We had quite a bit of wind over the last several days, which restricted most boats to inshore fishing.
Yellowtail snappers are still the stars on the reef. The bite remains very good in 40 to 60 feet of water, with plenty of fish in the 14- to 18-inch range. The occasional mangrove snapper plus a fair number of mutton snappers are biting in the shallows, as well.
The mutton snapper population increases daily on the wrecks in the 100- to 250-foot depths. In these same areas, there's also the occasional grouper and plenty of jacks -- amberjacks, jack crevalles and almaco jacks. And we're seeing great quantities of cero mackerel on the patch reef yellowtail spots. These are some really large fish in the 10- to 12-pound class.
Early this week, Capt. Jimmy Gagliardini of High Caliber Charters in Marathon had some hearty anglers who braved the sporty seas to get offshore. Twenty miles out, they found good weed lines loaded with smallish dolphin, fish up to about 20 pounds. We've also had reports of blackfin tuna at the humps. These fish are ranging from five to 10 pounds.
On the bayside, there's excellent catch-and-release fishing for sharks, primarily lemons this time of year. This is an excellent option on breezy days when you can't get oceanside or if you're just looking to pull on big, toothy critters for some fun fishing.
The SeaSquared boats spent the week fishing the reef and wrecks, where our anglers caught yellowtails, big mangroves, muttons and black grouper. We also had a couple of shark trips, with double-digit numbers of big lemon sharks landed and released unharmed.
Capt. Chris Johnson specializes in offshore, gulf/bay, reef/wreck, sailfish, shark and tarpon fishing with SeaSquared Charters in Marathon. You can reach him at (305) 743-5305, http://SeaSquaredCharters.com and http://Facebook.com/MarathonFishing.