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Fishing Etiquette on the Humps

Old 05-09-2021, 07:52 AM
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Default Fishing Etiquette on the Humps

Let me preface this by saying Iíve never fished so closely to so many other boats before. So we cruised out to the Islamorada Hump, arriving on the north side at 9:00am. There were already so many boats there that I didnít want to fight the crowd. Some boats were drifting and others were playing Frogger, trolling in a weaving pattern through all the drifting boats. I said screw it and started to put out a 3 rod spread and troll the weed lines 1/4 mile north of the actual hump. Before I got my 2nd lure in the water, we were hooked up on schoolie sized dolphin. Put it in the box and put out the spread again and trolled through the same area again. This time all three rods got hit. Iím trying to keep the lines from tangling and a boat comes within 20-30 feet of my stern and starts trolling over our lines. Iím yelling that weíre fighting fish and theyíre over top of them. I stop the boat and they troll around us, catching nothing. Probably 5-6 boats descend on the spot we caught from and all drift it, so we move to another weed line.

Again, all three rods out and we triple hook up again. Same thing as last time, a parade of boats encircle us and are trolling along within 50í of us. One on our starboard side within 10-15 feet (I thought he was coming to talk to us) and one on top of our lures/fish. We get all 3 fish to the boat and get out of there. We werenít there 45 minutes and decided 7 fish was enough and this craziness was too much for us.

Is this just the way it works down there and Iím being a grumpy old man? I know I donít own the spot, fish or ocean. I just thought common courtesy was to give a boat fighting fish (9yr old and 11yr old on the rods) some room to work from.

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05-11-2021, 11:56 AM
fishead5
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This is an old south Florida trick, next time that happens take your motor cowling off and act like you need help.NO one will come near you
Old 05-09-2021, 08:38 AM
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This sounds like Saturday fishing. Often, there are many trailer boaters fishing on the weekends. They come from somewhere else and are not very courteous.

I've been fishing the humps for over two decades. When I first started, pretty much everyone trolled. Some of the local captains had a set of six waypoints for the Marathon hump. If you wanted to troll the hump you got in line, followed the boat in front of you and didn't roam around like a drunken monkey. Now that jigging as become popular, all bets are off.

I've found Saturday to be the worst day, I avoid the humps on Saturday,
Old 05-09-2021, 08:39 AM
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Etiquette is dead.
Last spring, I was trying to get ahead of a school of tarpon on the beach. A flats boat with 3 very young men spotted the same school and tried to get on them. When they finally realized I was already positioned ahead of the school they backed off. It didn't work out for me on the tarpon.
After, I actually drove near the 3 young men and thanked them, because it is such a rare occurrence to see anyone with manners these days.
Old 05-09-2021, 08:54 AM
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lol. Your description reminded me of spring walleye fishing Green Bay tribs in WI. I stopped fishing there a few years after they became popular....Every time a "seagull" saw me catch a fish and moved in. It might take 5 minutes it might take 20 but with 7 miles of river and 150 boats,there's no secrets... It was common for folks to drop anchor on the spot I was casting to thus ruining the spot for us both. Every year it got worse. Once year - At about incident #5 - I packed up and headed home never to return. I realized 1) I was not enjoying myself at all and 2) One more incident like that and I might just end up in jail.
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Old 05-09-2021, 09:08 AM
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Haha the way it is on weekends.Chasing bait showers with the big sporties is even nuttier.Weekday afternoons is usually not too bad.
Old 05-09-2021, 11:21 AM
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Welcome to fishing south Florida .
Old 05-09-2021, 11:26 AM
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Originally Posted by deckape View Post
Welcome to fishing south Florida .
This. Probably been this way for last 20 years.
Old 05-09-2021, 11:47 AM
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Hate to say it but the charter boats are the worst, they think they have priority. I've had one run right at me, I gave way, too much to lose in 600' for sport.
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Old 05-09-2021, 11:51 AM
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Never understood running out to the hump first thing. Guaranteed CF. We dolphin/deep drop our way out and arrive late morning and then wreck the tuna on jigs. Most boats are gone by then.
Old 05-09-2021, 01:02 PM
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It was Saturday and glad to know it isnít just me. It felt like they werenít catching on their own, so when I found them, they ran to that ďlucky spotĒ trying to force their way in.

Last edited by CzechMate; 05-09-2021 at 01:14 PM.
Old 05-09-2021, 01:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Eye8atoad View Post
Never understood running out to the hump first thing. Guaranteed CF. We dolphin/deep drop our way out and arrive late morning and then wreck the tuna on jigs. Most boats are gone by then.
I didnít even bother dragging baits over the hump. Way too many boats out there. We stayed 1/4 to 1/2 mile away trolling on the weed lines.
Old 05-09-2021, 01:07 PM
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I like fishing the humps on mondays evenings...alot less folks out there during the week.
Old 05-09-2021, 01:12 PM
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Wiscoarborist, you stirred up some old memories!

I don't mean to derail this thread, but I sure do remember the walleye and white bass runs in northern Wisconsin. You never had to yell to talk to the boat next to you.
I recall one, I think it was by the Dells, and a kid hooked into a sturgeon. They shouldn't have pulled anchor but they did. Old sturgeon bounced their boat off about 25 others everyone was so close!
Old 05-09-2021, 01:25 PM
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The humps are for dummies.

The only time to fish them is at first light or just before dark.

Outside of that, fish a artificial reef with public numbers.

Etiquette no longer exists in the middle of nowhere much less a known spot.
Old 05-09-2021, 01:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Snookyj View Post
I like fishing the humps on mondays evenings...alot less folks out there during the week.
I really wish we could have tried it. We were down from NC for a month. The wind was on high the entire time we were there so it was really the only window that allowed us to run out deep. The vast majority of our trip was spent at the sandbar on the gulf side. When we could go ocean side, we spent 99% of our fishing time on the reefs. Caught more than our fair share of Muttons, Yellowtail, AJs and my personal best sailfish.
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Old 05-09-2021, 02:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Eye8atoad View Post
Never understood running out to the hump first thing. Guaranteed CF. We dolphin/deep drop our way out and arrive late morning and then wreck the tuna on jigs. Most boats are gone by then.
What size/color jigs do you find work best?
Old 05-09-2021, 02:32 PM
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It doesn’t seem to matter imo. It’s the style and weight. We learned from Piner Wahoo. 200’-400’ seems t be the sweet spot. I mark my braid with a marker at those 2 intervals.
Old 05-11-2021, 10:30 AM
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Originally Posted by 20biminitwist View Post
Etiquette no longer exists in the middle of nowhere much less a known spot.
Couple years back we were on a rockpile 40-45 miles out in the Atlantic for red snapper. It amazed me just how many guys had boats that could do that and would pull right up on the anchor rope to fish the spot. Was like that ALL DAY LONG at multiple spots. Crazy crazy crazy.

Flip side - last year dad & I were drifting a rockpile 15+/- miles out in the tin, guy pulls up and drops his Rhodan, tried to block us from drifting those rocks - pulled right up next to him and did another 4-6 drifts (was easier with him marking the spot for us). Dad got another good one and we were done. Offered the guy a smaller, maybe 8-10# fish and trolled in, getting a couple kings. Got a Rhodan of my own this past year. Ready to be there first and stay on the spot instead of drifting this time. Hope the weather cooperates.

Takes a special kind of person to pull up on you when you hit a fish. We see it offshore, inshore, from shore. Can't get away from them.
Old 05-11-2021, 11:01 AM
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The humps are my numbers. You aren't allowed to fish there.
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Old 05-11-2021, 11:19 AM
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Originally Posted by cronced View Post
The humps are my numbers. You aren't allowed to fish there.
All my reels are loaded with braid. I guess if you want 500yds of 65# braid around your lower unit, be my guest but thatís one expensive schoolie.

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