It is that time of the year again, dolphin season; and there is no better way to kick off the season than by fishing the 5th Annual Marathon Offshore Bull and Cow Tournament. The Middle Keys biggest fishing competition offers something for all anglers and has prizes in 11 different categories. For information on how to sign up you can stop by Big Time Bait and Tackle at MM 54, call (305) 289-0199, or learn more by surfing over to marathonoffshoretournament.com.
The Bull and Cow is followed by the Habitat for Humanity Mother’s Day Dolphin Tournament that helps put housing on the ground for deserving families of the Middle Keys. Contact Capt. Doug Mayer for more info by dialing (305) 393-6375 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. (Read more on page 22.)
The dolphin fishing this past week has really started to pick up. We have been finding a lot of nice gaffers and big schoolies from the edge of the reef out to 650 feet of water. In the shallower water, look for color changes and small white birds diving in the sargasm grass to be on schools of smaller fish. You may have to weed through them a bit, but there is plenty of keeper size fish mixed in.
Further offshore, the edge of the gulfstream has been about ten miles off of Marathon and this is where we have found our larger fish. The frigate birds have been the tell tale sign for these gaffers. Trolling rigged ballyhoo has worked but the best results have come from pitching live baits at the fish.
The bite on the reef had slowed a bit with the full moon but the last couple of days the yellowtail bite has picked up. 50-90 feet has been most productive.
Inshore the tarpon bite does not get any better. The bridge fishing throughout the keys has been nothing short of spectacular. For those of you who do not like to head offshore and would like the opportunity to fight a true game fish in clam waters now is your opportunity. We have been getting multiple hook ups on every trip and landing several fish. Expect the tarpon bite to continue to be hot for the next couple of months.
Best bet for the week ahead: Sign up to fish the Big Time’s Bull and Cow Tournament, followed by the Habitat for Humanity Mother’s Day Tournament the following weekend.