Captain’s Blog – March 10, 2010 – Marathon Florida Keys – It looks like we’re inching our way back to a normal weather pattern, but don’t quote me on that. Regardless, there has been some outstanding fishing this past week.
The patch reef action remains consistent throughout the Keys with lots of mangrove and lane snapper for the taking. The mutton snapper are popping up in greater numbers as the days have warmed. Yellowtail are the most shy of the snappers, and the ones you do found are in the 14-inch class.
The warmer waters are attracting a diverse crowd to the patches. On my most recent couple of trips, we caught a sheepshead, a 12- to 15-pound permit and a beautiful 8-pound tripletail, which we spotted hovering near a lobster trap buoy.
Fair numbers of cobia are cruising the Middle Keys with some fish over 50 pounds making their way to the boat. There is also a good amount of hogfish and porgy in Hawk Channel.
The grouper continue to taunt us. I’m certain I am not alone in counting the days until May 1 when the season reopens and we can keep all the reds, blacks and gags that have been captured only in pictures since the closure went into effect on the first of the year.
The yellowtail bite has been hot and cold on the reef edge. However, the king mackerel action has been on fire with abundant kings approaching the 40-pound mark. They are responding well to live pilchards.
There has been a fair showing of sailfish, thanks to more tepid waters. As the water cleans up and warms up even more, the numbers will increase. Congratulations to Capt. Marty Lewis and the Main Attraction crew to yet another win in the Leon Shell Memorial Sailfish Tournament last weekend.
The wrecks are producing a robust amberjack bite, and these bruisers are taking just about any large live offering sent their way. A good plan of attack is to catch a few blue runners or grunts before heading offshore in pursuit of the AJ’s.
Back in the bay, the mangrove snapper have come alive again, and there is an excellent bite on Spanish mackerel and bluefish. Live bait is the ticket – shrimp, small pilchards or pinfish. An option is to use a small bucktail retrieved rapidly through the chum slick to elicit a jolting strike from the Spanish mackerel.