Captain Chris Johnson, SeaSquared Charters, Marathon Florida Keys, January 5, 2011
It’s a new year filled with great fishing options throughout the Florida Keys.
Ballyhoo is just about always the preferred bait for sailfish, but they’ve been scarce in the Middle Keys. Luckily, pilchards are doing the job.
Mutton Snapper, Amberjack, Kingfish
The yellowtail action remains consistent on the reef in 35 to 50 feet of water. There are abundant large mangrove snapper in the same areas. The usual assortment of fresh and frozen cut baits work for the yellowtail. For the mangroves, use small pinfish, pilchards or shrimp presented on the bottom.
All variety of mackerel
Seven Mile Bridge
There has been an outstanding mangrove snapper bite at the Seven Mile Bridge. As the water temperatures continue to warm in the bay, that fishing will improve in all areas. The best baits are shrimp, small pilchards and cut baits.
The Spanish mackerel are thick six to eight miles from shore on the bayside of the islands. Choose shrimp or small buck tails.
The SeaSquared has spent Christmas week fishing the bay wrecks, Seven Mile Bridge, channel humps, reef and patch reefs.
Scott Douglas and his sons Andrew and Christopher returned to fish with me and we hit the channel humps and the reef. Chris caught his first hogfish and first sheepshead. The trio also got their limit of yellowtails, large mangroves, cero and Spanish mackerel.
The near shore wrecks in the bay delivered limits of mangrove snapper, some lanes, a couple of grouper and lots of Spanish mackerel for the Boeykens family from Fremont CA, the Coddou family from Houston and the Sutton family from Boone NC.
Jerry Moore returned with his crew from Eastern PA. We fished the patch reefs and brought back lane, mangrove and yellowtail snapper, Florida pompano and Spanish mackerel.
On the windiest of the days, the Seven Mile Bridge was the go-to spot for the Connell family from Oconomowoc WI and the Landinger family from Greer SC. They all returned to the dock with sore arms and loads of mangrove snapper to enjoy at local restaurants.