Friday, February 24, 2017

2-24 Slow Day

After having a string of better than average days catching you have to get a slow one.  What was supposed to be a quick half-day fun eating fish trip turned into an over time half-day trying to get enough for the crew's dinner.

Instead of Mackerel we had Bonnet Head Sharks get in the slick at a spot I doubt we have ever caught one before.  We caught a few decent Lane Snapper and then the tiny fish took over.  Second spot marked up great but was dead so we headed out to the reef.

The reef bite was slow because of a very weak current, but at least the Yellow Tail Snapper were big enough to filet. 


 So no big fish stories, just more than enough fillets for a large family on vacation.

 At least a Manatee added something to the floor show, drinking water out of the motors while we were flushing them.

We had a West wind early in the morning that may be to blame for the slow bite or perhaps the weather was too good, in any case, slow shouldn't last long and even when it is slow you still eat pretty good.

Marathon in the Florida Keys should be your next fishing vacation destination. Join us for charter fishing, fishing guide trips or our fishing 101 so you can fish on your own with better success.

Tight lines,

Capt. Dallas

Monday, February 20, 2017

Chum and Live Bait Tips


 If you are serious about reef fishing you know this style of chum net.  Chum bags, small to large mesh are like laundry bags and work fine for shallow water, but for deeper fishing go with a net.  Count on 3-4 blocks of chum per half day with a chum net and 2-3 blocks per half day with a large mesh chum bag.  We got tired of  the nastiness which is used chum nets and decide to put the Pin Fish to work.  David just puts the used chum bag in the bait keep and they clean up the mess.

So if you are planning a larger stay in the Keys, say a week or more in hopes of taken some fish back to wow the back home crowd, let's review some tips.

1.  Having a bait freezer is huge.  Buying chum by the case saves money but you need a dedicated freezer so check you rental for such a goody.  If you don't have a bait freezer, a smaller cooler even one of the cheap Styrofoam ones that will barely hold two blocks of chum can come in handy.  In any case, the smaller cooler is easier to decontaminate if things go wrong.  Put the left over chum in the small cooler and that in a larger cooler with whatever ice you can spare.  Note: the Syrofoam cooler has a very low life expectancy out in the open.  Sheltered in a bigger cooler or below deck fish box at least gives it a chance to be useful.

2.  If your rental has a bait keep, which is a pen of some sort to keep live bait in water at your dock, great, if not remember a cheap 30 gallon trash can with holes drilled in it will do a good job in a pinch.  Don't drill holes in the bottom or the bottom few inches so you can lift the can without stranding the fish.  Use large holes 3/4" to 1" for big baits and plenty of flow.  If you want to keep shrimp in a big bait keep put the shrimp in a mesh chum bag and that in the keep.  Or you can make a smaller 5 gallon keep bucket with shrimps size holes.  I have a drill and bits if one isn't hiding around your place.

3.  Don't overload your bait keep.  Pin Fish are hardy so you can keep several dozen in a 30 gallon keep if the water is fairly clean.  Mullet are dainty little beggars so a half dozen may be all you can get is a 30 gallon keep.  Pilchards are somewhere in between so 3 or 4 dozen in a 30 gallon keep might be pushing your luck in many canals.  Ballyhoo have zero chance in anything other than an Olympic size bait keep.  All live baits can be a PITA so just chill and adjust as needed.

4.  Feeding live baits just enough so they don't start eating each other is a good thing, but don't over do it.  One ballyhoo is enough to keep Pin Fish busy and since they will clean your chum net, let them have fun.

5. Candy size, 1.5 to 3 inch Pin Fish or Pilchards, are your go to Mangrove snapper baits and just about anything will hit them.  Bigger baits might mean bigger fish somethings, but even elephants eat peanuts, so don't knock candy size baits.

Marathon in the Florida Keys should be your next fishing vacation destination. Join us for charter fishing, fishing guide trips or our fishing 101 so you can fish on your own with better success.

Tight lines,

Capt. Dallas

Still Steady Fishing

Almost had an offshore trip but the seas were just big enough for the crew to change their minds.  So instead of Black Fin tuna they settled for some little Tuny and lots of snapper including one 26" mutton. A Half day today near the bridge produced mainly Mangrove Snapper with a few nice Yellowtail Snapper, some Porgies and some very large grunts along with the usual shark encounter plus a barracuda cut off at the boat which seems to have made their day.


So every trip has had plenty of dinner fish with at least one shot at a bragging size dinner fish and all in the more sheltered waters. 


Marathon in the Florida Keys should be your next fishing vacation destination. Join us for charter fishing, fishing guide trips or our fishing 101 so you can fish on your own with better success.

Tight lines,

Capt. Dallas

Thursday, February 16, 2017

2/16/17 Half day on the rock piles

With winds gusting to 25 we eased out front to one of the closer rock piles in the Lady Catherine in search of lane snapper and anything else hungry.


 We expected Spanish or Cero Mackerel, but the King showed up.  Fun on light tackle.
 Nice Black but a throw back on Thursday or any other day until May.  Real challenge on 20 pound test.
I told them to act like they had fun but this was the best they could manage :)

Weather has been pretty good though there might still be a drinking day or two per week.  This time of year just about anything can be biting.

Marathon in the Florida Keys should be your next fishing vacation destination. Join us for charter fishing, fishing guide trips or our fishing 101 so you can fish on your own with better success.

Tight lines,

Capt. Dallas

Thursday, February 02, 2017

Great weather - Slow but OK bite

In February, Bay Side for Spanish Mackerel should be a no brainer and close to an only option.  For the past few days though, the winds have been tame and the waters clearer than normal. That means you can see all the fish not biting.


Both yesterday's (no pics) and today's fishing had about an hour when the fish liked the current and bit.   The rest of the time was one committing suicide from time to time.  So if you hit the right spot at the right time you will kick butt.  The right time seems to be when the wind and current start moving in same direction.  That is always the best condition, but it is just slower than normal when it is not.

Hard to complain though with temperatures in the 70s and water clearer than normal.  Today's catch on the Bay Side was mainly smaller mangrove snapper.  I could see plenty of larger Mangroves, but they were more wary than normal.  Spanish Mackerel were not thick by any means, but we did see them swimming around with lock jaw. 

Since taking a few people out from All Aboard Boat Rentals, they have become big fans of their customers getting a little local knowledge.  Marathon is about the easiest to navigate around, but getting few pointers on navigation, boat handling, basic boating etiquette and fishing 101 seems to reduce the number of aggravated customers.  

Marathon in the Florida Keys should be your next fishing vacation destination. Join us for charter fishing, fishing guide trips or our fishing 101 so you can fish on your own with better success.

Tight lines,

Capt. Dallas

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Weather turning to nice after big front

A serious front came through Sunday morning early and blew through Monday, but things are getting unseasonably nice afterwards.

Tuesday I did a mainly back country trip with the crew out of Big Pine.  Unfortunately, the water was really churned up so they didn't get to see stellar action.  Even though it was slow, they had fun with lady fish, blue fish and snapper, but unfortunately there were lots of catfish and a few small sharks.  I really wanted them to hook into something big so we headed back out to the rock piles in Hawks Channel.  Slower than normal but they got some respectable Lane Snapper and a decent Porgie.  It wasn't until we were getting ready to pull anchor and head home that something big finally hit a full size blue runner.  It stripped a hundred years or so of line before becoming unbuttoned.  Probably a Cobia, but since they lost it, it can be anything they want.  I believe they are going to invest in some bigger hooks for bigger bait.

Today was a general rock pile/patch reef tour with a new client.  Still murky water and slower than normal but plenty of action and plenty for dinner.  Since I forgot to verify there was a cast net on the boat, we had plenty of ballyhoo behind the boat that would hit bait rigs.  Murphy was a genius.

Tomorrow is a new day with a new client and a fishing 101. 

Marathon in the Florida Keys should be your next fishing vacation destination. Join us for charter fishing, fishing guide trips or our fishing 101 so you can fish on your own with better success.


Tight lines,

Capt. Dallas