MARATHON, Florida Keys — The season has been slow lately, but I did get out a couple of times this week. One day we went offshore for tuna and dolphin. The tuna fishing was so good we only fished for two hours and got ten fish from 20-30 pounds. Live baiting was the key, with only a couple of other boats out there the fish seemed to never go down. The current was only about one knot, which meant we could have some long drifts. Watching the tunas busting and sky rocketing on the freebies was absolutely awesome, it reminded me of a Guy Harvey T-shirt. Fresh sashimi was on my mind once we hit the dock.
After the tuna frenzy on the hump we shot out to the edge of the wall looking for some dolphin, and it didn’t take long to find the first of many schools of dolphin. They weren’t too picky. I have caught lots of sardines lately and they scarfed them up like Scooby snacks. There were lots of fish from 3-8 pounds and we did manage to get a few in the twenties too. There was scattered grass all over out there, just enough to keep an eye on the baits while we were trolling so that we weren’t dragging grass skirts on our naked ballyhoos.
A few days later we went sword fishing and on the first drop we landed a 150-pound pumpkin. We made three other drifts only to get our baits all beat up, but since we got one on the first drop we were satisfied with what we got. The fish were a little shallower than usual, we kept getting bites around 1500 feet. Usually we get bites as soon as we get down there at 1890 to 1780 feet. The new rig I am using has two hooks on it like a chicken rig with long leaders. It seems to be working well for all the captains who are using it. When we got back to the dock we took some photos and when I cut into it, there were two dozen freshly eaten squids in it’s stomach. The squids were in such great shape we bagged them up for later use. Once I cut into the fish we realized that this fish was a pumpkin. What we mean “pumpkin” is that the meat has an orangeish color and it is far superior to the ones, which have white meat. I believe it is the result of lots of food and the fish have been fattening up. Fish don’t really have fat around their bodies like we do, they have a fat sack in their gut which will swell as they store energy as fat for their long trips up and down the east coast of North and South America. They also store fat in the form of oil in their meat as well. This high concentration of oil in the meat will cause the meat to turn orange in color. Thus, someone named it after a pumpkin’s color.
From what I here the reef has been very productive, many guys who did get out didn’t have any trouble catching, yellowtail, mutton, AJ’s, and a few grouper. There has been some great current and it has caused the big yellowtails to turn on. One of my friends got his limit of four to five pound fish, which if you didn’t know, that is absolutely as good as yellow tailing can get. We really don’t get fish in any numbers bigger than that, so excellent job Don.
So if you are looking to visit during the next couple of months, take advantage of the fishing as you are with the hotel rates for this time of year. You will almost cut your hotel accommodations in half during this time of the year. Click on over to the helpful links page and get hooked up with some of the best facilities down here for the money. You can stay at one of our big resorts and get pampered as well, but it will cost you a bunch more, and in these troubled times I am sure everyone could use a discount. Good luck and if you don’t charter me out, I will see you out there.