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Marathon Grouper 12/22

Had a repeat trip and he wanted to only target Groupers. He brought fresh speedos and we loaded up the World Cat with ice, bait and gear. Headed out NE to the spot we hit last time with good success. When we pulled up the sounder had good marks and we dropped the anchor.  The first two attempts the boat would not stop in right area.  A couple of times we had to reset before it even grabbed hold.  Finally, after 5 or 6 attempts we land in right spot.

Joe gets set up and drops a speedo down and I set up to bring some live bait in. He gets hammed but can’t stop the fish, first of many break offs. Joe gets hammered several more times, half by jew fish half by sharks. We can’t seem to win, so after taking a beating we move on to another spot.

This one looks good and anchor hits the right spot on the first time. Sounder lights up and Joe drops. It doesn’t take long and we a hooked up. Joe has got another tank on and gets rocked up. I am dropping for live bait and reeling them in. Every drop we are getting hammered. Joes next hook up he gets its head turned and success first black to the boat but 2” short. Next is my turn, not as big a fight but a nice size Rock Hind. Joe get nailed again and right into the rocks. We go back and forth, both sides of the boat are hot. Next my little accurate get slammed but I was able to wench it out of the rocks and put a nice 15lb black in the box. Joe then gets hooked up with a nice snapper. We battle threw the breaks off and end up with a Flag YT, nice mutton, huge schoolmaster, Rock Hind and Black. For ref the YT is 19”

Great day out of Marathon

 

 

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Dec 19 HST tuna

Left the dock at 2:30 for a quick stop on the reef and then some high speed trolling.

Went to a grouper spot and sounder had good marks so we dropped anchor. Threw out some chum and cut bait. Had several cut offs on the YT rig, switched to wire and no more bites. Soon after we got there the current stopped so we picked up and headed offshore. Set up 2 rods in 210’ and headed west towards 280.  Made the turn and 280 and when we got to 250 the left reel is screaming. This is basically a solo trip with 2 novice anglers so boat is on auto pilot as I get them set up to battle this fish. After the first run we start making headway while I am reeling in the other line. I get the gaff ready and start had lining the shock leader. Something does not feel right – this is coming in too easy.

Get it to the boat and I see why, it is a BFT no a wahoo. First time I have caught a tuna doing 16kts.

It was a short but nice day as it was there first tuna.

 

Another great day fishing in Marathon

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Dec 17th Reef

Sunday is the reef day and we started out by putting some pilchards in the livewell. Loaded with good looking bait we headed to some rocky grounds. Went to a couple spots and sounder was not showing much. Green water and no current was not helping to dial in a spot. We finally just set up on a nice ledge with a few marks and started chuming. Picked up a few short groupers and one keeper. We never had school of yellowtails show up but we picked at what we could including a couple of nice Ceros. With the bottom not cooperating we went out to the color change and tried drifting in the clean water. Freelined live pilchards and dropped one to the bottom. Drifted in two depths but didn’t get a strike. Plan C, we slow trolled the reef for kin  gs, cero or grouper while watching for new marks. Came across a good looking spot and dropped anchor again. This time we marked a lot of fish, so out goes the chum. Chubs and spade fish no yellowtail. Worked the area for a while and got small YT, small grouper and grunts. Ran out of time for plan D, so back to the dock.

 

Another great day of fishing in Marathon

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Dec 16th – Offshore

Had Saturday and Sunday scheduled with 2 great guys. Plan was one day offshore and one day on the reef.  Seas were a little rough but the World Cat can handle the nasty conditions. Saturday was the better of the two for going to the humps and when we arrived we had the place to ourselves. With the stream being south of us it set up a west current but the fish were still there. We trolled and jigged up several BFT and the bigger ones got taken by the tax man. We tried skipping them on the surface with a 50 wide to keep them away from the sharks. That would work unless you let up and then the sharks would bust the BFT on the surface like a bass plug. With plenty to eat and a couple of long battles with sharks it was time to hit the late afternoon troll.

Headed in to 240 and set up the troll looking for wahoo.  We trolled for miles and no hits on our spread of yo zuri bonita, big islander with fresh ballyhoo and a feather for BFT. We had pretty good water with occasional bay grass. We trolled 200 – 300 with little action. Finally the left rig goes off. Short burst but not the streaming reel of a wahoo bite. Todd grabs the rod and pulls in a nice Mahi. Put the spread back out and try a little closer in but the water gets dirty.

With the sun going down and lots of fish to clean I point the nose of the cat toward Sister Creek and head in.

Another great day of fishing in Marathon

 

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Dec 15th Humps

Quick trip to the humps few boats and no birds.
We trolled around and picked up several small BFTs.
The sharks seemed to get every nice sized one we hooked up.
Most from trolling feathers a couple were jigged up.


All the small ones you want to clean.

Another great day of fishing in Marathon

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Target Grouper – December 2nd

Had a trip with forum member HollywoodJoe and he wanted to target Groupers. He brought fresh speedos and we loaded up the World Cat with ice, bait and gear. Headed out NE to look for groupers and muttons. I had a few spots but have not spent much time on them since Irma.

Got to the first spot and the bottom looked good, sounder had good marks and we anchored in the right spot on the first time.  Got set up and put some chum on the bottom and the lines in the water. It started out slow – very slow, couldn’t even catch much on the chicken rig for bait. We worked this area hard because the bottom machine looked so good. Joe did hook up right away – twice, but pulled up 2 big nurse sharks. After working chuck bait, livies and chum with only a short mutton to show it was time to move.

Next spot next to a wreck and the bottom machine lights up. Anchored up and worked this area hard and only producing small YTs.

Move further west in 80’ of water with a small ledge, sounder looks good so we drop anchor. We drifted for 300’ before anchor grabbed and were not on the spot I wanted.

Pull anchor, try again and this time we hit the mark. Got the rods set up and start dropping bait. This area was slow and steady with plenty of bait coming on chicken rig. Joe is dropping fresh speedos and I am putting down live grunts. After about 15 minutes my crowder meat stick is bent over. Drag is locked down and I crank a fast as possible to keep away from tax man. Finally get a grouper to the surface and it is barely hooked. With that first one in the box Joe switches to live bait and not too long after he is hooked up. After several sharks and break offs this one feels like the right one. After a quick battle he pulls in a nice red grouper.  Now we got two in the box and it feels pretty good after all the sharks and snags.

A few drops later Joe gets hooked up again and it is heavy. He puts the heat on it and pulls up the biggest grouper of the day. The bite seemed to die off after that one but we were trying to the limit. It was a lot of work but the hot bite seemed to be in a 2 hour window. Picked up and headed toward sister creek. Love the way this cat eats the waves. We cruised out and back comfortably at 30mph. Back to the dock the clean boat, gear and fish. Target acquired and great day fishing with a good guy.

Another great day of fishing in Marathon

 

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Friday Dec 1st

With day full of things to get done I had a 3 hour window 1st thing in the morning for fishing. Just got some new trolling lures in and wanted to break them in. Out to 300′ to find good water and temp. Set out the spread and headed west with the wind. First hour was a lot of weeds and clearing lines. Water started getting better and I worked my way into 250′. Finally got a knock down on the long and brought a dinner sized BFT to the boat. Set up again and headed west more weeds
Found an area clear of weeds and after 20 min the wahoo lure on the right goes off. Right away I can see the mahi jumping. Not a wahoo but I will take any phins I can get in December.
Quick Trip but a couple of nice dinners both caught in 250′.

Fish are biting get out and enjoy

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Huge King and some reef action – 11-30

Had group of three looking to bend a rod and catch some reef fish.

This was another charter teamed up with Capt Harlan Trammell (Piner Wahoo) www.american-allegiance-charters.com . We run on my 32’ World Cat and he makes sure you keep on the fish.  This started out as a reef trip but with the full moon coming we wanted to try for a Wahoo. Left the dock at 7 am and headed east along shore to make it a little more comfortable. Turned south and did not find good blue water till about 350’.  Set up the spread and turned with the wind. Trolled back and forth from 350 to 200’ and the water got better as we went west. There were lots of weeds (gulf grass) running north and south. Found a temp change around 250’ with good color and finally got a knock down. Was not the hoo we were looking for but a black fin tuna in the box.

This group also wanted to do some reef fishing so 3 hours was our trolling limit. As we started turning toward shore and the left long went off. The fish did not put up much of a fight and it turned out to be a Spanish mac in 250’ of water. Started back to reef and left the lures out looking for a bonita. Wasn’t long before we had a fish on and it was fighting much different that a bonita. After a good battle Bill gets a huge king mac to the boat. Quick gaff and into the box.

Now to set up on the reef after we find some goods marks on a 65-75 drop-off.  Anchored up and started chumming. Drop a chicken rig down while waiting for the chum to disperse. Got a few behind the boat and we picked up some TY, porgy and pork fish. Wind was strong but the current was dying. Also dropped a live one down on bottom rod. Got rocked up and cut off several times. One time got the fish stopped and was slowly working it away from rocks. Good battle for about 10 min then the line broke. Acted like a big jew fish.

Time to clean the catch and the boat. Had a great day on the water with 3 new friends.

Another great day of fishing in Marathon

www.AOKCharters.com 

 

 

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Marathon reef – happy hour – Nov 8th

Had lots of onshore work and catch up for today but I wanted to check out the reef. Around 2pm loaded up and headed out looking for bait. Water still dirty can’t see patch reefs in 10’ of water. Anchored up on a spot that was 12’ dropping off to 30’ hoping for ballyhoo. Set up, put chum out and waited but no bait. Some hound fish and then yellow tails started showing up. Released several YTs and then one 13” one gets gut hooked. So now I need to catch enough to make a meal. Next hookup on a jig acted much different and turned out to be Cero. After a couple of cut offs I tied a small piece of wire on. Never caught another cero but got the biggest YT on the wire. Most YTs were 13-14” the bigger one was 18”. Wind is going to start picking up over the weekend so get out while you can.

 

Today’s tally: 8 yellow tails, 1 cero and 1 blue reef fish – parrot
Another great day of fishing in Marathon

 

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Marathon Humps – Nov 7th

Another trip to the humps
Got a late start but still made to the humps by 8am. Did not see anything on the way out but dirty water for 20 miles. One boat already there and some birds on north edge. Start putting spread out and right rigger goes off before I can get the second one in the water. First fish is small BFT but into the box it goes. Reset both rigs and doesn’t take long and I have a double on. Both were small, bleeder into box and let other one go. Next knock down is a much bigger fish so I lock down the drag and reel as fast as I can but the shark got it after a 2 min battle. I made several more passes putting some nice BFT in the box but the big ones got eaten by the sharks. With plenty to eat it was time to head back north to do some recon on the reef.

When I got to the reef it was a nasty green color. Checked out a few of my old spots on the sounder to see what was happening on the bottom. Some spots looked the same, but some were barren. Decided to stop at one since the wind and current were going the same direction. I only brought I box of chum so this was going to be quick stop. Never had the YT come to the surface but I picked off several from the bottom. I also free lined a live bait and put one down. Hooked up to one grouper, that I lost it in the rocks and two sharks.

Some dirty water out there but it was still a good day.

Today’s tally: 8 BFT, 3 yellow tail and 1 lane
Another great day of fishing in Marathon