Plenty of options on a windy day – Florida Keys Weekly Fishing Report – September 29, 2010

The protected areas in the Gulf and Bay remain the go-to venues for good fishing as we continue to experience easterly winds.

Florida Keys Weekly Fishing Update – Captain Chris Johnson, SeaSquared Charters – September 29, 2010

Mangrove snapper 

The mangrove snapper bite has really turned on in the grass beds nearest the banks as well as the cuts in the banks and the wrecks that dot the shallow regions.  There are plenty of keeper size fish with a few real studs thrown in. 

Grouper and Spanish mackerel 

Mixed among the mangroves are decent red grouper and sizeable Spanish mackerel.  The baits of choice have been live shrimp, chunks of fresh ballyhoo and small pinfish, all fished on knocker rigs. 

Lemon sharks 

The cooling water temperatures on the shallow flats have resulted in an incredible lemon shark bite.  Blacktip sharks and the occasional bull shark add to the excitement. 

The sharks are feeding aggressively and it’s not uncommon to have a large swarm of them around the boat.  This makes for action-packed catch-and-release sport fishing with multiple hook-ups to very large toothy critters that prove themselves worthy opponents for anglers of all ages and abilities.


There has been the occasional report of cobia either spotted or caught in waters further out in the Gulf.  Small gag grouper and mangrove snapper are in the same areas as well as a bounty of Goliath grouper, as always.  Live pinfish and fresh shrimp have been doing well.

Yellowtail snapper 

The fishing conditions on the Oceanside have really been stirred up of late.  The patches are where the action is, although those willing and able to venture to the reef have been rewarded with very good yellowtail action.


On the patch reefs, there has been a mixed bag of all sorts of snapper and grouper plus delicious hogfish.  Live shrimp, pilchards and pinfish are the ticket.  On the reef, the yellowtail snapper are ferociously biting chunks of ballyhoo as well as silversides and shrimp.


There is an abundance of ballyhoo on the reef edge right now.  If you have the freezer capacity, it’s a good time to catch these excellent bait fish, brine and freeze them for use later in the year.  Sailfish season is right around the corner, and there’s nothing better than ballyhoo to attract the prized billfish.


There have been scattered reports of good size dolphin in the blue waters throughout the Keys.  Typically, we see a decent run of them for a couple of weeks this time of year.  Once this tropical system leaves our area, get out there to take advantage of the fall run.

Wahoo and blackfin tuna 

Trolling is producing very respectable catches of wahoo.  Most anglers have reported wahoo in the 200- to 300-foot depths.  There is also a decent blackfin tuna bite taking place around the wrecks off Key West. 

The week with SeaSquared Charters

The SeaSquared fished the bayside of the islands last week, targeting sharks and mangrove snapper.

The Lueken group from Little Rock AR caught and released 8 lemon sharks and brought a whole mess of mangrove snapper back to the dock along with bonus Spanish mackerel and a yellowjack.  Ninety-year-old Lavon Watson exemplified the fun of shark fishing for anglers of any age as he caught and released more than his share of fish up to 6 feet.


Steve and Andy Compton, along with their dad Bob, added some shark and snapper fishing to their guys’ weekend getaway.  In only 3 hours, they caught and released 17 lemon sharks ranging in size from 5 to 8 feet.  We then headed to a wreck where they boxed 15 hefty mangrove snapper and a tasty red grouper.



Until next week … tight lines!

Captain Chris Johnson, SeaSquared Charters, Marathon Florida Keys, 305.743.5305


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