Snag the snapper from the sharks! Florida Keys Weekly Fishing Report – August 25, 2010

As the heat goes on, so does the fishing.

Florida Keys Weekly Fishing Report – Captain Chris Johnson, SeaSquared Charters – August 25, 2010

Tuna, wahoo and dolphin

Offshore, there’s a decent blackfin tuna bite, with the majority of fish a very respectable 8 to 10 pounds.  A couple of charter captains report losing their tuna to wahoo this week.

Wahoo are patrolling the areas around the humps in search of a tuna meal.  Attach a 5- or 6-inch trace of wire to your trolling lure with just enough length forward of the lure to fasten your swivel and mono leader.  This will make the wire invisible to the tuna, yet prevent losing the wahoo.

All reports of dolphin catches have come from captains trolling for tuna at the humps.  I’ve had numerous reports of floaters with no dolphin but plenty of wahoo, which are always worth the effort to catch, as they are great grill fare.


Inshore, the snapper bite is outstanding, with just one drawback.  There are massive numbers of sharks having the same attraction to a tasty snapper dinner as we have. 

To avoid or outrun the sharks, I recommend upgrading your tackle.  Switch to 20-pound fluorocarbon and swap your main line for 15- to 20-pound test.  You may be able to out-reel the sharks before they get their mouth around the hapless snapper.  Depending on the water clarity and surface conditions, quite often this is the tactic for winning the battle and putting the largest flag yellowtail in the boat.


There are fair numbers of kingfish and some nice cero mackerel mixed in the yellowtail areas.  Live baits, such as ballyhoo or pinfish, will do the trick.


Grouper are lingering on the bottom but, again, the sharks are running interference.  It pays to leave the grouper fishing to the patch reefs where there are no toothy critters to confound you.

Patch reefs 

The patch reefs offer some excellent all-around snapper and grouper fishing right now.

There is plenty of high-quality mangrove snapper plus keeper size yellowtail snapper.  As for the grouper, you will find mostly reds, but there are also gags and the occasional black.  Cero mackerel are spicing catches as well.  Your baits of choice on these shallow reefs are live pinfish and small grunts. 

Wide variety in the bay 

It appears some of the mangrove snapper are beginning their trek back into the bay.  With each passing day, we’re seeing more and more keeper size mangroves on the grass banks and shallow water wrecks, plus a few around the bridges.

In the bay and gulf areas, there’s a plethora of fun fishing happening with snapper of all variety, goliath grouper, Spanish mackerel, bluefish, ladyfish, jack crevalle and all manner of sharks.  All provide great sport on light tackle for anglers of all ages and abilities.

The week in review with SeaSquared Charters

It was all about lobster and sharks last week on the SeaSquared.

Kevin Jackson and his teenage son, Zack, from Tampa, enjoyed a combo snapper/shark charter.  After putting their limit of mangroves, a couple of yellowtail and a porgie in the fish box, we headed to the shark grounds.  They landed 7 of the 11 sharks they hooked.  All were released unharmed.  A very toothy barracuda added to the action.

Visiting from Spain, Peter Akesson treated his sons, Oliver and Alex, to their own shark fishing adventure.  We had numerous sharks swarming around the boat, and the boys went 2 for 2 on lemons up to nearly 8 feet in length.  As always, the sharks were released unharmed.

Note: SeaSquared Charters practices 100% catch-and-release shark fishing using circle hooks and Baker HookOut Tools.

We spent two days lobstering with friends.  Got our limit on both outings.  This year has been nothing short of spectacular for recreational harvesting of Florida Keys spiny lobster!  The good news is … it’s been equally excellent for the commercial lobstermen.  They deserve a great year after last year’s mediocre harvest and dismal market prices.

They say hogfish are tough to catch on hook and line, but fairly easy to spear.  Alex Bell found a new way … just tickle ’em into your lobster net!

Until next week …. Tight Lines!

Captain Chris Johnson, SeaSquared Charters, Marathon Florida Keys, 305-743-5305


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