August 18th 2014

Well, summer is officially over….most of the tourists have gone home and the kids are back to school.  My wife, who is a teacher at Marathon Middle/High School, has been crying for at least a week.  Even though the summer season is over, summer fishing is still very active.

Since the crowds are mainly gone,  the reef and wrecks have experienced a dramatic decrease in fishing pressure.  The popular fish in those areas become much more prevalent and willing to take a bait.  Over the past week, we have had good success catching yellowtails, mangrove snapper, grouper and a few summertime kingfish.  Normally kingfish are caught during the winter, but we’ve had a few swimming through our waters lately.  If you’re interested in catching one of these fish to put on your smoker, they’ve been mainly hanging around the wrecks between 120-200 feet of water.  
The mangrove snapper bite is still red hot!  I know I’ve been talking about them for the past few weeks, but the bite hasn’t slowed down.  It may be little warm to anchor up on the reef during the middle of the day, and bake in the August sun, so I would definitely recommend people fishing for the mangroves early morning or late afternoon, when the sun isn’t as strong.  The bite is better during those hours anyway.

On the deep reef and wrecks the mutton and jack fishing continues to be steady, however the strong current has made it difficult to fish some of these deeper spots.  Last week we fished with two-knot currents just beyond the reef that made keeping the bait on the bottom tough.  Fortunately, the current hasn’t affected the snapper bite on the reef.

Unfortunately, the dolphin bite has not been as consistent as the mangrove snapper bite.  We’ve been  covering a lot of water to try and find some mahi-mahi, but they are few and far between.  When you do happen to come across some fish, they seem to be nice sized gaffers.  Live bait has been imperative in getting the few fish you find to eat.  The best way to catch some  bait offshore is to have a sabiki rig ready, and drop it down underneath the large patches of weed.  You’ll catch little blue runners that the dolphin just can not resist.    

Out on the humps the tuna fishing has been on fire.  On the surface and down deep, the blackfins and skip jacks have been aggressively slamming baits and we’ve been catching loads of fish in the five to 10-pound range, with some larger ones mixed in.  All methods (jigging, trolling and live baiting) have been productive, but butterfly jigging has worked best to target the blackfins hanging out below the skippies.  But, anglers be warned,  the sharks are starting to show up in large numbers, and they’re making it more and more difficult to get those big fish in the boat.   

If you’re mind is set on reeling in a swordfish, there have been quite a few fish caught during the day time lately.  Captain Brandon Mullar and Captain Mike Kasten recently landed a 456 pound swordfish, aboard The Broadbill out of  Duck Key.  Going sword fishing though, can be a gamble.  You can land a monster of a fish like they did, or it can be a verrrry loooong day of drifting around the open ocean.  I recently went out on a swordfish charter, and I’m sad to report, that my experience was similar to the latter.  We were able to put together a nice catch of blue line tilefish and yellow edge grouper on the way back in.  The tilefish were caught between 550-650 feet of water using a chicken rig and a five pound weight.  We were using one electric reel and one hand crank reel.  If you happen to not have the best of luck on a swordfishing trip, deep dropping offshore is a great way to still be able to put some meat in the boat.   If you do deep drop offshore, please remember that the snowy grouper and golden tilefish seasons are closed.  

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Captain Ariel Medero featured in article on George Poveromo's World of Satwater Fishing Website - Blackfin Tuna fishing in the Florida Keys

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