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Sailfish, Dolphin, Swordfish... what do you prefer?

Capt. Bob Brown
November 18, 2008
Marathon - Saltwater Fishing Report

The offshore fishing in the middle keys has been excellent in recent days with a variety of things working at the moment. The recent cool fronts bringing down north winds and cooling the waters has put fish in the move that migrate into the local areas this time of year. There is still some of the warmer weather fish hanging around also making this transition time of year fantastic all around.

Sailfish are our main winter large sportfish and they have already been around and giving anglers some great action. The best areas have been from Duck Key to Bahia Honda with sails showing up on the edge of the reef showering baitfish and giving away their location to awaiting fishermen. Lots of sailfish have been showing up on the reef edge in as shallow as 20ft as they chase ballyhoo and other baitfish that hang on the edge of the reef. Most boats are targeting sails in the 70-110ft depths and keeping an eye inshore where there might be some larger schools of bait. When you see the baitfish jumping and getting pushed for a long distance, this is usually a sailfish undernieth them. Frigate birds are good at helping anglers locate sailfish as they will be nearby trying to swoop down and get an unsuspecting ballyhoo or flying fish as the sailfish push them toward shore. Best bet to target sails in this environment is to get yourself some live ballyhoo on the reef before you go out there and keep them ready to pitch when you see the baitfish 'showering'. Then run up to that area and cast out the live bait in the direction of the bait push and be ready for a bite. These fish are in there just to feed and are normally agressive if you encounter them on the reef. Some nice Dolphin (Mahi-Mahi) have also been showing up doing the bait push thing in 40-50ft of water, but expect them to stay a bit further from shore this week as some cooler weather should keep them out near the edge of the gulfstream. Speaking of the gulfstream, the inshore edge has been in close lately so there have been plenty of Tuna and Wahoo hangin around the inshore area as well lately. Some nice schools of Dolphin have been in 200-300ft of water, and some larger Mahi's have been out on the edge of the Wall south of Marathon.

Swordfishing has been excellent lately as well, as capt Josh Gilmartin brought in a 245lb. Sword to the 7 mile marina the other day and we all has some excellent swordfish steaks the next day. The bite has been out about 30 miles or so, so a full day is in tact if you are going to target swords. They have been biting in the daylight hours, so an overnight trip has not been necessary to get your swordfish fix.

Cobia are showing up in good numbers as the cooler weather persists on the gulf side of the Keys. Some of the gulf wrecks out 30-40 miles are loaded with fish and it just a matter of time before the inshore wrecks have Cobia showing up on them as well. Goliath grouper fishing continues to be excellent out on bayside wrecks with some whoppers topping 400lb reported!!

Oceanside reef fishing has been great for Yellowtail snapper and grouper this week and the bite should continue to be good the next few weeks. If you would like more info on fishing in the middle Florida Keys, check out our web site. Good luck in all your fishing adventures!

Capt Bob Brown, Jr

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Light tackle sportfishing for Sailfish, Tarpon, and other sport fish in the middle Florida Keys. Since 1980 Capt Bob has been putting anglers on the big fish! Offshore, reef/wreck, Gulf wrecks, and Tarpon fishing. Live bait specialist, tournament winners!

Contact Info:

Sundance Sportfishing Adventures
PO Box 504345
Marathon, FL 33050
Phone: 800-282-1712
Alt. Phone: 305-289-1542
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