Marathon Key Fishing Reports

Brought to you by Sweet E Nuf Charters

For the Week of December Fourth


For the Week of December Fourth

The reef fishing has been on fire. The great bite on yellowtail snapper has been between 40-110 ft of water. While the wind increased, it stirred up the water creating excellent conditions for yellowtail snapper fishing. Using cut bait seemed to be best for them but since we had some small pilchards, we used them as well. When using live pilchards for yellowtail I prefer to use a 1/8 oz jig to slow down the pilchards enough for the snapper to catch them. Using oats has been the key in the deep water to bring the large yellowtail snapper to the surface. Stepping up the fishing gear to a 20-pound test will be necessary to beat the sharks. The sharks are also eating our fish in the shallow water (45’ of water). While anchored up we have used live pilchards and wire rigs to catch copious amounts of cero mackerel and kingfish. Chumming live bait increases their activity.

Offshore has been decent, with mahi, blackfin tuna, bonito, sailfish, and wahoo. Depending on the day the mahi has been anywhere from 5-20 pounds. Mainly from the edge of the reef to 300 ft of water. Most of us who have been catching them were either kite fishing or trolling live bait for sailfish. Trolling artificial baits have mainly produced mahi and tuna, and a few wahoos have been reported as well. We have been targeting wahoo with large live bait, but you can catch them dead bait on planers. The wahoo bite has been in 100’-300’ of water.

The bay fishing has also been decent with lots of mangrove snapper, and jacks. While fishing for the snapper I’ll save all the jacks in the live well for Goliath groupers. They love jacks or any large baitfish you present them. Now of course fishing for these behemoths you will need heavy tackle. Use oversized circle hooks so you can release them with minimal damage to their mouth. The bay is a great place to get out of bad sea conditions on the ocean side. There have been reports of keeper-sized Cobia (36” to the fork) out there as well. Use a net when landing Cobia, it calms them down, and if you’re not sure if they big enough you can release the small ones. NOAA has recently changed its regulations on them so always check before you go fishing for any changes that may have occurred. There are plenty of barracudas to be caught out in the bay, for those of you that like the light tackle game fishing. The mackerel have shown up, but not in great numbers yet. They will be heavy soon. Good luck and keep informed here for what’s biting.

Dave Schugar
Marathon Fishing Charters logo