Marathon FL Keys Offshore/Reef Report JULY 17, 2012
Capt. Jason Long
July 17, 2012
Marathon - Saltwater Fishing Report
I read somewhere recently that July is "Anti-Boredom Month." Has our society become so dull that we need to dedicate an entire month to reminding us to combat boredom? Isn't it a given that we should try and spend every day of every month with as little boredom as possible? Oh well, I can't argue with a month dedicated to having more fun, and maybe it's true that we all need some encouragement from time to time to be less boring. So, to celebrate Anti-Boredom Month, I suggest doing something that's definitely not boringódeep sea fishing in the Florida Keys!
Okay, I may have reached a little on that transition into this week's fishing report, but I don't think there is a more exciting way to spend a day with your friends or family than out on the water fishing in the Florida Keys. Where else can generations come together, enjoy the beautiful scenery and wildlife the Keys have to offer, and share in the thrill of catching big fish? I can assure you that battling a 5-pound mangrove snapper or 20-pound grouper is anything but boring. And throw in a slammer dolphin and 50-pound amberjack and the excitement is off the hook!
For consistent rod-bending action this week, load up the chum and head out to the reef. From the patches out to the deep reef we've been reeling in excellent catches of groupers, muttons, mangroves, and yellowtails. If planning to fish reef, I suggest taking a variety of baits and tackle to target the various species. For mangroves, the best results have been on the shallower patch reefs between 20 and 30 feet of water, fishing light 14 to 17-pound fluorocarbon leaders. Small pinfish fished on jig heads have worked well, with best results often coming on small live ballyhoo swimming in the chum slick that we've been able to throw the net on. While targeting mangroves don't be surprised if you get a few shots at a keeper mutton or grouper as well. For yellowtails, the best results have been in the 40 to 60-foot depths, though opposing wind and current conditions have made fishing difficult at times. If you head out in search of tails and find that conditions are not favorable don't spend all day trying to yellowtail. Move in shallower and try for mangroves, or head offshore in search of your dolphin and tunas.
While I'm on the subject of the reef, I'd also like to mention Captain James Simsic of Spear Crazy Charters in Key Colony Beach. James has been recording excellent catches of big snapper and grouper on the reef of late with the spear gun. If you're into diving and would like to give spearfishing a try, I highly recommend hooking up with James. He'll help you get your shot at a trophy.
Offshore, the dolphin fishing has been good, but not great. Fish have been scattered and difficult to find at times, with the majority of the fish being found from 20 to 30 miles out. If heading out in search of dolphin be patient and be prepared to cover some ground to find the fish. Most of the dolphin we are catching have been nice gaffers and large schoolies, so if you do find a pack of fish you should be able to load the coolers with some nice keepers.
Also offshore, the blackfin tuna action continues to be excellent, although the tremendous fishing pressure has been pushing the fish down deep at times, making them a little more difficult to catch. If heading out to the humps it's not a bad idea to fish early in the morning or later in the day when there are fewer boats around. Also be prepared to use a variety of techniques to target the fish at the various depths. Jigging, trolling, and live baiting have all produced at different times in the day.
More Fishing Reports: