Sailfish & KIngfish bring in the New Year!
Capt. Bob Brown
January 1, 2010
Marathon - Saltwater Fishing Report
The winter migratory species continue to dominate the local fishing scene with good numbers of Sailfish inhabiting the local area as cool fronts coming down the Florida peninsula keep moving more fish south into the warmer waters of the middle Keys. Over the past few days there have been some awesome days of catching sailfish and then some that were a bit tougher but boats were still scoring a few fish. When the conditions have been right and Ballyhoo have been on the reef edge, Sailfish have been easy to find and quite plentiful. Other days the ballyhoo have moved inshore or somewhere other than the reef edge, and Sailfish were being taken more out in deeper waters using Kite fishing techniques and slow trolling with Pilchards and Ballyhoo. On days when the ballyhoo have been plentiful on the reef, Sailfish have been pushing up into the shallow water, causing havoc with the ballyhoo and drawing in gulls, frigate birds and gannets that give away the location of the feeding Sailfish. This action can be hot and heavy when it happens, as one boat out of my marina saw 17 different Sailfish in an hour in the late afternoon a couple days ago. All were up on the reef in shallow water of about 25-40ft feeding on Ballyhoo. If you are to target these reef feeding fish, then you need to match the bait with the food.. and get yourself some Ballyhoo! You can catch them on the shallow patch reefs by chumming and either catching them on small hair hooks with a small piece of bait, or by throwing the cast net on them. To keep them at their best, catch a couple dozen on hook and line and handle them as gently as possible as they can get weak in a hurry in a live well. Be careful not to overload the bait well with 150 ballyhoo as that usually kills most of them in short order unless you have a mega large round live well and put ONLY ballyhoo in it. For the most part, they will live 4-6 hours and give you a good shot at catching some winter time Sailfish!
King Mackerel have been showing up in increasing numbers and some of up to 50lb have been hitting the docks at the 7 mile marina here in Marathon. Good numbers of school sized Kings have been around also, mostly about 5-10bl fish when you hit a school or get near a deep wreck. Live pilchards work great as do trolled spoons or ballyhoo especially on a planer. Anchoring on the reef in the Yellowtail snapper holes has been producing some good King Macks, and the Yellowtail have been biting as well. Patch reef fishing has been hot with Cero Mackerel and smaller yellowtail, but the Grouper and Mangrove snapper seem to be a bit slow this week. Remember when fishing the reef that Grouper are CLOSED starting Jan 1 for 4 months!!
Fishing is great here in the middle Keys. Now is the time to get things set up for a great adventure. We have been catching huge sharks as well for all you shark hunters out there!! For more info, check out our web site. Good luck in all your fishing adventures!
Capt Bob Brown, Jr
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