Marathon Florida Keys Monthly Fishing Forecast – December 2011

‘Tis the season for mackerel in Marathon and the Middle Keys.

King, Spanish and cero mackerel are here in abundance this time of year, and they’re all prime for the smoker.  Here in south Florida, you’re likely to get more gifts from Santa if you leave him a nice serving of smoked fish dip rather than cookies!

The kingfish average anywhere from 10 to 20 pounds, with some smokers weighing in at 40 pounds.  The Spanish and cero mackerel run two to four pounds, with the occasional larger specimen pushing eight pounds or more.  All of the mackerel are consistently caught on both the Atlantic and Gulf sides, and the usual tactics work for these toothy speedsters.

Click to learn how to brine and smoke fish SeaSquared style, along with our smoked fish dip recipe.

December is also the season for sailfish.

Every cold front that passed through in November brought with it another wave of sailfish to take up residence off the edge of the reef.  Now that it’s December, it’s all about chasing sails as they spray ballyhoo in 20 to 30 feet of water.

There’s nothing more exciting than watching frigate birds working the surface of the water as the hapless ballyhoo are pushed skyward by the marauding sailfish.  The absolute best bait this month is live ballyhoo, although pilchards also work at times.

The reef bite continues to be dependable during December.

Yellowtail and mutton snapper are plentiful on the deeper reef and you can add mangrove snapper to the mix on the shallower patch reefs and in Hawk Channel.

Remember … December is your last opportunity to catch your 2011 grouper as the season is closed January through April.

The channel humps are coming to life with loads of mackerel, snapper of all variety, some good keeper grouper and, most recently, lots of jack crevalle.

Windy day options in the Bay and Gulf.

On the Gulf side of the islands of the Middle Keys, cobia, gag grouper, mangrove snapper and, as mentioned above, mackerel all provide steady action on the wrecks 15 to 50 miles offshore.

The crew at SeaSquared Charters would like to thank you for reading our articles throughout the year and wish you a joyous holiday season filled with family, friends and fishing!

Click for more information about Marathon Fishing

Capt. Chris and Christy Johnson
SeaSquared Charters
Marathon Florida Keys

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