Marathon Florida Keys Weekly Fishing Report – Aug 19, 2011 – snapper, dolphin, tuna, sharks

Dolphin slows while tuna grows.

What had been a very good dolphin bite over the weekend seems to have petered out the last couple of days, according to the most recent reports I’ve received from charter captains.

Taking up the slack is blackfin tuna at the humps.  The majority of the tuna are in the 10- to 15-pound class.  However, there have been sightings of extremely large blackfins busting the surface on the huge amounts of bait under the weeds.

Snapper on the reef

On the reef, the average size of the yellowtail snapper has increased a bit, with lots of fish in the 15- to 18-inch range.  The best action is on the deep edge of the reef in 80 to 90 feet of water.

There are still plenty of mangrove snapper in the 40- to 60-foot depths on the reef.  So, if yellowtailing isn’t paying off for you, move up shallower and try for the mangroves.  They are equally as delicious and will surprise you with their fight.

As always, copious amounts of chum are key to arousing the interest of the snappers.  Small baits, such as ballyhoo pieces and silversides, work for the yellowtails, while larger chunks of ballyhoo and small pinfish do the trick for the mangroves.

There have been good numbers of ballyhoo showing up in the snapper slicks, so be sure to have a cast net or hair hooks along to catch this prized baitfish.  Put them out with a small piece of wire on a short shank 1/0 or 2/0 live bait hook and cero or king mackerel will give you a good run for your efforts.

Mangroves and sharks in the bay

In Florida Bay, lobster divers report more and larger mangrove snappers.  And, I’ve seen plentiful amounts of 15- to 16-inch mangroves in the areas I’ve been shark fishing.

Speaking of sharks, lemons in the 5- to 7-foot class have been biting aggressively in the clear, shallow areas of Florida Bay.  It’s quite the spectacle to observe the sharks interacting with one another near the boat and then hook one and reel it in for a photo opp and safe release.

The week’s best catches

Despite some stormy summer weather and an emergency lower unit repair, we got in all but two scheduled charters this week.

The SeaSquared hosted families and friends for snapper fishing on the reef, dolphin fishing offshore as well as catch-and-release shark fishing in Florida Bay.

Click here to read all the reports.  Click on the links for more information and pictures.

Until next week … tight lines!

Capt. Chris and Christy Johnson
SeaSquared Charters
Marathon Florida Keys

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