Summertime and the fishing’s easy!
Whether you’re looking to fill your dinner plate or your trophy wall – or both – the waters off Marathon offer abundant opportunities during June.
Snapper and grouper on the reef
On the reef, the snapper fishing is prime during June, as these fish are at the height of their spawning season. Flag yellowtail snapper plus large mutton and mangrove snapper are thick and aggressive.
When it comes to snapper fishing, “He with the most chum wins.” Chum flows at a rapid pace in the 80-plus-degree water, so you need plentiful amounts to get and keep the snappers feeding in your slick.
Once you’ve attracted the snappers, use fresh baits, such as ballyhoo, blue runners or live shrimp. Frozen baits will work as well – ballyhoo, silversides or glass minnows. The snappers are in such a frenzy, they aren’t terribly fussy about the bait, but it pays to have a variety available so as to appeal to their preference of the day.
During June, the wrecks and artificial reefs hold outsized mutton and amberjack along with hefty black and red grouper.
For the grouper, large live baits, such as blue runners, grunts or large pinfish, will do the trick. Be sure to be equipped with stout tackle as some of these fish approach 40 to 50 pounds and requite quite a bit of muscle to get them out of the reef before they break you off.
Night snapper fishing
June marks the start of the night mangrove snapper bite. Thousands of mangroves amass on the deeper edge of the reef for their annual spawn, and they bite at night at a feverish pitch. Most weigh in at two to four pounds, with a few tipping the scale at eight pounds. They can’t resist live baits or chunks of ballyhoo drifted back in the chum slick.
Dolphin, tuna and wahoo offshore
Trolling offshore and at the humps elicits arm-wrenching contests with dolphin, blackfin tuna and wahoo. All of these fish pour through the Florida Straits this time of year.
Other techniques work as well for these pelagic species. Keep a lookout for any kind of floating debris that will undoubtedly hold dolphin and wahoo. And, try butterfly jigging at the humps for blackfin tuna.
Game fishing for sharks
If you missed tarpon season, sharks will fulfill your desire to pull on some really big fish.
Shallow-water shark fishing on light tackle is great sport for anglers of all ages and abilities. Double-digit landings of lemon, blacktip and bull sharks are quite common in a four-hour adventure. These fish range from five to eight feet in length and offer up a good fight and nice show at the side of the boat. This fishing is strictly for game, with all sharks released unharmed.
SeaSquared Charters Marathon Florida Keys 305-743-5305
Capt. Chris Johnson is a member of the Yamaha National Fishing Team and specializes in offshore, sailfish, reef/wreck, gulf/bay, shark and tarpon fishing. He and his wife, Christy, own and operate SeaSquared Charters out of Porky’s Bayside Restaurant and Marina in Marathon. You can reach them at 305-743-5305, https://seasquaredcharters.com and http://Facebook.com/MarathonFishing.