Fewer Anglers, Better Fishing! Marathon, Florida fish report
Capt. Jason Long
September 14, 2012
Marathon - Saltwater Fishing Report
It's quiet around here. The kids are back in school, the snowbirds have yet to migrate south, and it's once again safe to shop at Publix and Winn Dixie without the fear of getting t-boned by a shopping cart full of Corona Light. This is the Florida Keys slow season, and it's one of the best and most relaxing times of year to visit—especially if you love to fish!
Why? Well to start, just walk outside and take a look at the water. There's something missing isn't there? The boats have disappeared. The reef is no longer a parking lot of center consoles. The channels are once again free for navigation. In short, there are far fewer people out fishing; and a lack of fishing pressure usually means better fishing! This is a great time of year to fish the reef, the wrecks, and even the bridges—all spots that get hit hardest during the busy tourist months.
One thing that many visitors often overlook is that most all of our native fish species receive tremendous fishing pressure the majority of the year. Just about every keeper-size snapper and grouper has had a hook and line dropped in front of its face once or twice before. They know the drill, and over the years they have grown wise to the tricks of anglers. That's why we have to use fluorocarbon leaders, and why we devise various other techniques (such as chum balling) to get these "line-shy" species to bite. During the slow season these fish get a break, and they can dine freely without fear of being bombarded in the noggin with lead pyramid sinkers. This equates to fish that are often more willing to eat a bait or lure that is presented properly. So to sum up: fewer fishermen…more fish!
Another reason why this is an excellent time of year to fish is that the water is still likely to be relatively calm. Sure, we might get a good blow from time to time creating "sporty" conditions in the Atlantic. But generally, September and early October offer extremely comfortable conditions for anchoring on the reef, or venturing offshore for tuna, dolphin, or swordfish. So if you're prone to getting seasick, now is a great time to get on the water without worrying about losing your breakfast. Just keep an eye on the weather and wind forecast (www.windfinder.com), and plan your trip accordingly.
Furthermore, this is an excellent time to wet a line because of the variety of fish you can catch. I'm not going to lie and say that this is the absolute best season to catch dolphin (mahi mahi) or sailfish, because it isn't. Dolphin are best targeted in the late spring and throughout the summer, while sailfish push through when the water cools. However, right now you can still have a shot at finding a pack of dolphin offshore, and it's not uncommon for a few sailfish to be caught as well. In addition, the reef fishing is excellent during September, with great action for mangroves, yellowtails, muttons, and grouper. Plus on the wrecks, you just don't know what you're going to pull up when you drop down a bait. You can catch your usual target species of mutton snapper, amberjacks, and groupers, but's there's also a good chance you may hook up with a big cobia, wahoo, or kingfish!
Finally, because it is slow season, it's easier to find better prices throughout the Keys. Hotels, restaurants, and even Florida Keys fishing charters will often lower than normal rates to keep busy. Right now we're offering discounted fall rates on all the Best Bet boats.
Please call me at 305-395-1376 to find out more. We'd love to spend an exciting day on the ocean with you. There's a good chance we'll have it all to ourselves!
The Best Bet boats are located at Key Colony Beach Marina (Marathon, FL KEYS) at Mile Marker 54. To book a trip or to find out more about what's biting call Captain Jason Long at 305-395-1376.
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