You’d better watch out …. Sailfish are coming to town!
The anglers in Marathon land will have a jubilee. They’re gonna build a toy land all around the ballyhoo tree.
Yes, folks, it’s that time of year when the sailfish are making merry on the reef, gobbling ballyhoo with the same joy that Santa eats cookies left by all the good girls and boys.
When they’re not chomping on the free-flowing ballyhoo candy, the sailfish can be taken off the reef edge by live baiting with pilchards, ballyhoo, goggle eyes, cigar minnows and small blue runners.
Grouper, snapper and mackerel
Sailfish not on your wish list? You better not cry. You better not pout. Santa’s got something special in his sack for you.
December ranks as the second best time of year to fulfill your sugar-plum visions of catching a magnificent black grouper before the Grinch closes the season on January 1.
Up shallower on the patches, yellowtail and mangrove snapper dominate. They are joined by cero, king and Spanish mackerel. So, like good old St. Nick, straight to your work and your stockings will be filled with smoked mackerel treats.
We fish for the mackerel with live pilchards or ballyhoo. An option is to throw a top water plug. My favorite is the Rapala X-RAP Xtreme Action Slashbait. There are few things more exciting than watching a 40-pound kingfish skyrocketing your surface plug thinking he’s just had a tasty ballyhoo lunch.
Excellent fishing in Florida Bay
This time of year we can get some breezy days, but that’s no reason to stay ashore.
Shrimp-tipped jig heads as well as live pilchards and even cut bait, such as chunks of ballyhoo or pinfish, presented back in your chum slick will do the trick. Before you know it, you’ll have a sack full of smoked fish dip makings.
Venture a little further out in the Gulf, and you’ll have another opportunity to catch grouper before the season closes. Here, it’s gag grouper. There are also cobia, mangrove snapper and very large king mackerel to round out your catch.
December fishing in Marathon truly is a Christmas wonderland, with opportunities for anglers old and young, experienced and novice to fulfill all their fishing wishes.
Our new home port
We are pleased to announce we have moved our base of operations to Captain Pip’s Marina and Hideaway at MM 47.5 bayside in Marathon.
Christy and I thank you for following our articles throughout the year and wish a Happy Christmas to all, and to all good fishing!
Capt. Chris Johnson is a member of the Yamaha National Fishing Team and specializes in offshore, reef/wreck, gulf/bay, shark and tarpon fishing with SeaSquared Charters out of Captain Pip’s Marina and Hideaway in Marathon. You can reach him at 305.743.5305, SeaSquared@bellsouth.net and www.SeaSquaredCharters.com.