Monday, September 20, 2010

Count Down to Bay Side Catching

The biggest reason I settled on Marathon for my home port is the easy access to a large variety of fishing areas.  The fishing in Florida Bay totally blew my mind when I first got down here.  Catching over a hundred fish per trip is pretty phenomenal especially when you can land ten or more species in a single trip.  The last two years the Bay Side bite has been pretty good but nothing like it was three and more years ago due to algae blooms.  Thanks to the wickedly cold winter we had last year it appears that our algae problems are over for a while.  So this year you can experience the magic of Bay fishing without having to run 25 plus miles to find quality water.

As the fall progresses into winter cooling waters north of us will drive Spanish Mackerel, King Mackerel and Cobia into the Bay to join the fat Mangrove snapper, Lane Snapper and Gag Grouper that hang out back there.  Lady Fish, Blue Fish and a variety of sharks that may or may not be your cup will add to the variety.  While not common on every trip, gator sized Sea Trout, Sheeps Head, Hogfish, Permit and Redfish often pay the slick a visit.  It is a great time of the year for light tackle anglers looking for a workout.

The Bay Side action heats up as the water temperature cools.  A good rule of thumb is that when the water temperature off Tampa hits 70 degrees the Bay action peaks.  Thanksgiving is the average time things get going, but mid November normally provides plenty of action.  The action continues until water temperatures in the Bay drop below 70 degrees.  So you can count on hot Bay fishing until the middle of January and often the action will continue through March in a mild winter.

The past two years the size of the Spanish Mackerel has been about four pounds average after culling.  Before the algae situation the past couple of years seven pounds was a good culling size with fish pushing ten pounds not that uncommon.  A ten pound Spanish Mackerel is a bragging size fish that is a challenge on light spinning gear or a fly rod.  By light I mean 10 to 20 pound test because less than ten pound test is pretty frustrating when a 30 plus pound King or Cobia crashes the Spanish party.

If you have never experienced a red hot Bay bite you might want to make plans to play hooky a few days this year to get that off your bucket list.  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

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