Marathon & Florida Keys Weekly Fishing Report – Sep 23, 2011 – dolphin & snapper

Drop everything and go dolphin fishing!

In the Middle Keys, it’s been all about the weed line for fantastic dolphin fishing.  The line has been hanging anywhere from 10 to 15 miles out and, in some spots, it’s nearly half a mile wide.

That much real estate enables you to troll down one side of the weed line, catch plenty of fish, come through the weeds and troll your way toward home, catching new fish the entire time.

Wahoo and tripletail

There are lots of wahoo and tripletail in the same weed areas.  The bigger the weed patch, the more likely it is to hold fish.

The wahoo are not very large, with most in the five- to ten-pound range.  Still some of the best eating fish you’ll ever have.  When they’re as plentiful as they are right now, it doesn’t hurt to take a couple of the wee-hoos home for dinner.

The most successful strategy for dolphin and wahoo has been trolling small lures down the edges of the weed line, although rigged ballyhoo are also working.

If no dolphin show but you pick up a few almaco jack or rainbow runners, it pays to come back through trolling a deep diving plug to get the wahoo that may be present.  I’ve been using a Yo-zuri hybrid in dolphin colors.  Jet heads rigged with wire and trolled on a drail to keep the bait down in the water column will also work.

The tripletail are hanging on buckets and pieces of wood among the weeds and are taking any small baits.  Some Captains are finding small pinfish work best for the largest of the fish.

Yellowtail snapper

The yellowtail bite remains good on the reef anywhere from the patches to 100 feet deep.  Start deep and if the sharks are getting all the ‘tails or the larger fish aren’t cooperating, work your way up shallower until you can get them in the boat.

Mutton snapper and amberjack

There have been reports of more mutton snapper and medium size amberjack on the deeper wrecks.  Plus, kingfish and some very large cero mackerel are showing on the wrecks as well as the reef.

Mangrove snapper

In the bay, the mangrove snapper bite has gotten quite good now that the spawn is over and the waters are beginning to cool slightly.  This fishery will improve with each passing week into the fall.

Sea trout

There are still some nice trout located around the grass banks in the Middle Keys.  Both the mangroves and the trout are being taken primarily on shrimp, with the largest snappers responding to small pinfish and live ballyhoo.

The week’s best catches

This week the SeaSquared did nothing but shark fishing.  Not that we mind!  We love showing our guests the awesomeness of these amazing creatures.

The Pittham family came all the way from England, and the Orton family traveled from Utah to match wits with these crafty fish.

Also, David Wilcher and Richard Scudder spent a day snapper fishing followed by shark fishing … what we call Dinner and a Show.

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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