Poof! The sailfish are back.
But, they’re not in the traditional areas along the reef. Instead, they’re cruising the depths anywhere from 250 to 650 feet, and more than a few have been found just a couple miles inshore of the humps.
The past few days, sailfish were found under frigate birds working weed lines, and they were receptive to larger live baits, such as pilchards, goggle eyes and small blue runners. At first, anglers thought they were dolphin until they realized it was schools of sails balling small, anchovy-like baitfish under grass.
Dolphin and tuna
The dolphin action is sporadic; however, the blackfin tuna bite is significantly improved, with many fish in the 10- to 15-pound range and quite a few in the 20’s. You’ll find them anywhere from the reef edge out to the humps.
On the wrecks, the amberjack and mutton bite is on fire. The AJ’s show a preference for large, live baits, like blue runners, while the muttons are biting pilchards, goggle eyes, ballyhoo and pinfish.
The reef action is also picking up, with plenty of keeper size yellowtails in the 20- to 35-foot depths and larger flags in the deeper areas, 70 to 90 feet. There are a few muttons and mackerel in the same areas.
Glass minnows, ballyhoo and pieces of silversides are all working well on the reef. The ceros eat smaller pilchards and ballyhoo, while the kings like larger pilchards and smallish blue runners.
Tarpon are beginning to show at the bridges. The best catches coincide with the stable weather. As we get into April, the tarpon will be more prevalent.
Those with a need for big-fish action will find sharking to their liking. There are lots of spinners, blacktips, lemons, bulls and even a few scalloped hammerheads out there. All are great fun when match with light tackle.
The week’s best
The SeaSquared continued its tradition of family fishing for Spring Breakers from across the map, with loads of snappers coming back to the dock and landing on the dinner plates.
We also had a few shark fishing adventures, with 14 being the high hook for Sam and Jake Greenberg from Boynton Beach. They landed and released 10 lemon sharks up to seven feet and hooked and lost another four spinners and lemons.
Marathon Boat Yard and Marine Center
We want to give a shout out to Marathon Boat Yard Marine Center. Our new (600 hours in 12 months) Yamaha Outboards suffered a freak powerhead breakdown on Saturday the 15th while Christy and I were out of town for the weekend. Bruce and Sherry Popham immediately responded to our cell phone call at 6 o’clock Saturday evening and set the process in motion to get the needed parts and make the repairs in record time.
One week later, the SEASQUARED was back in the water and running charters. Thanks, also, to our awesome crew (Capt. Chris Klimas, Jason Bell, Shawn Creviston, Capt. Wayne Burri), who worked together to get as many charters out as possible, and to the other charter captains who took the trips we couldn’t get out.
Capt. Chris Johnson is a member of the Yamaha National Fishing Team and specializes in offshore, gulf/bay, reef/wreck, sailfish, shark and tarpon fishing with SeaSquared Charters out of Porky’s Bayside Marina in Marathon. You can reach him at 305.743.5305, http://SeaSquaredCharters.com and http://Facebook.com/MarathonFishing