Beat the heat, catch the fish

Marathon Florida Keys Weekly Fishing Report August 15, 2012: Even the fish feel the heat. 


Right now, it takes flexibility and mobility to put a good snapper catch together on the reef.

A good strategy is to head to the reef at sunrise, as the bite slows drastically by about 10 o’clock.  Or – if you’re stuck in an office all day – leave the dock at five or six for the best evening action.

Fish cannot metabolize their food quickly in the very warm waters of August so they eat less.  So, you want to use just enough chum to hold their attention without allowing them to fill up.

Also, use very light fluorocarbon leaders to keep the fish biting.  We’ve been using 12- and 10-pound for the last couple of weeks.  And, if you find the fish shutting down after 30 or 45 minutes, move on to another spot.

All that taken into consideration, look for yellowtails of all sizes from sub-legal to 23 inches anywhere from 60 to 80 feet.  There are also a few muttons showing in the slicks as well as the occasional mangrove.


Offshore, the most consistent fishery has been blackfin tuna at the humps in the Middle and Upper Keys.  Anglers are finding dolphin on their way out and back in.

Be aware there are lots of small dolphin around.  Remember, they must measure 20 inches to the fork of the tail to be legal.

 Bay and Gulf

The mangroves are returning to the bay and gulf following their annual spawning ritual on the reef.  There are plenty of fish in the 14-inch class.  And, this bite will steadily improve in the weeks to come.


Now that the hoards of lobster hunters have left the Keys for the most part, lobstering should improve.  With the new moon, they should be walking and refilling the holes that were emptied in the bay.  And, hopefully the reef waters will clean up a bit so divers can catch their share too.


We’re smack dab in the middle of Shark Week, and what better time to catch yourself a beast!  Shallow-water, catch-and-release shark fishing in Florida Bay is an awesome experience for anglers of all ages and abilities!

The week’s best catches

Last week, the SeaSquared crew hosted nine groups from Florida, New York, Kansas, Maryland, Washington DC, Michigan, Georgia and Texas.

We fished in the bay and on the reef with excellent catches of yellowtail and mangrove snapper coming back to the dock.  We also did a couple of combination snapper/sharks in Florida Bay.

Capt. Chris Johnson is a member of the Yamaha National Fishing Team and specializes in offshore, gulf/bay, reef/wreck, shark and tarpon fishing with SeaSquared Charters out of the 7 Mile Marina in Marathon.  You can reach him at 305.743.5305, and  

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Capt. Chris and Christy Johnson
SeaSquared Charters
Member of the Yamaha National Fishing Team
Marathon Florida Keys

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