If you've been in town a few days, you may have noticed it's a bit windy. And while it’s kept us at the dock for a couple of days, typically a blow like this is very good for stirring up the fish. So once we're back out toward the end of the week, we should have good catching.
On the reef, fishing for yellowtail snapper has been quite good, especially in the deeper, 50- to 80-foot areas. There are plenty of fish in the 14- to 16-inch class, with some flags mixed in.
Mingled among the 'tails in the snapper slicks have been five- to 10-pound muttons plus some rather large mangroves in the five- to seven-pound category. Live baits such as pinfish or ballyhoo are your best bet.
And the reef is still home to good numbers of grouper. Larger baits such as bluerunners and grunts work best, but large pinfish also work well.
A little further out on the wrecks, the mutton snapper and amberjack action has been very good, with pinfish and live ballyhoo working best. We've also seen a fair amount of African pompano prior to the winds. And there are nice black grouper to be had by those willing to put in the time with large, live baits.
The dolphin fishing was on a definite upswing prior to the current weather situation. With no one getting offshore lately, we will just have to wait until things calm down to see how it is.
Where to find the dolphin, as well as their size, had been inconsistent. They were anywhere from as close as 10n miles all the way out to 30 miles and beyond, with weeds and debris being the only common denominators. And it was a complete mix in sizes, from schoolies to slammers.
The offshore action had included plenty of blackfin tuna at the humps, with the largest fish holding very deep, 250 to 300 feet. If that's still the case, butterfly jigs are the way to go.
For those with the equipment and the knowhow, fishing for swordfish is productive and the weather is perfect.
The week's best
The SeaSquared boats stuck to inshore fishing for the most part last week. On the reef, our captains put our anglers on yellowtails, mangroves, black and gag groupers, and the wrecks were productive big muttons and amberjacks. We also did several trips to the bay, where the shark bite is red-hot for large lemons. Catch-and-release only, of course.
Under the tutelage of Capt. Chuck Brodzki, Mike Samel from Montreal caught three tarpon, including one particular tough 85-pounder that took 141 minutes to capture. Upon releasing the fish, Mike collapsed on the bow and issued strict instructions to take his aching body back to the hotel.
On a separate outing with Brodzki, brothers-in-law Jamie Praser and Adam Paul from Atlanta caught three tarpon up to 60 pounds -- and lost eight others -- in an action-packed new moon evening trip.
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.