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
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
Target marathon humps
Went out with a couple of guys on Tuesday and got met with some rough seas early but the world cat blasted thru.
Watching for birds, weeds, debris, or temp change – something that might hold mahi. Passed by a couple floats but nobody home. One of them had a rope attached so we tossed out some cut bait trying to lure something out of the dark. No luck so back on track towards the humps.
We see birds working and put out some feathers as we approach. Doesn’t take long and we have single and double hook ups. The sharks were all over the tuna as soon as they were hooked. We tried rig with a little wire but the tunas would not hit it. We tightened down the drags and managed get 6 BFTs, 3 nice ones. That was 6 for 20 and too many lost lures. With a bag of frozen minnows and pilchards we tried a couple of drifts. No crazy tuna schools attacking the bait on this trip. As the sun got high the bite slowed down.
Next target was to look for Mahi as we headed back north. Pass by what looked like a stump. Quick 180 while getting pitch rods ready for the Mahi mayhem. Not only was it not a stump, there was no fish. We retrieved the burlap bag full trash and got back on course.
Even from the tower there was nothing to be found. With a hour or so to spare we found a spot on the reef and dropped anchor. Wind was still blowing out of the south but there was no current. Start chumming anyway and slowly built some activity. YTs, mangos, sharks, and grouper provided some good action. With a nice-looking box of iced down fish, we headed to the dock. Cleaned and bagged the catch then fired up the grill.
It was nice to get out with a couple good guys and remind us why the keys are so great.
Today’s tally: 6 BFT, 5 yellowtail, 2 mangos, 1 cero and a nice grouper
Another great day of fishing in Marathon
Teaming up with Capt Harlan Trammell (Piner Wahoo) www.american-allegiance-charters.com on some trips. We run on my World Cat and he makes sure you keep on the fish.
This trip was with Chris (landshark82), brother Phillip and friend John. We had a great weather window so the marathon hump was our waypoint. A little bumpy on the way out but the World Cat busted thru.
Saw one frigate working on the way out so we stopped and trolled that area but no takers. Throttled up and pointed south towards the humps. Saw a lot of birds working on north edge so we put out a feather and it was not long before we were hooked up. Black fin tuna gave a nice run until the shark got him. We repeated 4 or 5 more times and never came close to getting a BFT to the boat. While investigating one last group of birds we saw some strange activity. We slowly approached and found that a shark had balled up a bunch of bait. Harlan grabbed the cast net made a great throw and now we had a ton of live baits to try. As he pulled them in their scales fell off and blanketed the water with silver. That was going to change things up – drifting with a well full of livies. We cleaned the deck and got prepared to drift with live bait. As we got ready to motor over we noticed the bait was already dead. They didn’t last one minute.
Off to set our drift with fresh dead bait. First drift and in no time we had one hooked up. This was a chunky tuna it gave the angler and penn 6500 a good work out. We did 4 or 5 drifts with double and triple hookups. We could have had 6 on but triples caused some tangles. They were going crazy over this magic minnow. We did not know what is was – some kind of sardine. They bite was awesome as we were able to chum them right up to the boat. Left with lots of action still at the boat but we had plenty of tuna in the box . All three were experienced anglers which really helped because these were some hefty skippies.
Pointed to Cat back north and started looking for signs of dolphin. Found 1 frigate bird working we trolled that area but nothing. Back on a northly course looking for rips or weeds. Finally found small rip with scattered weeds in about 250’. Trolled west and picked up 3 Black Fins to top off the fish box. It was an exciting trip and with the help of the magic minnow we had an epic tuna bite. Harlan and I enjoyed a blue water day with three great guys and no land insight.
Another great day of fishing out of Marathon in The Florida Keys
Back in the Keys for some more clean up, repairs and a couple days of fishing.
We went out to some rough seas but this where the world cat outperforms mono hull boats.
Waves were 6-8 and out of the south SE which made heading bumpy. This was a ¾ day trip so we needed to find something fishy fast. Did not see any weed lines, no flying fish and very few birds. I picked and area with a ledge at 400’ and trolled thru some scattered weeds. We finally got one on the deep bait. A mahi with no friends. Trolled this area some more before heading out deeper. It was a long day of clearing lines and looking for some fish attractant. There was not much to be found other than a couple rain showers. Although the fishing was pretty slow we managed 3 dolphin, 3 barracudas and 2 little skippys.
Another great day of fishing in Marathon
Finally made it back on Thursday 21st 11 days post Irma. First few days after Irma hit were nerve racking from not knowing what happened. Only a few scattered reports but with no cell service or internet we had no specific news about our home and boat and the initial reports were bad. NOAA posted some post Irma pics about 4 days after which showed that our roof was still intact, the boat looked like it had been tossed onto the seawall and broke or twisted. We could not tell if the storm surge had gotten inside our just remodeled 1st floor. By day five we finally made contact with someone who could personally check it out and send pics. Vicki found someone on Facebook that was shooting drone footage and he gave us our first look. From his pics it did not appear that water got inside and the boat seemed okay just barely on the seawall. We were very lucky as a lot of people lost everything.
With some help from a friend who lives in Marathon we got the boat winched off the seawall. Using the leverage from two ratchet straps and a manual override on the lift control we got the boat dropped in the water and repositioned on the lift. Now that the boat was safe I continued with the clean-up.
Saturday afternoon I needed a break and wanted to take the boat out to make sure it shifted and drove correctly. Slow cruise 1 mile past shore and then put it on plane to check it out. There was a lot of gulf weeds and debris. Everything sounded and felt okay so went up to check out upper controls. Steering had a lot of play in it. Climb back down and I notice steering fluid on deck and now no steering at helm. Limp back in with a storm building just off shore. Got to dock and a strong cross wind made backing into the lift a challenge with no steering. Next day trip to West marine and Home Depot I got the leak fixed and ready for sea trial again. Mission was to give the boat a shakedown but I also brought a couple rods and bait along. Boat ran great and seas were flat calm. It was like snorkeling but on the boat. The beautiful water was mesmerizing and reminded me why we love this place. Drove around enjoying the gin clear water while looking for current. With no wind and no current I pick a rock and drop some chum to try for something even if small. Got some small YT, mangroves, schoolmaster and grunts. It didn’t matter because I was back on the water fishing again. Did end up with a few keepers but only put 2 in the box for dinner because I wasn’t sure about our freezer. My grill was rescued from the neighbors bushes. I took out all parts from inside and washed everything down. There was lots of wood debris and small foam balls inside. Put it back together and it worked. So I turned it on high and put the fresh snapper skin down with a little garlic and old bay.
Second pic is the house is on east sister rock, island rental house.
Next report will be all about fishing.
There will be months of clean up and rebuilding but it is still the Keys
Thoughts and prayers for all – Stay Keys Strong
Left dock at sunrise with one passenger and goal of getting some tiles and a snowy. Headed straight for the humps to get some fresh bait. Stopped 2 miles short on some weeds and caught 6 mahi, 2 were keepers. Back south again looking for birds and only 3-4 boats at the hump. We trolled around and picked up 4 BFT – one a fatty. We hooked up on several including double and triple hook ups but the sharks, pulled hooks and flipper only left us with 4. Never got any skippies or Bonitos. Turn around towards the north and throttles down – off to bottom grounds. On the way we come across some nice weeds so we troll it for a while and get a double and triple hook-up but all were small. They never had any friends following them to the boat. Back on course and around 700 we set up for tile and a snowy. We make 9 passes and get our limit of 6 Tiles, no snowy. We are still happy as this was the first time catching tile for both of us. One was 24”, two at 22” other 3 smaller but they tasted great.
total = 6 Tiles, 4 BFT and 2 Mahi
Another great day fishing in the Florida Keys.
Went out with Piner on a hunt and seek mission for more bottom spots. Goal was to find snowy and tile. Got a late start and headed south looking for birds or something fishy. Did not see much until we got to about 700’ and came upon a few huge mats. We trolled by them, jigged a couple of them and nothing but 1 small mahi. Us and three other charter boats circle these mats but nobody home.
Decided to hit the hump to get some fresh bonitos for bait. Stopped about 2 miles north on a rip with birds. We got a BFT and a nice mahi. With meat in the box we headed back toward to hump for bait. Very few boats, some birds but no fish. We trolled around and could not even get a skippy. Had a couple of knock downs and one good bite but it cut the line. I had a couple of frozen bonitos so we gave up and went to the bottom grounds.
Got a couple of good drifts in, found some nice spots then a seal blew on port steering. Picked up lines and pointed it towards the creek. Was interesting driving a boat with almost no steering at 30mph. Those World Cats are a beast even with a part failure. Finally got it on the lift and washed down. Marty’s marine was in the area stopped by at 6:30 to see what it was going to take to fix it. Hopefully he will get it going tomorrow.
Overall a rough day but learned a little more and had another great day fishing in the Florida Keys.
Still working on getting the boat dialed in along with lots of other work going on this summer. Monday had a few hours so I headed out to check a spot on the reef then out to 600’ looking for deep drop spots. Reef was full of small YT, by-catch and picked up a couple of keeper magos. Only had a couple of hours so I pointed the cat south to look at some deep spots. Came across a bunch of birds on bonitas but I didn’t need any bait. Pushed further south to the humps and bumps and started blind trolling while watching the bottom machine. After a few minutes, the right long goes off and I start reeling in the short. Got one chasing the short but doesn’t hook up so I leave it out hoping he comes back. Get to work on the long and see a phin jumping in the distance, not real big but a keeper. When I get him close I see that friends followed him to boat. Schoolie size but fun and I am looking for that big one on the outside. It is crazy action for a while and then I feel this cool breeze and turn around to see a storm bearing down on me. Got plenty of fish in the freezer so only keep a couple for dinner and then blast out of there before I get hammered. Back side of squall beautiful blue sea and a great boat ride back to pick up the kids for some snorkeling. Some gin clear water moved onto the edge of the reef. Great day on the boat and awesome place to hang out.
Got a 3pm start because of some other work I had to get done. Goal was just to take a boat ride and look for dolphins. Got to first weed line at 240’, drifted and trolled but nobody home. Picked up and headed south. Went passed some scattered weeds and then around 440 found some birds working a weed line. Drifted by that area and here comes the school. We grabbed the pitch rods with cut bait. Pretty good action with some keepers in the mix. We put six in the box and released several more. Dinner in about 1 hour. We trolled a couple more weeds lines and caught some more schoolies all in 440-660. The seas laid down nicely and we drifted the reef on the way in scouting for new rocks. Quick trip but another great ride in the Keys.