Marathon Florida Keys Weekly Fishing Update, March 9, 2011
Shark Fishing in Money Key Channel
It was a quality weekend for kite flying, and the crew of the Reel Obsession made the most of it by releasing five sailfish to win the 13th Annual Leon Shell Memorial Sailfish Tournament in Key Colony Beach.
Congratulations to Capt. James Platt, mate Jamie Platt and anglers John Callion, Cody Darby, Norman Moore, Ely Hernandez and BJ Meyer on their stellar performance in challenging conditions.
There was a very good dolphin bite in the Middle Keys over the weekend and it continues this week. The Gulf Stream has pushed right up against the reef edge, making the dolphin well within range. Lots of heavy lifters and gaffers are being taken, with the largest I heard of going a solid 25 pounds.
Off the reef edge as well as on the reel line, there is still a good showing of king mackerel, with a wide variety of sizes from 5 to 50-plus pounds being caught with regularity.
Yellowtail, mutton and mangrove snapper
Anglers fishing the 35- to 50-foot depths on the reef are being rewarded with tasty yellowtail snapper. As mentioned last week, the largest fish are coming from the deepest water.
Good numbers of mutton and mangrove snapper are mixed in with the yellowtail. It pays to fish with a larger bait than used for the yellowtail to attract these larger snapper.
Action at the bridges
Mangrove snapper reigns supreme in the bay. As those waters settle, we should begin to see more cobia with each passing day. The Spanish mackerel are still biting. Get them while you can before they head north for the summer.
Back by popular demand, the 7 Mile Marina and Captain Hook’s Marina are hosting the 2nd Annual Florida Keys Grouper Tournament on May 1, 2011. Winners take all in rod-and-reel and spearfish divisions for red, black and gag grouper. Entry fee just $100 per boat up to 6 anglers, $50 for adult divers and $35 for junior divers.
The week’s best catches
Manitoba Canada Fire Marshall, Chris Jones, returned to fish with me on the SeaSquared and brought friends Monique Racine and Scott Ritzer. The trio was more interested in a show than dinner, so I put them on some monster, 7-foot-plus nurse sharks in Money Key Channel. They also managed to snag a few snapper away from the bull sharks.
Kirk and Kathy Falk, from Severna Park MD, spent part of their first trip to the Keys fishing with me in Hawk Channel and brought in a bunch of mangrove, yellowtail and lane snapper along with a 15-pound kingfish.