The story remains the same this week, folks. The reef is where it’s at.
There’s an excellent mixed bag of snappers and groupers on the main reef line and the patches.
It’s mostly yellowtails, with the occasional mutton, with no depth outperforming another. But, typically, the bigger yellowtails are coming from the deeper edge of the reef. There are scattered kings, but nothing to speak of yet.
Up on the patch reefs, there are snappers galore, including yellowtails, lanes, mangroves and nice muttons. Grouper are there as well. Although most are shorts, there are some nice reds and keeper-size blacks beginning to show.
Sailfish are making more of an appearance every day, mostly from the reef edge out to about 120 feet of water. They’re looking to make a meal out of the ballyhoo that are prevalent in those areas.
Obviously, live ballyhoo is your bait of choice right now. But, if you can’t acquire ballyhoo for some reason, the sailfish will readily eat pilchards as well.
Mixed in with the sailfish have been cobias, some kingfish, increasing numbers of blackfin tuna and even dolphin. We need another cold front to chill the northern waters before we will see the really good kingfish action.
On the wrecks and rough bottom areas, the mutton snapper bite is quite good, with the fish averaging 12 to 15 pounds. There are a few amberjacks mixed in for rod-bending fun. Pinfish and pilchards are the way to go.
Around the bridges and out in the bay, there are plenty of mangroves, a smattering of Spanish mackerel and lots of blacktip, spinner and bull sharks for fun.
The week’s best
Great snapper action on the reef this week for the guests on the SeaSquared boats. And, when the wind was blowing, our Captains found a good bite at the bridges. Groupers, cobia and sharks spiced the catches.
Free fishing seminars
Capt. Chris Johnson will host a series of free fishing seminars at the Hyatt Place/Faro Blanco this season. The monthly series kicks off December 6 with the topic Reef Top to Bottom. It runs from 6:30 to 8:30 pm and there will be prizes and giveaways.
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.