III

I just got back from Key West. I like the weather there a whole lot better than what has been going on up here. It will have to warm up eventually. The striped bass do not seem to care how cold it is. The longer days have told them that it is time to spawn. When it warms up a bit, flounder will be added to the mix but right now you are pretty much limited to wreck fishing--sea bass off shore and tautog inshore. If you are one of those strange people who fish the Hot Ditch, there are some speckled trout to be caught there.
Mar. 10, Stephen Powell and myself went after Key West tarpon with Captain Paul D'Antoni (305) 923-4412. A cold front shut the tarpon down for the day. We did manage to catch a number of grouper one of which we kept for the grill. I actually have a whole lot of Key West stories to tell but they (mostly Stevie and my wife) keep telling me "what happens in Key West stays in Key West".
Mar. 7, I went tarpon fishing in Key West with Capt. Paul D'Antoni. Fishing was very good. The first 8 fish were a lot of fun, in the 40 to 70 pound class. A lot of jumping and not a lot of pain for me. We were anchored in the harbor, free lining chunks of fish back in the current. The last 3 drifts all resulted in tarpon over 100 pounds. My pain factor went up considerably. The first 8 tarpon I was able to fight from an anchored boat. The last three, we had to chase around the harbor for a while. I will never know what would have happened on a 4th drift because I was not about to put another bait in the water.
Mar. 4, Capt. Richard Bartlett took a charter of PSWSFA members out after jumbo sea bass. They had no problems finding them. The club members were Don Forman, Gary Donaldson, Steve Martin, Ray Rainone, Danny Taylor, and Nelson Ortiz. They came home with a limit of sea bass including a good number large enough to qualify for citations. They also caught cod, bluefish, spiny dogfish, and conger eels. After they were done with the sea bass, they came in and caught rockfish. To charter Richard, call (757) 876-5376.
Mar. 4, Craige Stallings and Charles Randolph went out on a sea trip on the Jil Carrie. They both caught their limit of sea bass including a couple of fish over 6 pounds. Charles got the big fish of the day at 6 pounds 11 ounces.
Mar. 2, Capt. Richard Bartlett took an afternoon charter out after rockfish. They found the mother load right off of False Cape. They caught big rockfish until dark. Their 3 largest weighed in at 52, 42, and 39.5 pounds. To charter Richard, call (757) 876-5376.

Dr. Neill writes a weekly column for The Peninsula Salt Water Sport Fisherman's Association (