As the winds continue to blow, most fishing is taking place on the nearshore areas.
But those who could get out oceanside this week saw a noticeable increase in the numbers of dolphin (mahi mahi). I’m not saying it’s a ball of fire, but there are more coming back to the docks than earlier in the month. Most of the dolphin activity is near the reef in 150 to 300 feet of water, with frigate birds pointing the way to the schools of fish.
There are scattered sailfish around, although the action has tapered off since weeks prior. The bite isn’t over but has slowed considerably. And plenty of blackfin tuna are still at the humps. Live-baiting is the method of choice for the biggest fish in the 10- to 20-pound class.
The wrecks have great action for amberjack and good-size mutton snapper. There’s also very nice grouper on the same wrecks. It’s important to release them quickly so they don’t float away lifeless.
The reef bite is very good, especially for larger yellowtail snapper, fish in the 18- to 20-inch range. And there are plenty of flags to keep the fishing interesting.
These fish are getting ready to spawn, so make sure you’re using loads of chum to keep their interest. We supplement our frozen chum blocks with YellowtailUp from Aquatic Nutrition. Ask for it at your local tackle shop or look for it online.
Tarpon fishing is picking up around the bridges. Live mullet, pinfish or crabs are your baits of choice, depending on where you’re fishing. If you don’t know how to get your own mullet, shoot us an email at email@example.com and we will put you in contact with our provider.
The bridges also provide excellent shark fishing. If you’ve ever dreamed of catching a large hammerhead or bull, now’s your time. Some of these beasts come in at 15 feet and 400-plus pounds. So you’ll need large baits to attract this interest, such as jack crevalle. And, your tackle needs to be at lease 30-pound class.
In the same areas, you’ll find lemon, blacktip and spinner sharks. These can be caught on lighter gear.
In Florida Bay, there’s good fishing for mangrove snappers on the banks and shallower wrecks. Use pinfish or shrimp. And further out in the Gulf, you’ve got your pick of bluefish, jacks, Goliath grouper, cobia, permit and snappers.
The week’s best
The SeaSquared boats entertained numerous Spring Break groups for excellent nearshore fishing for snappers, sharks and more fun-catching fish. Capt. Alex Bell took the Murphy group, from South Florida, tarpon fishing at the Seven Mile Bridge and they landed three of six fish hooked.
Capt. Chris Johnson specializes in offshore, gulf/bay, reef/wreck, sailfish, shark and tarpon fishing with SeaSquared Charters, docked at Faro Blanco Resort and Yacht Club in Marathon. You can reach him at (305) 743-5305, http://SeaSquaredCharters.com and http://Facebook.com/MarathonFishing.