The dolphin apparently are not paying attention to the calendar. What should be excellent, consistent fishing is actually sporadic.
Three days of banner dolphin fishing is typically followed by five days of getting skunked. The good news is that when you find them, there are lots of nice slammer-size fish. The hard part is finding the dolphin.
We haven’t had much sargasso weed in the area so any lone piece of floating debris is holding fish. Small groups of terns or frigate birds working the water surface are currently good indicators of dolphin.
On the upside, the blackfin tuna bite around the humps has been very good. Large quantities of fish in the five- to 10-pound class are being taken both trolling and jigging.
The Atlantic wrecks are producing good numbers of mutton snapper along with amberjack. And there have been some nice black grouper taken around the artificial reefs. Pinfish is the bait of choice for all of these.
Fishing for yellowtail snappers on the reef remains quite productive. There are plenty of fish in the 14- to 18-inch category, with some spots holding large flags. The deeper 60- to 90-foot depths are producing the best action. These deeper reef venues also contain plenty of black grouper, some amberjack plus mutton and mangrove snapper mixed in with the yellowtails.
There’s still a smattering of tarpon to be caught at the bridges and passes for those willing to work at it. As always, check with your local bait shop for best success at the spot you plan to fish.
Bayside, there’s decent mangrove snapper action plus copious amounts of sharks.
The week’s best catches
Inshore last week the SeaSquared boats put our anglers on yellowtail, mangrove and mutton snappers, groupers and amberjacks. Offshore, we picked away at dolphin and tuna. And in the bay, the catch-and-release shark fishing was nothing short of stellar.
Under the guidance of Capt. Chuck Brodzki, college-bound Zack Blumer from Canton, Ohio, caught his first tarpon using a juicy blue crab on 20-pound spin tackle. The 110-pound fish dragged the skiff over two miles and fought for 41 minutes on a flat off Long Key.
On another night, the father-son fishing team of Dave and Matt Smith from Galveston, Texas, fought a succession of tarpon, landing three, with the biggest at 100 pounds.
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.