Weekly Florida Keys Fishing Update from Capt. Dave Schugar and Sweet E'Nuf Charters
Posts Tagged ‘wreck fishing’
Thursday, July 28th, 2011
Hi everyone, sorry for the lack of reports, but I have been fishing every day and doing doubles and crushing the dolphin. Fishing in the Keys has been great offshore, and on certain days the reef fishing for yellowtails has been good too. The muttons are sporadically biting on the deeper wrecks from 160 to 180 feet of water.
The fishing I want to inform you all about is the dolphin bite, because it has been great. Even with a lack of 30-50 pounders, we have been filling the coolers with 10-15 pounders and of course our masses of schoolies. The fish are on the move, so you won’t whack 20-30 fish out of a school…they just won’t hang around the boat. I have been getting a couple here and there pretty much most of the day. A slow pick of some quality-sized fish. Fishing them on 15-20 pound spin tackle, my clients have had a ball this past month. All the fish have been under birds, moving towards the east and not more than seven birds…any more than that and it has been skipjack tuna. It was a little rough this week, but it didn’t seem to bother the fishing. We just got a little wet.
If you’re looking to do some bottom fishing, the night-time mangrove bite will be good once this moon gets a little smaller. The night-time bite seems best during the new moon and a week on either side of it. Mangrove snappers bite best on the darkest of nights, so plan that when you head out to fish for them. The grouper action has slowed down a bit during the daytime, but we have been getting a few good sized black grouper from 15-30 pounds.
Have a great weekend, and don’t forget to sign up for my E-Book and get a chance to be informed about some upcoming specials this September and October.
Sunday, January 16th, 2011
Wintertime has come early this year and as the weather cools the water, fish will venture towards the deeper, more stable water temperatures. February is a great month to fish down here in the Keys. The mutton snapper bite will be very stable throughout the winter on the wrecks and reefs. There are many ways way to fish for muttons, but I believe the most productive way is live bait. Muttons can be tricked to eat many different types of artificial lures and most small live baits. As with muttons, groupers and amberjacks will also be very abundant on the wrecks and reefs as well.
Fishing the reefs for muttons may be different than what you think. Most people think of reefs and they assume that the depth of water is from 25-100 feet. Well, they are mostly right. We also have reefs as far out as 200 feet. They generally have low relief and can be stacked with muttons. There are bands of reef that stretch east and west ranging in depths of 125-200 feet of water. I will scout areas where I have caught fish in the past, and what I am looking for is bait. Looking at your depth finder, look for what most of us call fuzzy bottom. This fuzzy bottom is scattered bait such as tomtates and other small grunts and porgies. This is the primary food source for the muttons while they are out on these reefs.
These reefs also have an abundant supply of small crustaceans, which muttons can’t resist. Occasionally I get snagged on these deep reefs, but by having a rig with a breakaway lead you will save most of your rig if you do encounter a snag. I will fish these areas where I mark bait. It takes a while sometimes until you find out where the fish are hanging out on the reef. One day they will be right on top, other days they will be in the sand, either inside or outside of the reef. Using a three-way swivel rig or swivel bead swivel method, drifting or slow trolling your bait back and forth on these deep reefs you will eventually find out where the fish are gathering. Once you find the fish, you will find them in similar locations on other reefs.
Wrecks are highly guarded so don’t bother asking any of the local charter boat captains. But keep your eye on your bottom finder when you are running in 100-300 feet, you just might find some. I have been given some of the numbers that I have and traded with other captains to accumulate about twenty wrecks in a thirty mile area. I have found about dozen on my own, by just looking at the bottom while traveling from spot to spot. A good way to find wrecks is to look for bait gathering on the surface or on your depth sounder. If you are marking lots of bait, there is a good chance there is wreck near by or a very healthy reef. There is a neat website that has wrecks so you can start with a few. This website is www.artificalreeflocator.
I mainly use live bait on the wrecks, but I do have a few friends who love using jigs for muttons and groupers. I do use butterfly jigs for the amberjacks when the kingfish are not swarming, because otherwise it can get quite expensive. Don’t over look dead bait; it can work great some days. I prefer split-tailed ballyhoo or bonita strips for my dead bait. When using dead bait I will hold my rod high and when I get a bite I will drop the tip and allow the mutton or grouper to inhale the bait especially on long baits such as ballyhoo and bonita strips. I make my leaders long, 15-20 feet to be exact. I use the long leaders for two reasons, one is to get the bait away from the bouncing lead, and the other is to ensure the mutton snapper gets the bait in his mouth before you start reeling. I always use at least 10oz of lead or more. I find that sash weights or bank sinker type weights tend to hold better than egg sinkers. Keeping the weight close to the bottom is usually sufficient, if the lead comes up about ten feet or so is ok too. If you find that your lead is having a hard time staying down, and already have over a pound on, try backing up to your line to keep your lead on the bottom. We call this a controlled drift, and on really windy days it is the only way to go. When the wind and current allow it, I can literally troll my bait across the bottom in search of a hungry mutton, and I always watch for my lead to hit the bottom every once in a while. You can also just drift and systematically cover the bottom until you find the muttons. Having a long leader allows the bait to stay close to the bottom where the muttons food is naturally found. I have caught muttons half way up while reeling in after a drift; so even high in the water column you can catch these tasty critters.
Fishing wrecks may require a little boat handling skills on windy days to ensure that you are able to keep your bait in the zone as long as you can. I find that most of my bites will occur fairly close to the wreck. But don’t pull up and start over until you get a tenth of a mile away from the wreck as muttons circle the wreck at different distances. Just like the deep reef, when you find an area near the wreck where you caught one, you should be able to hit that spot again and again. Some people like to anchor up on these wrecks, but that requires precise anchoring. It may take you a few times to get it right, but when the bite goes off, it best behooves you to be positioned right. Sometimes anchoring can diminish your chances of catching a lot, due to the fact that the fish are not located right behind your boat. Before anchoring I would drift around and try and find out where the fish are eating. Then after determining where the school is feeding, anchor up so that the spot is right behind the boat. When anchoring we use bombs, which are cut bait and soft chum mixed with sand. You can place this mixture in a paper bag and drop it to the bottom. When the bomb hits the bottom it explodes expelling chum and chunks, which the larger fish will snack on until they see your bait. There are some cons about the bombs, as they attract sharks and triggerfish. Sharks are bad because once they key on you, getting your fish to the surface in one piece can be almost impossible. Triggerfish will kill your bait or even remove it from your hook without you knowing it, so use the bombs only as a last ditch effort on a slow bite.
The tackle I use for mutton fishing is light, but effective. You will loose some big groupers but if you want to target muttons, but the lighter the better. I use 50-pound braid with a 10-20 foot shock leader of 60-pound. This shock leader has two jobs. It gives you a little stretch as the fish runs hard and it also allows my lead to slide along the mono and not the braid. I use the swivel bead swivel method, which acts like a three-way but doesn’t allow the fish to feel the lead and gives you great sensitivity for even the lightest of bites. By sliding a bead before the swivel it will not allow the lead to slide past your knot from the braid to mono. Then I slide on another bead before tying on my swivel, which my 15-20 foot leader is attached to. This extra bead keeps your lead swivel from catching on your knot to your swivel from the leader.
So to simplify this rig, slide a bead on, then slide a swivel on, slide another bead and tie another swivel to your shock leader. The swivel that slides I attach one foot of 30-pound where I attach my lead for the break away. I use 30-50 pound floro carbon for my leaders, but regular mono for the shock leader. The shock leader needs to stretch and mono stretches more than floro carbon.
As for my hooks, I prefer to use a circle hook, it allows for non targeted species to be released unharmed, and for my inexperienced anglers who have a hard time keeping the line taught at all times. The circle hooks also tend to catch fish in the corner of the mouth so that the fish’s teeth aren’t rubbing on your leader. They don’t have very sharp teeth but with enough pressure and time the muttons will have no problem severing through your leader if they are gut hooked.
I set my drags light because muttons don’t normally run for cover, but instead high tail it for open water. If there is a lot of structure where you are fishing you may want to tighten up your drag a bit and use some 50-pound floro. I like circle hooks, and the one I use is made by Mustad and are called Circle Demons. I generally use 8/0 and 9/0 in this style; to me it is like Velcro to an Afro if you ask me. I rarely miss bites and that is important when my clients are fishing. So get out there try something new, and take these tips for your next fishing trip down here in the Keys.
Saturday, July 3rd, 2010
MARATHON, Florida Keys — This week we were inundated with lots of small dolphin offshore, with a few bigger ones. Break out your ruler because most of them are close. One day there were decent schoolies from 6-9 pounds, real quality fish, but they weren’t eating, and they wouldn’t stay with the boat. The full moon has shorted the bite, but if you leave early the fish should cooperate till 10:00AM. As we get closer to the new moon the bite should lengthen and being overcast can help too. Makes it harder to see the fish, but they seem a little less timid in low light conditions.
Most of the fish have been congregating on the edge of the Gulf Stream and a few miles beyond. Most of the fish are under birds, but when looking for fish, try and find as few birds together as possible. This will indicate dolphin instead of skippies. My magic number is two to three birds for big fish, but five birds can be either schoolies or a bunch of big dolphin. You just never know what going to be under a huge flock of birds either, but in most cases they are skippies. If the skippies are small, you might find wahoo or marlin close by. When I fished in Costa Rica, I learned to troll around the birds and not through them to raise billfish. The billfish are looking for the few bait fish that get separated from the school, it seems that they can take them out easier one at a time than trying to slash into a ball of moving fish. I learned that one on the discovery channel.
The tuna have been biting pretty good on the live bait. Jigs seem to catch a few 10 pounders, but if you’re looking for the big ones, you will need plenty of live pilchards. Getting the pilchards hasn’t been hard if you venture out on the reef after dark. Anchoring anywhere from 18-40 feet of water after dark you can enjoy the great mangrove bite and load up on pilchards for the following day to the hump. If you anchor in 40 feet of water, the pilchards will be a little less dense, but the gogs are much thicker in this deeper water. By using the bigger sabiki rigs you can keep more gogs on the line without as many coming off. The sword fishing report was good, and my Buddy Capt. Brian caught a 350-pound mako with his clients.
You have to get out to the wrecks and catch some muttons! They are still biting ok. Many days I get six or so with all the amberjack action you could want. The muttons have been averaging about 12 pounds, with some into the 25-pound class. Live bait is where it’s been at. Pinfish, cigars, grunts, and crabs have all been producing well. Dead bait which can work well when the fish are stacked up, it really hasn’t been working for lately, but I always keep throwing some dead baits down because sometimes they will get lazy and catching a live bait just seems like too much effort sometimes. Split tailed baits or plugs will work, even strips of bonita are some of my favorite dead bottom baits.
I am headed to the Tortugas for a few days, and I will post again after I get back so check sometime after Tuesday. Have a great “Fourth” and don’t forget that it is our military that we really need to thank so that we can go fishing. Remember that here in Marathon you don’t have to drive home, call a cab and for a few bucks extra they will drive your car home for you.
Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010
MARATHON, Florida Keys — After getting back from the Bahamas, I was booked everyday for just about the rest of the month. We started off the week with some dolphin fishing, which wasn’t how I left it. All we could find were illegal dolphin. After running out as far as 40 miles only to find some smaller fish, we decided to do some deep dropping. Since there wasn’t much current we were dropping five pounds of lead to 1200 feet of water and holding nicely. We caught eight rose fish and four barrelfish in five drops. That was pretty good fishing. On the way in we encountered some more small dolphin and skipjack tuna.
The next day we went wreck fishing. We caught five amberjacks and three muttons. The muttons seem to biting from 140-180 feet of water. They weren’t biting great but we did miss quite a few other fish, which could have been other muttons as well. We tried heading offshore again for a few days only to catch a few schoolies, which were legal to harvest. The bite at the hump was slow, too; lack of current seemed to have hindered all the fishing.
I went yellow tailing only to have the lack of current hinder that as well. So we went mutton fishing and caught a few muttons from 15-20 pounds. We also got our fair share of amberjacks too. While we were yellow tailing I dropped some pinfish to the bottom. The bottom bite was active. We caught two goliaths from 30-70 pounds, a Nassau grouper weighing in at 25 pounds and plenty of five-pound mangrove snappers.
Towards the end of the week I heard of a few big fish being caught or seen, but not much. The large schoolies have been numerous east of the Marathon Hump from 1100-1300 feet of water. Basically all you wanted if you wanted to travel that far to the east. Most of the fish have been reported from Holiday Isle to Caloosa Cove.
The mangrove spawn is just starting, so get out of the heat and fish at night from 25-70 feet of water. Lots of bait out on the reef too, so you might want to bring your cast net or sabiki rigs.
Sunday, April 4th, 2010
MARATHON, Florida Keys — What an enjoyable week compared to the frigid winter we have had! I have been booked all week and there is a lot of fish to be had almost everywhere out there.
Thanks to the East wind, the sails were piling down the pipeline and boats with upper stations had a ball sight fishing for those acrobatic speedsters. Even though they were being finicky, there were many sailfish to be had. With the ballyhoo hard to find, the choice of bait here in Marathon has been pilchards, which really is a better bait for sight fishing. I like to hook the bait in the belly to force the pilchard down which usually entices the sailfish to strike.
There has been an incredible color edge off of Marathon all week with lots of sailfish action on it. The bite had been better the further West you went. Some boats fished all the way down to American shoals (what a hike!), but in order to put up big numbers of fish that’s where you needed to be. Along with the sails, cobia and dolphin are also being caught along that edge.
The deeper edge further offshore that had the dolphin last week dried right up as if it was never there. I would keep looking for dolphin just beyond the color change and out as far as 400 feet just in case there is another push of fish this week.
The wrecks have been hit hard for the past few weeks and the fishing pressure has made a definite impact on the bite, which was out of this world. The wrecks are still producing amberjacks, muttons, and beautiful grouper, which we have been releasing. I caught a small genuine red snapper, which is not common in these parts except for a few deeper wrecks during certain times of the year.
The bait of choice on the mutton snapper bite has been live pinfish and any small grunts, which I was able to catch. The tomtates, my favorite bait has been hard to come by, but pinfish seem to be doing the job just fine.
Kingfish have been on most of the deeper wrecks from 130-200 feet of water. I was mainly catching them with deep-trolled ballyhoo. I heard that the reef also had kingfish prowling behind the yellowtails. When fishing for yellow tails, the kings will be hanging back waiting for the right time to strike.
The hump has been red hot. The tunas have been biting better in the afternoon verses the morning, but that may be due to the full moon we have had and the tunas must be feasting on the squid all night long. Jigging for the tunas has resulted in more and bigger fish, but when it becomes overcast the larger tunas will hit the trolled baits too.
The live baiter out there have been harassed by all the boat traffic out there, so if you see a boat using live bait, give him some room and respect that he can’t catch his fish when boats come barreling up behind them. While we were out offshore we did a little deep dropping and yielded some quality queen snappers. Most of the queens were up in the 12-18 pound class, which is some quality fish. Snowys and tilefish are abundant right now too in the 800-700 foot range.
I had a charter which took me out in the bay. I normally don’t fish out here but when the weather gets rough and my clients can’t take the big seas we head out there for some action packed fishing. They wanted to catch some goliaths and the bay didn’t let us down. We caught a couple in the 30 pound class and two big ones one was about 100 pounds and the other had to 350 pounds if it wasn’t 400 pounds. Most of the mackerel have left the bay but we did manage to get a dozen or so.
The bluefish on the other hand have been ransacking our baits in packs of 20-50 fish strong. It is pretty cool to se 20 or so fish following the one you have hooked. When this happens I like to throw some cut chunks right behind the hooked fish to get them really fired up before I pitch a spoon or a jig with a ballyhoo on it to get multiple hookups. We had out a shark bait for most of the day but we only had a couple of small ones short strike the bait.
Have a great week and I will see you out there. For those of you who haven’t signed the petition please sign it, we need everyone in on this one. Lets take back our rights to fish here come sign this petition!
Sunday, March 21st, 2010
MARATHON, Florida Keys — It sure has been a while since I had a day off, but you wont hear me complain. Many people who usually come down to the Keys may not make it this year, but since there has been trouble in Mexico, the people who got a few bucks for a good time came down here. Some of my clients this week told me that they were going to go to Cancun but changed their plans due to the problems and threats that heard on the news. Last year it was a swine flu epidemic that caused people to stay in the country.
This week I spent a lot of time offshore, which was very productive as long as you fished the humps and deep dropped on ledges. The humps from Islamorada to Marathon have been packed with boats. The tuna and amberjack bite has been red hot. There have been much bigger amberjacks on the Islamorada Hump but still plenty of them on the Marathon hump to put any tackle you have to the test. The tunas have been smoking hot and their size has been good with many fish from 10 pounds and up. I only caught small ones when we pulled feathers. I only did that to get small ones for bait, the amberjacks love small tunas. You can fish them live or dead, but if you fish them live make sure you use enough lead to take them down three hundred feet to where the amberjacks are holding. It is better to have more lead than less, the tunas are hard swimmers and three pounds may seem like a lot but it will get the tuna down to the amberjacks. Using larger baits will ensure that you can get some of the largest fish out of this gigantic biomass of amberjacks that inhabit the hump.
The dolphin have been almost nonexistent, but there have been a few caught inside of 200 feet and some caught around floating debris out in the 600’s. With the water temperature in the low 70’s the dolphin will not be found in any numbers. I don’t know if it is just me but I can’t wait for the temps to rise, I am looking for the first push of dolphin. It probably won’t happen until the end of April but we can only hope.
The shallow wrecks have been over run with large amberjacks, and the word got out, the well-known wrecks looked like a parking lot. Everyone has been jockeying for the best position on the wrecks. Being in the right area of the wreck makes a whole lot of difference between catching and watching the boat next to you catching.
Reef fishing hasn’t changed much, it is still kind of slow for the most part, but the patches to the west of the seven mile bridge are producing a bounty of groupers and snappers. Most of the snappers are small muttons, and yellowtails with a few big mangrove snappers thrown in the mix.
The bay is full of mackerel, snappers, and groupers. Fishing the large deepwater grass beds near banks have produced for me very well. It doesn’t matter where you are, the mackerel will find you with a good chum slick. The best areas are about 7-10 miles strait out in front of the Seven Mile Bridge. Spoons and jig-n-shrimp combo works well too.
Get out there and fish and if you enjoy fishing please sign the petition to ensure that our favorite past time is still here to pass on to our kids. The web site for the petition is here.
Monday, February 15th, 2010
MARATHON, Florida Keys – Here we go again, the cold has started leaking into the Keys giving us 50-degree temperatures. Thinking back all the years I have lived here, I have never witnessed the degree of winter temperatures as we have seen the past two years. The notion of global warming just makes me mad as it has been very clear that what ever research that has been done, has been done wrong. You tell me, records are falling all over the northern hemisphere, as these guys are still defending their inaccurate work they call their research. I have had many calls for the early dolphin run that we used to get during March and April, but I really have to say that we won’t see it this year. Last year was the beginning of this cold trend, and the dolphin didn’t have a good run till the very end of April. But I do believe we will keep our excellent sailfish season into April and if you fish further offshore the sail fishing should continue to be good into May.
This week was a bit rough, which limited the amount of people that should have been out there. Fishing in 4-6 foot seas on the reef and wrecks I was able to keep my clients thinking about their next bite instead of their stomachs. The wrecks were very active with muttons, groupers, and amberjacks. Using vertical jigs and live bait you were very likely to stay very busy with multiple double headers and line screaming off of the fifty pound spinners I use for dropping. I find that most people are more comfortable with spinners and you can let beginners who are enthusiastic about fishing get experience with a fishing combo that is user friendly. I had a charter this week where catching blue runners became a challenge for them, but after filling the well with blue runners they were able to try for the big ones on a little bit bigger tackle. After bouncing around out there we lost two anglers to seasickness, but the other two caught some slob amberjacks on a lighter combo. Women especially, find lighter tackle easier even though it might take longer to land a big fish, you need to have some common sense to understand that most women are not as strong as men and to use heavy tackle with strong drags is just not going to happen. So next time when you are out there dropping for amberjacks and other bottom fish, give the lady a spinner and make her day.
The reef has been ok, yellowtails have been biting somewhat, but the lack of current has really affected the bite. They have been hitting softly and closer to the bottom due to the dirty water and lack of current. Yellowtails are funny sometimes, but it makes complete sense. If the water is dirty the yellowtail will not come up high in the water column for the one reason, they need to see the bottom. If they have a hard time seeing the bottom they will hold deeper in the water column. Sometimes when they are really hungry they will come up and go down, never staying on top. When your school of yellowtail won’t come up, you will loose more fish due to their ability to find something to wrap your line around since they are so close to the bottom. They can be smart by swimming towards the boat but diving deeper as they find something to hang you up on. The other reason when the yellowtails get hard to get to the boat when they are deeper in the water column is that the threat of being eaten by sharks and kingfish increases with every ten feet down in the water column. As the fish struggles on the line the kings and sharks are able to pick these fish out and eat them with ease. Even dolphin (flipper) will take their fair share of your fish while you’re out there yellow tailing.
Sail fishing has been ok, with some captains getting 3-7 releases, and capturing some big kings in the 20-30 pound range. Lots of schooling kings from 8-12 pounds have been swarming around some of the wrecks in 130-180 feet of water. Using vertical jigs, live bait and dead bait has been working really well. You can also get out off the edge of the reef and troll with down riggers or weights and have a blast catching kingfish. They might not be very good to eat, but I do enjoy catching them. They are one of our sportfish that most people overlook. If you use the right tackle these toothy critters are sure to pull hard and test your tackle, especially if your using light tackle. Fishing foe kings in the Kite is so much fun. This is by far some of the most exciting way to kingfish as they skyrocket twenty feet into the air with the bait in their mouth. If you have ever bass fished using top-water plugs, the excitement you get when the fish busts your floating lure making a big splash and surprising you at the same time drives these fisherman to stick with it. The same thing with kite fishing for kings, the aerial attacks and the strike is the number one reason for fishing this way.
Have a great week, and get out there and have some fun. Try something new this week, and try kite fishing for kings while we have the weather for it.
Monday, October 26th, 2009
MARATHON, Florida Keys — Fall has been falling short of last year’s phenomenal fishing. We really never got a dolphin run this fall like we usually do. This year has definitely changed for the worse. Not only has the economy hit us charter boat captains hard, the fish seem to be on strike as well. Compared to last fall, this fall has fallen short of normal. Water temperatures have been on the cooler side as was the air temperatures as well. The offshore fishing has slowed to a halt.
With the offshore fishing slow, we have been fishing the reef and wrecks to show our clients a fun filled day of catching. The muttons have been biting well, no size to them but plenty of fish from the 6-10 pounds. One day this week we caught over twenty muttons on a half-day charter. It was blowing over twenty kts. So, we stayed close to shore, fishing Hawks Channel and the patches, which have been full of snappers. The yellowtail snapper have been chewing really well, with some large fish being caught. While fishing for yellowtail snapper we have been catching a few muttons on the bottom as well with a grouper here and there. Always bring some live bait while your fishing on the reef to catch some of the bigger fish off of the bottom. Live bait such as ballyhoo, pinfish, grunts, and even small legal lane snappers work great for the groupers and muttons. Remember when fishing for muttons, a lighter leader is best, but if a grouper eats your bait you will most likely loose him. I will try using a heavy leader first to get the groupers, and as the day goes on, I will drop the leader size.
Wreck fishing has been on fire with amberjacks swarming over most of the wrecks. There are a few African pompanos and muttons being caught. I have been using mostly pinfish and small grunts to target all of these fish. I will use a split-tailed ballyhoo also, it will sometimes be the secret bait which most people overlook. When fishing the wrecks for most of the bottom dwellers I prefer to use a 15-20 foot leader from 40-60 pound floro carbon leader. One other important thing you must get down with dropping long leaders to the bottom is that you have to have the boat moving forward while dropping the bait down to the bottom. This will allow the line to scope out a bit and will prevent tangles while dropping down 150-250 feet of water. This past couple of weeks I have caught, cobia, muttons, amberjacks, jack crevales, grouper, African pompano, mangrove snapper, white margates, yellow jacks, and barracudas. I really have been doing well on the deeper wrecks from 180-250 feet of water.
Deep dropping this past week was a little slow with a few tilefish and barrel fish being caught. I have heard a few people got into a few queen snappers but for the most part the deep dropping has been slow except for the tilefish and an occasional snowy. The sword fishing has been great although the weather has been dictating the days, which we are able to fish for them. I went one for three at the beginning of last week. It wasn’t really big one but a keeper never the less. Sword fishing has been taking most of the attention of a lot of people these days, getting a big one can really change your outlook of the offshore fishing. Fall through the winter the sword fishing should be great as the fish from the North East migrate south to warmer waters. We are in a great place down here in the Keys to catch these fish only 30 miles from shore. If you have never though about it, you should, it is some great fishing and can produce a lot of meat for you meat hunters.
Have a great week and hope to see you down here, stay warm until you get down here.
Monday, August 10th, 2009
MARATHON, Florida Keys — With the opening of the lobster season Marathon has been very busy. A lot of people mixing it up with diving and fishing, this is what the Keys is all about. I haven’t been diving for lobsters yet, but I will soon because the season is starting to wind down and with this pause in business I will have the time to get a few bugs for dinner. I have noticed a few people not following the rules of safety and this is one of the reasons why people are dying while lobstering. When divers get to far away from their boat they become a statistic, which can be avoided by staying closer to the boat, or have someone on the boat keeping up with the diver.
The offshore bite was hit or miss at the beginning of the week with mainly small catches of decent size dolphin. As the week progressed the dolphin bite got red hot with some schoolie action and larger dolphin being caught in abundance. Most of the big dolphin have been averaging 20 pounds with some up to 40 pounds. The tuna bite has been consistently good with some really big ones in the 20-35 pound class. Most of the dolphin action has been from the 600-foot line out to the 650’s, which is 12-17 miles from shore.
Deep dropping has been hit or miss, but really the current has kept me from dropping. When the current exceeds 3 kts I will try it, but usually it is too fast and you have to venture in closer to try and get out of the main current. The optimal current for deep dropping is from 1-2 kts; you still need some current to cover the ground. Sword fishing was a little slow lately, but last week there was some great catches and some great stories of the one that got away. The daytime sword fishing has been where the best bite is. The nighttime bite was slow and plenty of sharks to keep things interesting.
The nighttime snapper bite slowed down recently due to the full moon, but as the moon gets smaller the bite should increase. I have been averaging 2-5 pound mangroves and really small yellowtails. During the daytime the yellowtails have been great and decent fish from 1-3 pounds. I have been doing much better on the reef further to the west, somewhere around the Bahia Honda area. I haven’t heard about the mutton bite around town, but I have been tearing up the amberjacks, kingfish, and got an African pompano. Wreck fishing has been hot, but the sharks have been eating their share. I don’t see things changing much out on the wrecks, except for maybe some muttons catches to rise a bit.
PS: Greg, Chris, and Robert, you guys rock I had such a great time fishing with you guys, can’t wait to get those photos and hope to see you guys real soon.