The eight-month regular lobster season is now in full swing. Recreational catches have been OK for some and great for others, but the consensus among harvesters is this year surpasses last, but not by much.
If you choose to try your luck, be cautious of the new commercial lobster gear in the water as well as other divers, especially around the bridges. And you may want to check with your local dive shop for their recommendations for the most productive areas.
As for the fishing, there’s been a flurry of dolphin activity offshore. You need to pick through lots of short fish to get keepers, but they’re there. I’ve also had reports of schools of gaffer-size fish, mostly under birds or debris, so don’t give up the search too quickly.
The wrecks are producing decent numbers of mutton snappers in the eight- to 10-pound range. And there are loads of amberjacks and jack crevalles to test your mettle.
There have even been some nice black groupers lurking on the wrecks. They’re eating large live baits, such as bluerunners and grunts, meant for the AJs. Some of these have hit the 30-pound mark.
The main action on the reef remains the yellowtail and mangrove snappers. Areas in the 20- to 50-foot depths contain the best action. Remember, copious amounts of chum are required this time of year as the fish are very hungry due to their spawning mode.
The week’s best
The SeaSquared boats continue to take advantage of the fast action on the reef, with our guests putting limit catches of mangrove snappers together.
Yellowtails, muttons, amberjacks, jack crevalles and yellowjacks rounded out the catches, with a few bonus groupers in the mix. Our lobster hunters had fun while bringing back a few spinys for a tasty meal. And many of our groups chose our Fun Day Charter where they combine fishing, swimming and snorkeling.
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.