Captain’s Blog – March 24, 2010 – Marathon Florida Keys – With April comes the migration of sailfish heading west for their annual spawn.
Based on the number of flags seen flying on charter boats throughout the Keys, I’d say it’s already game on!
You will find the sailfish at the color change, which is occurring anywhere in the 160- to 300-foot depths. Look for the water to go from a cloudy blue to a dark blue or from a grayish blue to purple. Once you locate the line, you have your choice of drifting and waiting for the sailfish to come to you or running up and down the line looking for the fish.
These fish tend not to be very particular about the baits they eat, but there’s a certain selection best to have on hand. Live bait such as ballyhoo, pilchards, small bluerunners, goggle eyes, cigar minnows and threadfin herring are the top choices. If you can’t find or don’t know how to acquire these, trolling rigged naked ballyhoo will often serve you well.
On the reef, the yellowtail fishing has been so-so in Marathon but is full on in the Lower Keys and Key West. They’re catching the ‘tails up shallow in 35 to 40 feet of water.
Patch reef fishing remains outstanding throughout the Keys. Lots of nice mangroves, 14- to 15-inch yellowtails and muttons in the five- to ten-pound class are making their way to every boat that goes out. Pinfish and chunks of ballyhoo are doing the trick.
There are also good size kingfish on the patches, with many in the 10- to 20-pound category plus the occasional bruiser.
On the bay side of the islands, there are good samplings of mangrove snapper and all the Spanish mackerel you could ever want. Venture eight to ten miles offshore anywhere from the Middle to Lower Keys, anchor up, put the chum in the water and get set for a mack attack that will leave you with wobbly arms at the end of the day. There are also very respectable kings in the same areas.