The Last Cast of Summer
Capt. Jason Long
August 9, 2012
Marathon - Saltwater Fishing Report
Captain Jason Long was on vacation last week fishing in British Columbia. I am writing this week's report on behalf of Jason and Best Bet Sportfishing --Drew Dinan.
When I was young my parents took me fishing nearly every Sunday. We'd arrive at the lake early, snag a boat, and row out in search of walleye, bass, or catfish. It would be an understatement to say that I enjoyed fishing. I would count the days until the school week came to an end, and I would dread the moment my father would call "last cast" on Sunday evenings. I hated going back to school, but even more, I hated putting the rod away for another week. I would make several "last casts" before the rod was pried from my fingertips, hoping that each time the lure hit the water a big largemouth bass would crash the surface and send me home with a trophy. Usually, I wouldn't get a bite, but it was sure worth a try.
Last week I had an opportunity to fish several trips with kids aboard the Best Bet, and their enthusiasm reminded me of when I was young. I still love to fish (maybe even more now than when I was young), but there's something to be said about taking a child fishing. They appreciate the things we sometimes take for granted. Often we only care about getting the fish in the boat, and we forget that the best part of fishing is the excitement of getting the fish to the boat. There's also something special about the bond between a father and child that takes place on the water. A couple of years ago I had the chance to help my father catch his first sailfish. It was something that I will never forget, just as I'll never forget all the times he took me fishing when I was young. If you're on vacation with your kids, don't pass up the chance to take them fishing before they have to go back to school. You'll create memories that you and your children will remember forever, and who knows, maybe that last cast will land your youngster a 50-pound dolphin.
The dolphin (mahi mahi) are back! After a couple of slow weeks we had a solid push of fish come through this past week, with several slammers caught throughout the Middle Keys. Most of the fish that we found were in the 14 to 20 mile range, with plenty of big fish caught all the way out to 35 miles. If heading out this week try and find the scattered grass and work that area looking for birds and floaters. There are still lots of small fish mixed in with the gaffers and slammers, so if you find a school of undersized dolphin don't spend too much time trying to weed out the keepers. There are larger fish out there, and the more time you spend looking for them the better chance you will have to load up the coolers with quality fish.
Also offshore, the blackfin tuna bite continues to be solid at the Marathon Hump and offers loads of fun for children that don't have a lot of saltwater fishing experience. Even the smaller tunas provide a great fight, but are not too overpowering that kids can't get them to the boat. If heading out to the hump be prepared to troll, jig, or live bait. Different techniques have worked best at various times. While I'm on the topic of offshore fishing, I'd like to congratulate Captain Wayne Albert for catching a blue marlin aboard the Best Bet II last weekend. Nice fish Wayne!
The reef bite was a little slow at times last week, but the front that moved through early in the week should help to turn things back on. If you're planning to fish the reef I suggest dividing your day into targeting yellowtails and mangroves. For yellowtails, fish from 50 to 100 feet of water and chum heavily to get those fish up off the bottom. The water has been clear, so use a stretch of light fluorocarbon leader to entice the bite.
For mangroves, fish the shallower patch reefs from 20 to 30 feet of water. There are still lots of big mangroves hanging around on the patches, with keeper muttons and black grouper mixed in as well. For targeting the mangroves don't go too heavy with your leader, and try to get your hands on live ballyhoo, small pinfish, or medium sized pilchards.
Your Best Bet for the Week Ahead: Take the kids fishing!
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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