August brings the warmest temperatures of the year to the waters surrounding Marathon.
The fish tend to go deep to escape the heat, and you’ll need to follow them for the most productive catching. You’ll also want to adjust your fishing schedule to the cooler times of day … early morning, late evening and dark of night.
Snapper deep on the reef and wrecks
The 80- to 100-foot depths on the edge of the reef hold abundant yellowtail and mangrove snapper with the bonus mutton snapper on occasion. A variety of cut baits plus small, live pinfish do the trick.
Nice size mutton snapper and very large black grouper hang on the deeper wrecks and artificial reefs during August. The Marathon area sees muttons up to 20 pounds this time of year, although the majority are in the 12- to 14-pound class. Live ballyhoo, pinfish or cigar minnows are the baits of choice.
Nighttime fishing for mangroves
Anglers looking to beat the heat choose nighttime fishing at the reef for mangrove snapper. It generally takes no time at all to limit out. Live pinfish or pilchards will attract the largest of the species.
The dolphin are dodging the midday heat too. The bite is best at sunrise or toward evening. In the heat of the day, it pays to troll offshore with downriggers as most of the fish are hanging in the 70- to 100-foot depths.
Just in time for Shark Week, huge schools of toothy critters maraud the shallow grass flats and banks in Florida Bay. The waters are calm, but the sharks are anything but tranquil.
Shallow-water catch-and-release shark fishing is an extraordinary experience for anglers of all ages and abilities. It is quite a thrill to wrangle a seven-foot lemon or bull shark on 20-pound spin tackle. The sharks tend to come in groups. In a typical four-hour shark adventure, we will catch and release upwards of 15 fish.
August is perhaps best known for the opening of lobster season. Marathon welcomes buggers from near and far to take the plunge with their nets and tickle sticks. Along with your mask, fins, snorkel and gloves, don’t forget the dive flag.
Lobstering is 100% fun as long as you mind the regulations and are mindful of others while on the water. Remember, Monroe County has its own set of regulations, which you can find by clicking here.
Capt. Chris Johnson is a member of the Yamaha National Fishing Team and specializes in offshore, reef/wreck, gulf/bay, shark and tarpon fishing with SeaSquared Charters out of the 7 Mile Marina in Marathon. You can reach him at 305.743.5305, SeaSquared@bellsouth.net and www.SeaSquared-Charters.com.