Hello all! Capt. Travis Holeman here introducing myself and what you can expect from my monthly report. Some years ago I was introduced to the whiles of sight fishing the saltwater south with a fly rod. I was hooked. Mastering the skills needed as well as I could until a friend introduced me to competitive angling! Wow I thought to myself.. I suck! Harsh realization after feeling like a champ! Fishing is a series of steps and observations accumulated to form a picture that becomes clearer with time! The new goal became to achieve an understanding of all types of angling from fly to conventional and salt to fresh… a decade and a half later and a pile of tournaments past (Fly Fishing Masters, ESPN2 Redfish Cup, ESPN2 Madfish Shark Series, FLW, IFA Pro, many Florida Keys offshore and inshore tournaments) I’d like to think I have some idea of what is involved in the day to day of becoming a better angler. This is and will remain my goal - to expand my angling knowledge daily and to pass that knowledge on to my audience.
As a Florida Keys fishing guide, my skills and knowledge are tested daily! The friendships and fun are vast and I am a happy, fun-loving angler. I love fishing and catching fish! A friend once said I could catch fish in a parking lot after rain! Well that is a bit far-fetched, but not too far. The ditch next to the parking lot and a small fly rod was his kids’ first fishing experience. They were instantly hooked for life! And that is a happiness that we all want… childlike and innocent. Fishing is our passion and we love our friends who are like-minded. With that said, your input will steer much of what I write about aside from fishing reports!
Summer is a time when we in the Keys pray for a breeze. The fish perk up and let down their guard, allowing anglers to get within range to make a cast to a tailing or cursing permit or bonefish. Recently we have had some fantastic weather with light breeze. Bonefish are on the bite and in the flats early so don’t sleep in.. get out early! Permit are in the cooler moving water and willing to eat a crab, shrimp or fly now that they are in post spawn. Near-shore wrecks and the reefs are covered in snapper! Use your electronics to mark fish on the down current side of the ledges and drops. Also drifting is productive for mutton and the occasional red! In the Gulf many of the wrecks are fishing well for cobia, permit, snapper and some sea monsters of grand size! And for those of you who are into sprearfishing the gulf and Atlantic channel mouths on hard bottom are holding nice numbers of hogfish and other target species!
While you’re in the water keep an eye out for those lobsters so that when you’re done spear fishing and put the gun in the boat, you can go back and get the main dish with net and tickle stick! Those of you new to lobstering, you’re looking for hard bottom with rock ledges for the spiny lobsters to hide under and around. As the season goes on, the lobsters will be found in deeper water. So if you are a tank diver you’re in luck, and if you’re a free diver you’re going to be in great shape after buggin! A practice I use a lot is to conventional fish while the tide is moving and the fish are biting, and dive for lobster or spearfish at slack tides maximizing my productivity and time spent on the water!
Best of luck to all and remember the goal on the water is always to have a safe and fun trip! Catch ‘em up and I look forward to your feedback and questions..