If you’re interested in some great tasting Florida Keys fish, there’s a whole lot to choose from right now.
Florida Keys Weekly Fishing Update – Capt. Chris Johnson, SeaSquared Charters – October 20, 2010
Yellowtail and mangrove snapper
Giant yellowtail snapper are cruising the deep edge of the reef in the 60- to 90-foot depths. There are also plenty of keeper size yellowtails in the 35- to 40-foot areas with some larger fish mixed in.
Under the yellowtails, good numbers of hefty mangrove snapper are biting on the reef edge as well as on some of the patches.
The yellowtails are taking a wide variety of frozen and fresh baits, while live pilchards and small pinfish on jig heads are doing the trick for the mangroves.
I received a couple of reports this week of cobia on the reef and on the deeper wrecks. Many of these fish have been a nice size, in the 20- to 30-pound range. Judging from the information I got from a few tackle shop owners in the Palm Beach area, there should be a big push of cobia coming our way within the next couple of weeks.
The mutton snapper bite on the wrecks has been respectable with most fish averaging 8 to 12 pounds and the occasional bonus weighing in the high teens. Live ballyhoo and pilchards will serve your well for the muttons.
Sailfish and dolphin
As I write this, the Gulf Stream is set right on the reef from Marathon to Key West. This should make for some high-quality sailfish and dolphin action on the reef itself as they are seen spraying ballyhoo.
Live ballyhoo pitched on 20-pound tackle will do the trick, but a pilchard sometimes works in a pinch. It’s always worth a try.
Patch reef action
The patch reefs have really come alive with masses of cero mackerel plus all manner of snapper and grouper. Your baits of choice are shrimp, pilchards and pinfish.
Florida Bay and Gulf of Mexico
In the waters of Florida Bay, there are more and more Spanish mackerel everyday. In and around the edges of the banks, bluefish, trout and mangrove snapper fishing is productive.
The top bait is shrimp, but small pilchards also work well. Be sure to add a small trace of light wire to prevent break offs by the toothy mackerel.
Further out on the Gulf wrecks, cobia are beginning to show as well as some nice gag grouper. There’s also plenty of mangrove snapper and Goliath grouper action to keep your rods bent.
Fishing night in the Keys
Tuesday is fishing night at Salty’s Waterfront Grill in the 7 Mile Marina in Marathon. Alternating weeks feature free fishing seminars and Capt. Spider’s Casting for Charity Contest. Stop by if you’re in the area.
What’s happening on the SeaSquared
Christy and I have spent the last couple of weeks making appearances for some of our sponsors while the SeaSquared was in the boat yard for annual maintenance. We’re back now and the charters have started up again. We’re looking forward to a great 2011 season and hope to see all of you on the SeaSquared!
Until next time … tight lines!
Captain Chris Johnson, SeaSquared Charters, Marathon Florida Keys, 305.743.5305