Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Fishing The Florida Keys - The Marathon Hump

The Marathon Hump is 27 miles South East of Marathon. This hump or mound rises from 1150 feet on the east side to 410 feet at the top. When the gulf stream current is flowing, large eddy currents form, forcing bait to the surface. On a good day, hundreds if not thousands of terns will feeding over schooling Black Fin Tuna and Dolphin crashing bait. The hump can be magically alive with fish or dead, depending on the current and the bait in the area. Sunday, it was alive.

Live bait can be the key to catching fish at hump sometimes, but I have great luck trolling 4" to 6" lures here. Twenty or more Black fins in the 10 to 30 pound range, dolphin to 50 pounds and the occasional bill fish. The largest Black fin I've boated at the hump was 35 pounds, but we have been spooled a few times. I'm a light tackle kind of guy and thirty pound gear isn't all ways enough. It's not that thirty isn't heavy enough for the fish, it's thirty isn't all ways heavy enough for the fish that want to eat your fish. So you may want to use fifty pound gear at the hump.

Pulling a big lure on the shot gun line is a good idea. Marlin, Makos, Wahoo and bigger Yellowfin tuna, like eating Black Fins. They don't always want to play, but the hump is a great place to hook a fish of a life time. A few miles south of the hump is the wall. Here the water drops to over 1000 feet. A great place to dust off those big marlin lures and see how they work. If you find birds working, get ready for just about any pelagic you can imagine.

On the way out and back in your in prime fishing grounds. I normally run and gun until I'm about two miles from the hump. On the way, I'm watching for birds, floating debris and bait sprays, that tell me fish are close. There have been a few trips we didn't make it to the hump because of all the fish we found on the way out. Pick a good day though, the seas at the hump can be brutal with a east wind over 18 knots. I shoot for 5 to 10 knot forecast winds on a hump trip, but will consider a 10 to 15 day. Over 15, forget it. There is too much other good fishing out of Marathon to risk your gear on a sixty mile round trip in a washing machine.

Until next time
Tight Lines

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