We’re happy to say goodbye to January and all its winds. And we’re looking forward to a February with a greater number of fishable days.
The 28th annual Cheeca Lodge Presidential Sailfish Tournament took place over the weekend, with 130 sails released over two days of fishing despite rather sporty conditions. Keep in mind, these are primarily tournament professionals, not recreational anglers, who know how to handle rough seas. We had just a brief window of opportunity to fish Sunday to Tuesday and even then, we stuck to the bridge and Hawk Channel, where we picked away at snappers and yellowjacks.
The good news is calming conditions are predicted starting Friday. So take the next couple of days to respool your reels and restock your tackle boxes because you’ll want to be ready.
Fishing on the reef for yellowtail snappers should be very good. And just off the reef edge, we should find sailfish plus kingfish and blackfin tuna, all biting with regularity.
For those who want to stay closer to shore, Hawk Channel has come to life with its usual variety of snappers, mackerels and throw-back groupers and hogfish.
The week’s best
The SeaSquared boats stuck to the calm waters at the Seven Mile Bridge and in Hawk Channel on the couple of days the winds allowed us to get out. Our guests are enjoying excellent fishing for all the snapper and mackerel species, amberjacks and jack crevalles, with sharks thrown in for some catch-and-release fun. They also threw back a bunch of keeper-size groupers and hogfish.
Capt. Kevin Wilson of Knee Deep Charters out of the Geiger Key Marina continues to put his anglers on limits of flag yellowtails and large kingfish, with sharks adding to the fun. One group had a rare sighting of a 12-foot tiger shark.
Capt. Chris Johnson hosts a series of free fishing seminars at the Hyatt Place/Faro Blanco, mile marker 48 bayside, this season. The third in the monthly series takes place Feb. 6, with the topic “Yellowtailing 101.” 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.