Marathon Florida Keys: October Forecast
Capt. Chris Johnson
October 1, 2012
Marathon - Saltwater Fishing Report
October is a time of transition throughout the country, and Marathon is no exception.
Cooling temperatures, falling leaves, pumpkin harvests, deer and turkey hunting.
Gone are the days of 90-plus degrees – that's air and water temps – in Marathon, and we shift into a season of increased fishing opportunities.
Each strengthening cold front up north pushes growing numbers of bait fish into our reef system. Subsequently, all the predator fish take advantage of the abundance of bait. Also, the fish are generally more comfortable in cooler waters and, therefore, more inclined to eat.
Snapper and grouper
The snapper and grouper return to the shallow areas of the reef to feed on the great quantity of pilchards, ballyhoo, cigar minnows and sardines that has taken up residence. They are much easier to target now in the 40- to 60-foot depths than they were in August and September when we had to try for them 90 feet and deeper.
Mackerel and sailfish
Hot on the heels of this wealth of bait fish coming from the north are the mackerel – king, cero and Spanish – along with the sailfish.
With the mackerel and sailfish added to the snapper, grouper and amberjack on the reef, it can get downright confusing as to which species to focus on. That's why we arm ourselves with the maximum amount of all sorts of tackle so we're prepared for whatever comes our way on the reef.
Seven Mile Bridge
The waters at the Seven Mile Bridge are another area that offers a bountiful harvest during October. They are a heavily congested rest stop on the great super highway of the fall snapper migration.
Yellowtail and mutton snapper leave the cooling bayside waters to head to their winter home on the reef. Mangrove snapper depart the reef where they spent the summer spawning to return to the bay.
As all these snapper take a break at the bridge, they're easy targets for anglers. Sometimes there's even hogfish and porgy mixed in. This venue is a great alternative when the wind is blowing on the reef and typically offers up a speedy limit of tastiness for the dinner table.
The mangrove bite in Florida Bay typically gets very good toward the end of the month. We also see the beginning of the Spanish mackerel run at this time. More about mackerel fishing in November.
As long as the water temps don't drop too much, catch-and-release shark fishing continues to entertain during October. It offers the best of all worlds: the excitement of a close encounter with a large, toothy critter, the comfort of fishing in calm, shallow waters and the benefit of an Eco experience. It is great family-fun fishing and an extraordinary experience for anglers of all ages and abilities.
Capt. Chris Johnson is a member of the Yamaha National Fishing Team and specializes in offshore, reef/wreck, gulf/bay, shark and tarpon fishing with SeaSquared Charters out of the 7 Mile Marina in Marathon. You can reach him at 305.743.5305, SeaSquared@bellsouth.net and www.SeaSquared-Charters.com.
Capt. Chris and Christy Johnson
Member of the Yamaha National Fishing Team
Marathon Florida Keys
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