Marathon & Florida Keys Weekly Fishing Report – Sep 2, 2011 – dolphin, snapper, mackerel, sharks

Yellowtail and mangrove snapper

The action on the reef remains the same as the last couple of weeks.  Yellowtail snapper are biting well, with the largest fish coming off the deeper areas.

Lots of chum is required to attract their attention and keep them behind the boat.  As the saying goes, “He with the most chum wins.”

On the shallow reef areas and patches, mangrove snapper is your best shot.  Mixed in are plenty of keeper size yellowtails, fish in the 12- to 13-inch range.  So, if the mangroves aren’t cooperating, you’ll still go home with something tasty for dinner.

King and cero mackerel

There are more kingfish showing up everyday among the cero mackerel on the reef.  They’re taking live ballyhoo presented back behind your snapper baits.

This time of year, the mackerel can be a bit wire-shy, so use the smallest pound test wire you feel you can get away with.  If they still won’t attack your live baits, try going to 60-pound fluorocarbon leaders with a long shank hook.


On the wrecks, there has been a bunch of nice size amberjack in the 40- to 60-pound class.  Large live baits, such a blue runners and grunts, do the trick.

Butterfly jigging also works well for the AJs, but be sure not to work them too high in the water column as the mackerel will most likely cut you off.

Dolphin, tuna and wahoo

Right now, our playing field is offering up a dolphin bite that kicked up a notch with the increased winds we felt from Irene.  There are plenty of shoolies plus some good size gaffers.

While trolling weed lines in search of dolphin, it pays to have one lure dropped way back to entice a bite from blackfin tuna.  As always, don’t overlook the opportunity to snag the wahoo that may be hanging around any floating debris.

Mangrove snapper and sharks

As always, there are plenty of mangrove snapper in the bay, with large sharks to make your outing interesting.

The week’s best catches

Hurricane Irene kept many of our clients scheduled to fish with us stuck at home.  Combined with the effects of back-to-school, we had a pretty quiet week.

However, the SeaSquared did host two families for shark fishing adventures, a couple from California for a trip to the reef and a family from Illinois for Dinner and a Show.

Thane Forthman, from Simpsonville SC, treated his teenage son, Jake, to two shark fishing adventures with us on the SeaSquared.  On their first trip, the duo caught 16 lemon sharks, with the largest at 7” 3”.  The goal for the second trip was to land a larger one.  Mission accomplished with Jake’s 7’ 5” lemon, which Thane is having mounted by Gray Taxidermy.  Nice trophy of a great father-son fishing trip!

Visiting from Carlsbad CA, Mark and Laura Wesselmann had a great day on the reef with us.  Being selective in what they kept with a self-imposed size limit, the pair came back to the dock with a nice bunch of 15-inch yellowtails and a bonus three-pound mangrove.

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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