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Sword, Snowy and Jumbo BLT

Last few days have been great for putting fish in the box.  Had a sword trip with a friend that was successful.  On the way out were few weeds but we hooked up to a couple small mahi that were released. The small school was not very hungry or cooperative so on to the sword grounds. On our first drift we got a bite. Was a good battle and when we finally got it to the boat it took two gaffs and a tail rope to get it in. This feisty sword even bent the handle and straightened the hook on one of the gaffs.

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On the way in we stopped at a couple BLT spots and got our limit. One was a jumbo at 30”.

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Had a few hours Tuesday afternoon went out in search of a snowy. Seas were a little rough but got set up on first Snowy spot. The first bait down gets hammered as soon as it reaches the bottom.

Hard fighter and every was going good until I got it up to 180’. Then the line started going sideways and under the boat.  I get the boat turned while still reeling and then the line went slack. I put the reel in high gear and as it comes to the surface I see a Snowy missing the back part. As I work to get it in the boat a 12’ shark come from under the boat and attacks the head of the Snowy. So I hit it with the gaff and it releases the snowy long enough for me to gaff and get it in the boat.  This would have been 38-40″ grouper.

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Moved over to a tile spot and picked up  2 BLTs  and my limit.

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Had a couple out for a first time deep drop and we only had a couple hours. First couple drifts we were getting bites but no hook ups. Change out the hooks and on final drift we get two BLTs. One was a Jumbo at 32”.

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Another good day of fishing in Marathon

www.AOKCharters.com

Charter service cheaper than renting

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May opens up Snowy season

Finally deep drop time is here and we are ready to look for new spots and visit old ones. Snowy and Blue Line Tile season is only 4 months long. We try to take advantage every change we get to mix in deep dropping with mahi and sword fishing. The first day out was successful with snowy and tile going in the box.

Tile grounds range from 650-850 with a lot of the bigger ones found in the deeper water.

When ever I have a free day I go to new areas and drift around looking for new spots.

Deep dropping can be slow at times but the pay-off is worth it. Fishing 800 – 2000 feet is technical and challenging but adds variety and excellent table fare.

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Great day of fishing in Marathon

www.AOKCharters.com

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Easter Marathon

Easter provided a great day to get offshore. Got an early start for teenage boys and headed straight for the humps. Trolled with two to three in the spread and got several hook ups and BFT in the box. We did get one BFT that went 22lbs.

Next was to search thru all of the scattered weeds to try and find a line. With not much formed up we picked off a couple peanuts and one 26” mahi.

Finding no birds and no pattern it was off to deep dropping for sword. With limited 16 year old patience we were only going to make 2 drifts. First one nothing, second we get a bite. It was light but something was one. Slowly work it up and was not a sword but a new species – pomfret.

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Next was to hit the Black Belly Rose fish area to try and pick up some good eats. Made three drifts and got 2 rosies and three green eyed sharks. We later learned that this was a new species that was identified last July.

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Had some calm seas and a good variety of fish. They boys learned some about fishing and we put some good eats in the box.

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Great day of fishing in Marathon

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Marathon Sword, BFT & Rose

Great couple days offshore, goal was to find some Black belly rose spots and deep drop for swords.

First thing troll 180-300 looking for wahoo or BFT.  Bite was slow but steady and picked up a few BFTs.

Next was to stop and search for some new Black Belly Rose fish spots.

First two accomplished.

Last was to make a couple sword drops. No bites.

Next day bypass 200 troll and out to find more rose fish spots and spend more time dropping for swords. Came across a floater and picked up a 24” mahi. Went to a couple rose fish areas but current made it difficult to keep 10lb weight on bottom. We did pick up one and with a mahi and black belly rose fish in the box it was on to the sword grounds.

We made a short first drift to set our course. Half way down our second drift we get bit and it is game on.

It was a good puller but on the small side. We carefully work it to the boat and once we are sure it is legal, gaff and over the rail.

Made to more drifts and got one hooked up but came loose after fighting it for 1000’.

BFT were in 230 and Sword in 1720. Great day of fishing in Marathon

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Marathon Hump – BFT and Mahi

Had a couple of trips into the gulf for kings, sharks and macs when it was too rough oceanside. We did get offshore and was able to make to the humps a couple times. Saturday had some folks from North Carolina making their first trip to the keys and wanted to fish the hump and catch a dolphin. With 4-7’ seas the running and gunning for Mahi was going to be a little challenging.  The World Cat powered thru the sometimes cresting waves and got us safely out there and back. I was in the tower watching for weeds or something fishy. Finally came across some weeds in 650 and set out the spread. Trolled for about 20 minutes before the 1st knockdown. Jonathan was first on the reel and began working the jumping mahi to the boat. This guy was 24” and being the first fish, it went into the box

Worked this area back and forth catching 6 mahi putting 2 on ice, 24” and 29”. Even with an injured wrist she got this little guy in. The smaller ones went back in to grow up.

With dolphin checked off their list the hump was up next to put some tuna in the box. Turned the cat south and when we arrived there was only one other boat there. Conditions were rough but we put out a couple lines and the BFT cooperated. Made several passes and put plenty of blackfins in the box. On the final pass heading north we hook into something bigger. Jonathan has already reeled in 12-15 BFT in rough seas and this fish is wearing him out.

 Finally get him to the boat and it is a nice sized Skip Jack.

This was a good end to the day and they have fresh fish for some great meals.

Great day of fishing in Marathon

www.AOKCharters.com

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Marathon Mahi and Triple Tail – Feb

Got a first-time offshore angler and timing was perfect for going deep. With a flat calm day and the gulfstream 28 miles offshore this would be a good day to run out for a sword drop. On the way we were watching for anything fishy. Got all the way to 900 before seeing some scattered weeds and flyers. Started to troll in this area and 15 minutes in to it we are hooked up. Jordan grabs the reel and starts working a mahi.

Got one in the box. Continue to work along this edge and pick up two more and one goes on ice. With no knock downs for a while we decide to move on and look for a better line. A few miles south we come upon a better formed line and start trolling in 1000’. Caught three more working this area and one goes on ice.

On the way to the next spot I saw the top of a board bobbing up and down. We trolled past it a couple time with no bites, so we pull up to jig it. As we get closer there is a chunky triple tail there. Jordan is dropping a deep jig while I get a pitch bait ready. We switch rods and on the second cast he has the tripletail hooked.

Made a quick sword drop and the bait gets hammered on the first drop just as we were getting close to the bottom. Reeling up slack like nothing is there and then pop, hook comes out. Reset and tried a couple more drifts but no bites. Caught 6 dolphin keep 3, 24-28” and a chunky triple tail. Was a nice first-time saltwater experience.

Great day of fishing in Marathonwww.AOKCharters.com

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Marathon Slammer and Tuna

Winds laid down enough for a run to the Marathon Humps for someone who has never been there after fishing in the keys for over 20 years. Stopped at a floater on the way but only saw a small triple tail. Got to the humps put out a spread of three and headed toward some birds. Before we even catch up to them, we have a double on and put two BFTs in the box. Reset in some scattered weeds and head to the birds. This time the right goes off, the reel is screaming, and then we see a good-sized dolphin jumping. Ben works it to the boat, where she jumps and puts on a great show boat side. Finally, in gaff range and we have about a 20lber in the box, his biggest dolphin.

Turn the World Cat back towards the birds and try to find the bull. Troll right to and under them and we have a double on. This is not a dolphin but two more tunas. We keep working this area and have a couple big fish on, but they broke free before we could ID.  There are scattered weeds all over but we keep trolling with several double hook ups. One of the passes produced a fight that was much stronger and lasted longer than most.

Ben brings in a nice 10lb tuna to add to the box. A few more passes and in about 3 hours we have 26 tunas and a mahi. We also had hooked up to something big that we could not turn. Chased and fought it for 40 minutes before the line broke. The north winds started picking up, so we turned and headed for the dock. It was first time to the humps for one and a personal best mahi for the other.

Great day of fishing in Marathon

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Holiday Fishing

December 27 – been windy for last couple days so other work and some bayside bait catching. Went out for a few hours last couple days and the water is dirty, weeds everywhere and choppy. You can put out chum and pick up pinfish, snappers, jacks and get blues and Spanish macs in the mix. Loaded up pinfish and hooked up with several blues and macs. Freezer full of mahi and grouper but brought this guy home for a fresh catch and cook

December 29 – Big blow over and NOAA says 3-4 for Saturday. Finally a family day at the marathon hump. Well they were wrong there was some 6+ waves but the World Cat got us there. Made 4 or 5 passes and had all the tuna that I wanted to clean. On the way back stop a scattered weedline in about 650’ and put the spread out. Left long goes off and we have a dolphin on. Nothing huge but a lot of action and Casey loves tuna.

December 30

Two Days left to get some grouper. Set up on first spot no action. Went next spot looks a little more promising so I get set up. Already have some live bait so the bottom rod gets loaded first. Then set a live one off the transom with a balloon. Then I start working the chicken rig on the bottom to get more bait. Picked up a nice rock hind, small yellow tails, grunts and a green eel. The next drop is pulling very hard but I finally get it off the bottom and up pops a nice red grouper. Caught two of these that got vented and sent back down.

Next is the bottom rod that gets bent over and at first it puts up a good fight. He doesn’t last long and up comes a Yellow Jack. Then a couple drops later up comes an even bigger yellow jack.

Reload and in a few minutes the bottom rod gets bent but not as hard as a grouper. I am thinking another jack but up comes a 22” mangrove snapper. Box has some good eats in it but no grouper.  Keep working the chicken rig with the action slowing down and then I see a dolphin in my chum slick. Grab a rod with a bucktail on it toss it out and get hooked up. Mahi jumping and pulling hard on this 6500 spinning outfit. As I am working the dolphin I see my bottom rod double over in the rod holder. I put the dolphin on hold and start cranking the bottom rod and feels like a grouper. After getting the grouper off the bottom I go back to the dolphin. As she gets closer to boat makes a big jump, headshake and comes unhooked. Now back to the bottom rod and work this fish to the surface and success a black grouper.  With a box of good eats it is time to head in with one day left for grouper.

Great day of fishing in Marathon