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December Slammer

December 18-19

Have two split days in a row. Day 1, quick trip early for Wahoo – lines in at 7am. Only had a couple hours but with a cold front and a full moon coming it was worth a try. Started at 180 headed to 350 with a lot of weeds. Got a dolphin on but she spit the hook. Zig zag between 300-180 with nothing but weeds.

Back to the dock to take care of some business then back out around noon to try the reef. Landed on a good spot but not even the grunts were biting. Went out towards the hump looking for weeds and did not see anything until we got to1000’.  Made couple laps and picked up some BFT for dinner. On the way back in we tried a nice weedline in 770 but nobody was home. Strange day, no birds, no flying fish and nothing on the weeds. Still was a beautiful afternoon and dinner in the box.

Day 2– early am for Wahoo and then an afternoon run. Out at sunrise and head south till we clear the weeds around 200’. Spread of 5, bonita long middle, cowbell with 48oz weight left, jet head with 24oz right, small feather and plunger headlong on outriggers. Trolled for a while with no action finally come upon a weedline forming.  Followed for about 1mile, then short left goes off and the 50 wide is screaming. First we are thinking wahoo but the run was short and then we see a big dolphin jump. Clear the other lines and work the fish towards the boat. He put up a good fight, but we get the weight to the boat and handline the leader in. Gaff shot and over the rail and into the ice for this 40lber.

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 High fives and get the spread back out. Work this weedline for another couple hours with two knockdowns. One ran into the weeds and pulled the hook. The other straightened the hook and both were good sized cows. Back to the dock to care of some business and to pick up another for a quick afternoon run. Made it out to 550 and no signs of weeds. We turned east to loop around and look for something fishy. Finally found an edge with a little bit of weed and temp change. Put out the spread and followed this line for miles with only one knockdown. Brought in a nice cow that made a big mess.

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Great day of fishing in Marathon

www.AOKCharters.com

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December Wind and Mahi

Saturday went out the backside looking for bait and whatever else might show up. Found a decent spot, set up anchor and the chum block. Had bait action right away and then they started getting bigger. Caught several small lanes and mangroves then the cut offs began. Time to switch to wire and got hooked up with several Spanish macs. One of them was on a 3000 series Penn after it ate the pinfish we caught on a bait rod. Only there for a few hours but it was nonstop action.

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Sunday was out on the reef to test out a new kite and look for groupers. Went to several spots and not much showing on the sonar. Finally picked one in 95’ and set up to try and make something happen. The current was smoking, had to use16-24 oz weight. Bottom bite was slow with small lanes and a couple short muttons. Also had a live bait freelined down current. The live bait gets very nervous and then we see a fish jumping nearby– it is a Mahi. It charges the bait and we are hooked up. This phin puts up a good fight but we get it next to the boat and on the gaff. No grouper bites but the mahi is on ice. Weeds are thick and the bites drops off.

Time to move and put the kite out. Find a better looking spot to anchor on with lots of marks. Got 2 on the kite, two on the bottom, one freelined and one chicken rig. Off the bottom comes rock hind, lane, grunts and finally a keeper mutton.Action on the bottom was slow but steady, nothing on kites baits and only a couple sharks and a break off on the grouper rig.  Seas were rough but action was steady and caught enough for dinner.

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Great day of fishing in Marathon

AOK Charters.com

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Marathon Mahi – Nov 7

Out on a trip to try a sword drop. First 8-10 miles not too bad then it got rough. With seas to nasty to drift we look for weeds or birds in about 1000’. Got one diving on the water so I turn the boat and set a troll towards the frigate. By the time we got the spread out the bird was gone. We continue to troll on the same path even though there is no weeds. It doesn’t take long and we have a hook up. With one on then we see the bull with her. I grab a pitch rod and a pilchard and he piles on it. After a good battle and some tricky gaff work we get them both in the boat.

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That was a good start but with no weeds or birds we move on to look for something more fishy. Make it about 5 miles to the east and see some small birds so we drop back the feathers. Not much weeds but a little rip and it produces a couple of BFTs. Now we are close enough to the humps that we steer that direction and get 2 more BFTs on the troll.  Couple more circuits produce another BFT and then get sharked up. Decide to try drifting a couple pilchards and the first one gets hammered but pulls the hook. Next time as we head west to set up we see a nice weedline forming. Get the spread out and bam mahi on. Getting close to the boat see a friend so I pitch out a bait and get hooked up.  These are two more nice sized dolphins. As we work to get the first one in the second pulls the hook.

We have 5 tunas and 3 phins in the box.
Time to look for more while heading back inshore. On the way in we come across floating rope and it was 5-6” in diameter. We drift around and see lots of jacks and undersized triple tail. Mess with them for a while and then decide to pull the rope in.  After we get the rope in Lance sees flash and throws a bucktail at it. Hooked up it was an acrobatic Mahi that put on a great show. She had friends there so we threw out some pilchards and hooked up three more. Got a total of three more in the boat and maybe the biggest of the day got off.

Was a good day under rough conditions and plenty of meat in the box.

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Had a couple miss the picture but ended with 6 mahi and 5 BFT.  Couple almost slammers and rest gaffers.

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Great day of fishing in Marathon

 

www.AOKCharters.com

 

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Marathon, Mahi, BFT and a big shark – Oct 21

Quick trip in the windy part of October. Got sister and BIL in town for their first time to the Keys.

First day we picked up my new bait catchin machine.

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Next day was windy again so we did the Key West thing.  Again another windy day so we took a long boat ride and did some snorkeling. Finally get a decent day for a couple that has never be offshore fishing. Plan was to head for the humps and look for weedlines on the way. Only found some scattered lines but trolled them anyway. Picked up a couple phins around 20-22” so they went back to get bigger.

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On to the humps where we set up the spread with small feathers way back. We had this type of dolphin all over the place.

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You had to get your catch in the boat very quickly or lose it to the porpoise. We made a couple rounds with constant action and picked up some small tunas. Next we head to deeper water in search of thicker mats. Out to 2000 and none in site so we turn and head north. On the way in we come across a big floater and on the first pass we are hooked up with another small dolphin.  It met my 24” min so into the box it went.

Got a late start on this half day trip but good action for their first time offshore.  Good seas in the afternoon and great eats in the box.

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Day Two Offshore Marathon

Got a ¾ day and start out at the humps. First pass with feathers way back and in no time the left rod is screaming. Got other lines cleared and turn to chase since we already lost half the spool. After getting some of the line back and we start using the drag to tire the fish.

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This is a big fish and at first I thought it was a shark but after 1 hour of fighting and not getting cut off there was the chance it might be a big yellow fin.

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Two hours into the fight and we finally are making some ground getting down to the last 100 yards. Slowly gaining line and finally color… A shark but it was a 10’ fish for someone who has only caught bluegills and catfish.

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With some sore arms we make a change and head out to look for some weedlines. Stop at a scattered line with a bird working.  Put out a couple feathers, a hoo and a jet head on wire. It doesn’t take long and we have one on – a nice gaffer mahi.

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We work this line and a couple others in about 1000’ and catch several mahi and one BFT. We keep 5 mahi and 1 BFT. If was a great day of catching for some newbies to saltwater.

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Great day of fishing in Marathon

 

www.AOKCharters.com

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October 2nd Mahi

Back after 2 weeks and the seas were rough, but the fish are there. Had about a 5 hour window headed south looking for signs.  Some scattered weeds in 650 thinker line at 780. Set up the spread and it did not take long before we had a double knockdown. Left long is screening drag and right long is a jumping mahi. Left drag never stops and after a couple minutes the hook pulls. Fight the other to the boat and it is a 34” Bull.

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Work this area a little more and pick up a few 20 – 24” which go back to grow some more. Saw a bird working west of us so we set up the spread and pass by those weeds.  Get another double hook up and after a nice fight a 29” cow in the box and 22” cow set free. This was not a meat trip so only looking to keep a couple.  Move in to 650 and trolled a scattered line and picked up another Mahi this one 27” and bleeding so it went into the box. Last set up we got a hard knock down and the drag on 8500 slammer III was screaming. Tried to slow it down without success and it finally cut the line. Probably a wahoo that hit the only mono leader we had out there.  Still a lot of action and a good day on the water.

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Great day of fishing in Marathon

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September Mahi, BFT and Sail

Made a afternoon trip to try a new swordfish rig and to catch dinner. Seas were calm and we saw plenty of weeds on the way out.  Stopped at some birds with no weeds trying to pick up some tuna.  Looking for BFT or bonita for bait.  Got a few black fins and one bonita.  Stopped at a weed line in 650 and got a Mahi pretty quicky. With enough for dinner headed south to the sword grounds. Had enough time to make 3 drifts had one bite no hook-ups.  Lots of weeds from 650’-1000’

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Saturday had some from a wedding party and most of them have never been offshore before.  Goal was to find action cause only one person could take a limited quantity home with them.  Pointed the cat south looking for signs and found a nice weedline forming in 450’. We trolled by and picked up a couple of schoolies. Went to next patch and same thing couple small ones. Next we drifted by a patch chunking bait and catching jacks. As we kept dropping baits a couple dolphin swam up and we got a couple more hook ups with one big enough to keep.

Next was to run a little further and try to find something bigger. Saw a lot of bird activity in 650’ so I put out the spread. Did not take long and we have a black fin hooked up. Next run rookie on the rod and he doesn’t get the BFT in fast enough and a shark inhales it. Now he is hooked up with an 8-10’ shark and it doesn’t cut the line until after a 20 minute fight.

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We made a quick stop on the reef but with no current the fishing was slow, grunts and small YT. We did get a big grouper on but he rocked us up. Also had a 10 min tug of war with what seemed like a big shark.  A lot of action for a half day and a few sore arms.

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Sunday’s plan was to hit some weedlines in 650-1000 looking for bigger fish. Found a nice patch at 680 so lines in and it was not long before fish on. First one was a keeper but released we are looking for 30”+.  After a couple more 22-24” we head south to 800 and another nice weedline forming. Get set up and it doesn’t take long and we have a double hook up. These were nice gaffers so into the box and troll on. Spread consist of jet head, 1 feather, 1 chugger head and 1 weighted hoo with skirt.

This pass we had to clear a few more weeds but the work pays off with another double hook up. Another good sized mahi jumps and the second is off – then back on, then off – on the third bite it stuck hard.  We get the mahi to the boat, another nice gaffer but the second fish is being stubborn and has not jumped yet.  He is putting up a good fight and pulling drag on the 30 wide.

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Keep working it closer and closer but no jumping until it gets about 30’ from the boat and goes crazy.

We have a large sailfish on.

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This guy did not want to come into the boat, but we finally prevail and get him in for a quick pic. I put the cat in gear and we pull the sail into the current until he is trashing and swims away.

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With our weedline breaking up we headed further south and find a nice patch in 1000’.  Got the spread back out and in no time have a double hook up. A good size bull jumps and the fight is on. The cow goes in the box first while Todd tries to wear down the bull. He puts up a good fight, but we finally get him on the gaff and in the box.

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We continued to pick off one at a time and only keeping the bigger ones. With 15 in the box and all but one 30+ we got enough time to make one or two drifts over the sword grounds. Make a couple drifts with one bite no hook ups but we did find a nice canyon for next time.

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Monday was a short day and we set out to make a couple drifts for swords.  We passed some weeds in 800 that we would hit on the way back in. Passed in front of this carrier on the way out and while trolling mid-day they came beside us. Sadly, we later heard that one sailor was killed on this training mission.

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Set up on the sword area and made 3 drifts. No hook ups but 1 bite and marked a good ledge that was not on the map. Did pull in one small mahi while drifting but the weeds were scattered causing constant line clearing.  With it being a short day we wanted to go back and hit those weeds in 800’.

Trolled skirted hoo, a feather and little chugger. Ran into some decent action in 800 and 650. With plenty in the freezer we only keep two for a fresh dinner. Off to other work – back in two weeks.

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Great day of fishing in Marathon

 

www.AOKCharters.com

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Marathon Snowy – BLT last day

Last day for deep dropping for snowy and blueline tile until next May.  Seas were rough again at 4-6+, it has been blowing all week. Had squid and fresh bonita for bait and headed for an area in between a couple of my spots. First drift started slow but then it got hot.  Using squid we put 3 BLTs into the box. Including a couple nice ones.

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After dodging a shower we reset at beginning of the drift and switched to Bonita on bigger hooks. About half way we get two more pretty quickly.

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Now we got 5 in the box so the last one has to count.  Use a rig with a 12/0 on top and a 16/0 on the bottom.  Put a bonita head on the bottom and a large chunk on top. This would hopefully weed out the BLTs and find us a snowy grouper. After a long hard drift we finally got one on but it was another BLT.  That is the limit so the snowies are safe till May.

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Great day of fishing in Marathon

 

www.AOKCharters.com

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Marathon Blueline tile 8/29

Went out to the new spot to look for snowy and Blueline Tile. Seas were rough at 4-6+, but that was no problem for the World Cat. Had squid and fresh bonita and set up in about 660’.  First couple drifts produced 2 nice BLT on squid.

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Moved spots and made a couple more drifts with squid. Picked up a couple more BLTs.

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With 4 in the box we sent down a larger rig to target snowy grouper.  Also switched to fresh bonita chunks for bait. The bite seemed slow down. Had a couple a hard pulls but did not get them to the boat. Several drifts and no snowy, lost a 5lb weight and got I more BLT.

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Great day of fishing in Marathon

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Marathon Snowy – BLT, Sun, Mon Tues 8/28

Back after about a month at my other business. Got here just in time for the last days of BLT and snowy season. Sunday our target was Golden and BLT so out 26 miles to the 1st spot.  On the way we trolled under some birds and got a bonita, and a couple of tunas. Seas were 3-5+ but we got set up and made a drop. The combination of a strong undercurrent, waves and wind direction made it impossible to hold bottom with a 10 lb weight.  Pack up and head to the blue tile grounds where we pulled up a couple of nice ones.

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Monday had other work in the am so went out with Harlan (PinerWahoo) in the afternoon to look for some new spots.  Spent 3 hours got some new numbers a snowy and nice dinner.

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Tuesday was another late start because of other work. Left the dock around 1:30 and met some big waves but the world cat blasted through them. First drop was in a new area that paid off quickly with a  tile. Reset and picked up a large BLT.  Then I got chased off by a couple storms.

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With a gap between storms I reset set and finally got one to test the new reel. It was pulling drag as the rain was getting closer. This snowy was no match for the new 1200mj but it was a good size at 22lbs.

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It was only about 1 hour of fishing and back to the dock by 4 with a limit in the box.

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Great day of fishing in Marathon

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Combination of a few summer days

This is a late post but wanted to get some pics out with snowy and tile season ending soon.

Monday is the last day for Golden so go out and get one. Weather and wind had been cooperating almost every day.  The one day with strong south winds we took a trip back to the contents. Caught some small snappers and catfish but had a beautiful ride.

We combined a quick reef stop with some deep dropping but chased around by storms.

 

We did manage a couple snappers and one tile for dinner before the storms ran us back to the dock.

 

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The next day out was to look for dolphin on the way to the deep drop spot. Found weeds around 650 and set up a troll. Did not take long and we had a couple on. Mainly schoolies and with the freezer full we let them go. We did pull up to a big mat and chucked some bait to a big school with some bigger ones hanging out deep. Caught a few more that were released. Tried live bait and jigs but could not hook up with the bigger ones. Eli did catch a decent one that went in the box for dinner.

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No monsters but made for some great grilling.

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Great day of fishing in Marathon