Charter fisherman aboard Islamorada charter bottom-fishing boats have been catching bonefish up to 24 inches long in water 130 feet deep, report multiple news services. And they were released.
Dr. Jerry Ault, director of the University of Miami Bonefish and Tarpon Research Center, said that the fish encountered in deep water were likely spawning and that late December through early January is the height of the bonefish reproductive season.
“Bonefish tend to spawn in deep water near the edge of the continental shelf, but it’s certainly unusual to catch a bonefish in that kind of depth,” Ault said. “Typically, they are inshore and this is really cool and of great (research) interest.”
If the bonefish are spawning offshore of Islamorada, my guess is that the the chances of upper Keys bonefish recovery are increased. Now we just need to figure out what is keeping them off the flats.