View Full Version : Fishing Opps in Keys - June 9th & 10th ?
Pat N Mike
05-16-2007, 11:56 AM
I'm an experienced angler heading down to Marathon after a several year hiatus. We used to fish there every year and mainly stuck to offshore for dolphin and reef for Ytail snap., grouper, etc. We're renting a 23' Parker and would like to fish offshore for dolphin mostly.
Questions: So many....Where to start ?
1. While dolphin trolling, can we expect any marlin ? hoos ? Any particular method, we had planned to drag a door knob for the marlin and maybe a yozuri bonita or similar on wire for hoos. Any chance to luck into some blackfin tuna ? What could we expect if we try to hit the Marathon Humps ? They're about 40 miles out ?
2. How far out should we start for dolphin? Planned to head for 30 miles, fishing any debris we see and then speed trolling or run-and-gunning. Put out some dolphin feathers, some yummee flying fish, etc... Best bait for pitch bait once we find them ? Where to get it ?
3. If Mother Nature won't let us deep, what else can we do ? Tarpon around the bridge ? Would love to concentrate on larger grouper, but where ? 100 + feet outside the reef, any particular bait or lure ?
Any other suggestions are welcomed. Thanks in advance. Will trade a ches. or mid-atlantic trip for info !!! ;-)
Pat N Mike
05-16-2007, 12:41 PM
get in touch with Dave Navarro at the World Class Angler in MArathon,305-743-6139, tell him CApt Bob from Tidal fish told ya to call...Dolphin are plentiful out past the reef under just about any debris and under any working frigate birds you may see, also Sailfish will be in that same general area...a few Blue's have risen to pulled baits and have actually attacked some of the hooked Dolphin...
a big bait like a jack down deep on a wreck stands you a good shot at a Goliath or a major wreck guard...( just bring plenty of Aleve and Tylenol.) Wahoo have been sporadic recently but those caught were big and caught down deep over wrecks...
What to expect if you hit the Humps....lot's of company...lol...on good days the Tuna have been plentiful and co-operative...
Tarpon are around every bridge at the moment and have a major presence on all the flats, you'll see acres of them...getting them to bite may be another story...Pin fish struggling under a float or free lined live crabs (w/o pincers), or large live shrimp improve the odds of a bite.
grab a copy of the Weekly fisherman when you get down here and check out the fishing report in the KEynoter as well, on thurs night the World Class Angler has a seminar @6:30 pm,,,you can gleen copious of up to date info there...
some of the patch reefs in Hawks channel are holding some really nice grouper and snapper right now also
I'll be back from my trip on the 1st so I may have some better info when I get back, where are you staying??
Patrick, June is a great month in the Keys, but watch for thunderstorms. The dolphin can be anywhere passed the reef line which means as close as 6 miles from the cut. But as the summer wears on they may trend farther offshore. The key is getting out early and finding the larger weed lines and the frigate birds. A basic ballyhoo spread is very effective and a horse/islander in the mix in case "She" shows up is a good idea. For bailing cut ballyhoo or pilchards works well. And yes blackfins are possable.
Fishing out of Marathon and or Islamorada I have never found a reason to run further than the Humps which hold fish year round, and the weed lines from 10 to 15 miles out have it all (including swordfish if you are inclined to fish at night).
Sails are also preasent in the summer, not in peak numbers, but they are there. Fish from 80 feet out t0 250 feet just past the reef, slow troll naked dink hoos, and put your Cairns or a purple Stretch 30 out for a wahoo. (more common just off the reef than out in the deep).
Inshore early summer is the best time of the year. Tarpon are everywhere and the larger
muttons and mangrove snapper move into the shallow water patch reefs in big numbers.
Find patches of coral along the Hawks Channel in 10- 20 feet of water. Anchor up current about 20 yards and chum. Use chunks of ballyhoo or bonita or live pilchards. Teh chunks should be about the same size as the alwife chunks we use when chumming in the Bay for rock. Fish the chunks on the bottom. Ignore taps, and wait for the bait to "swim" off before setting the hook. I have caught Muttons up to 16 pounds this time of year in 10 feet of water.
Good luck, you will have a blast. Most of us think of visiting the Keys during the winter months. But in the summer it kicks ass.
05-18-2007, 07:01 PM
Pat and Mike, I'd love to take you up on the ho offer up here. Shoot me a bmail if you have any specific questions not answered here. Where are you staying in Marathon?
Good luck with your trip, I agree 100% with what's been said in the other posts, especially rbr. I don't fish the keys as much as I did in the old days, now I'm good if I get 1 or two trips a year. Last year we fished for a week early June out of Big Pine. We found loads of large Tarpon, on the flats and in the channels, we caught them best on live crabs free lined and on live pinfish under a cork as indicated above. Use 80# mono leader on a large circle hook on so you don't kill them.
As for offshore, we had a beautiful week of weather. I ran my 17' Montauk almost 25 miles from shore out to about 800' a few days. We were finding scattered weeds in close with small schoolie dolphin within 5 miles of the reef but most of those were barely legal. The better ones we found were on logs and boards well offshore but we didn't get anything big. I've been to the hump a couple times when we stayed on Plantation once but we didn't have much luck there so I can't comment. If you see busting tuna (which you probably will) try throwing something like a deadly dick on a light spinner at them. Oh, bring a spear gun if you have one, even a hawiaan sling, possibly a net. We saw loads of tripple tail on those boards offshore but they wouldn't eat anything, even live shrimp. The only one we got swam into a 5 gallon bucket and I just picked it up, good eating. I tried to free gaff a few but they have tough skin and I just couldn't stick one.
After you've had enough offshore stuff head into the reef, anchor in 60 - 100' of water. No special spots, look for a sharp drop off along the reef, other anchored boats will clue you into the good spots. Bring a lot of chum, one day I went through a case of 10 boxes and had one of my best days. Chum like drunken sailers until you get the yellowtail snapper going. Catch a few of them and after a while try dropping a large chunk of one or a butterflied one down to the bottom on your heavy rods and see if anyone's home.
Plantation fisheries (on Plantation) is a good place for bulk bait and they have good fresh bally's but you should be able to catch them yourself just about anywhere.
Pat N Mike
05-22-2007, 02:51 PM
One thing I forgot to mention, I will need some bait. I need to call the marina and see if they have it, if not, where's the best place to pick up some pinfish, shrimp and chunk bait ?
My Run & Gun will consist of some trolled feathers\dolphin candy off the flats, put a door-knob out for a 'larger' fish. Maybe even a spreader or two for comotion, & some skirted ballyhoo for sure. I don't intend to use meat so we can pick up the pace if need be. I think we were doing 8 or 9 knots the last time down around some of the weed-lines ?? The baits were skipping nicely and we had plenty hit the lures while blind trolling and then bailed once we found them.
Bob- Thanks for the reply ! We're staying at the Sombrero Cay Club ? Never stayed there before, we had always rented a house on the canals in KCB in the past, but for two days, we just went cheap ! I think our plans are to head offshore looking for dolphin on Sat. We can't get the boat until 8:00am so we'll just take our time and run & gun around the 25 - 30 mile range looking for birds\dolphin etc ( Do you think that 25-30 miles is overkill ? ). We'll try to wake up early on Sunday and head to the humps looking for tuna and dolphin. The reef and flats fishing is only if the weather blows us off our plans.
We intend to get plenty of pinfish and maybe shrimp so we can easily get the dolphin and tuna we do find to chomp the metal. I have to call the marina at Sombrero Cay to see if they have live bait. I'll certainly pester you for the latest once you return from your trip. Thanks again for the info.
Bert- So you think 25-30 miles is overkill. In the past, we fished the 15 - 20 and did OK, but as soon as we went out to 25 or more, we absolutely slaughtered them. More and larger fish consistently. With only two days to fish, I'll spend the gas to fish better water. Of course, no flotsum or weeds will be overlooked on the way out! ;-) thanks for the help.
WB- Thanks, I'll take you up on your bmail offer. I have to get my stuff together then I'll let you know my exact plans and maybe you can give it your seal of approval.
Thanks guys for the input, it's appreciated !
Pat N Mike
05-22-2007, 05:20 PM
Staying at Sombrero you'll be about 3 minutes from me ( I'm up on 75th st) so I'll be around when ya get here
as for bait I don't know about the marina, but my first choice, would be The World Class Angler on Overseas Hwy is about a quarter mile south on the right of where you will turn to go to Sombrero and Dave always has plenty of quality bait and his prices have always been reasonable...mention you are from this board, he's real close to coming on as a Commercial Subscriber ( that is if Dave isn't out fishing) you will need to bring a bucket as he doesn't loan any except to God and even he needs ID
Big Time Tackle North up near the Causeway to KCB also has quality tackle and bait and further south The Tackle Box ( small yellow building on the left) is under new owners and have started carrying live bait as well, but I do not know about their prices or quality as yet
My favorite water hole is the The Island Fish Co, it's on the right as you come into Marathon proper, it has the helipad out on the point at the end of the parking lot...food is very good, prices are right and the portions send no one away hungry and the waitresses are cute to boot!
off to sleep now...up at 2am to head to Fort Lauderdale and the Buffet Capital of the World
Pat N Mike
05-29-2007, 08:03 AM
Awesome info!! We can't get the boat until 8:00am on Sat. so we'll head over to see Dave in the morning for the latest report and bait. If you're close, I'd love to buy you dinner on Sat or Sunday night to thank you for your help.
"I'll take 'who you know' over 'what you know' any day of the week ! "