Offshore, the best bite right now is blackfin tuna.
In the Middle and Upper Keys, blackfins are being caught via trolling, live baiting and butterfly jigging at the humps. In the Lower Keys and Key West, they’re found on the deeper wrecks. The blackfins range from little footballs up to fish in the ten-pound class. Live baits, such as pilchards, work best in all areas.
Sailfishing remains sluggish, with the only action at all in the Middle and Upper Keys. Ballyhoo and pilchards are the baits of choice, or goggle eyes, if you can get them.
The Atlantic wrecks offer an excellent bite for amberjacks right now. Copious numbers of reef donkeys in the 40- to 50-pound range are biting all variety of large live baits, such as pilchards, blue runners and grunts.
There are also quite a few muttons on the wrecks, with live pilchards and pinfish your baits of choice for these snappers.
Yellowtail snapper and kingfish
Yellowtail snapper fishing on the reef is sporadic, with the most consistent action in 60 to 80 feet of water. There are some kingfish on the reef line as well, including some real smokers over 30 pounds.
Channel hump fishing
The channel humps hold a massive selection of fish, including snapper of all kinds, hogfish, cero, Spanish and king mackerel plus keeper-size grouper that must be released due to the season being closed until May 1. An array of baits works here, with shrimp as the main player, along with large live pilchards and ballyhoo.
Bay and gulf fishing
On the wrecks and rough bottom areas in the bay and gulf waters, you’ll find nice size kingfish plus mangrove snapper, cobia and Goliath grouper.
The week’s best
The SeaSquared crews spent the week fishing the channel humps, bay and gulf areas. Our anglers caught cobia, kingfish to about 35 pounds, large mangrove snappers, hogfish, Spanish mackerel and a few seatrout.
We also did quite a bit of catch-and-release shark fishing, with 13 toothy critters the tally for one of our outings.
We had a very interesting species on one of our charters. Any idea what this is?SeaSquared Charters Marathon Florida Keys 305-743-5305
Capt. Chris Johnson is a member of the Yamaha National Fishing Team and specializes in offshore, gulf/bay, reef/wreck, sailfish, shark and tarpon fishing with SeaSquared Charters out of Porky’s Bayside Marina in Marathon. You can reach him at 305.743.5305, https://seasquaredcharters.com and http://Facebook.com/MarathonFishing