There is a distinct upsurge in the sailfish action. The hard easterly winds we experienced on Sunday and Monday made for prime tailing conditions.
Although the winds were expected to subside today, don't think the sailfish aren't still out there. Find an edge, set out a spread of live baits such as pilchards, ballyhoo or goggle eyes, and you should see some action.
Offshore, the dolphin numbers are increasing steadily, with quality-size fish in the 10- to 20-pound range. Most are found under frigate birds and floating debris.
While you're working that floater, be on the lookout for keeper-size tripletail. These can be caught on chunks of ballyhoo or shrimp on a jighead and make a tasty addition to your cooler full of dolphin. There have been a few wahoo found on under the same debris.
On the reef, the yellowtail snapper bite remains good, with activity at all depth ranges. There are nice cero mackerel mixed in along with the occasional keeper-size mutton snapper and some mangrove snappers.
The grouper bite has been excellent, most likely because they know what date it is (or isn't). Just a couple more weeks until grouper season opens on May 1, and we will be able to keep them.
The Atlantic wrecks are offering lots of amberjack action plus pretty good fishing for permit. The amberjack take any live baits, while the permit prefer crabs.
Along with tax day typically come the tarpon. True to form, that action is intensifying at the bridges. Depending on which bridge you're fishing, the baits will vary from live mullet to live pinfish to live crabs. If you're unsure which to take with you, check with your local bait shop.
The week's best
The SeaSquared boats have been doing a lot of shark fishing, with large lemons and bulls being landed and released by our clients. On the reef, it’s been all about the yellowtails, with muttons, mangroves and hogfish mixed in. And lots of groupers sent back reluctantly. And a few of our anglers have done battle with large, stubborn amberjacks.
Ross Linder and Abbey Letts from Atlanta spent a day fishing the backcountry with Capt. Chuck Brodzki. They caught a pile of tripletails, mangroves and ladyfish. Abbey masterfully fought and landed a monster, 220-pound lemon shark.
It was a fantastic trip to the reef for Jaime and Michael Redding from Kansas City, Mo., along with father-in-law Barrett Holder. They fished with Capt. Kevin Wilson of Knee Deep Charters out of the Geiger Key Marina and caught their limit of yellowtails. Michael wanted to catch something big, so a released of a 20-pound amberjack and a 200-pound lemon shark were just what he ordered.
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.