Stop Wishing, Go Fishing

Stop Wishing, Go Fishing

Jim Berringer, a long-time Hawks Nest resident, landed this 21-pound mutton snapper in 20 feet of water on 15-pound test with a little help from Capt. Mike Nealis.

The waters surrounding the Marathon area are loaded with fish of all shapes and sizes. On the color change, there are still quite a number of dolphin coming through with sizeable black fin tuna mixed in. Fresh tuna is truly hard to beat – whether you like sushi or prefer it grilled or blackened, it cannot be beat.

A fair number of sailfish are also in the area, which is honestly pretty typical for this time of the year. Live baiting “the edge” or color change can be quite exciting as you just never know what will pop up and take the bait. It could be dolphin, sharks, tuna, sailfish, kingfish, wahoo or cero mackerel.

Anglers aboard The Best Bet are enjoying warm weather, calm waters and decent dolphin catches as they continue to remain in Keys waters.

Just offshore on the wrecks, the big mutton snapper continue to add a lot of color to the coolers with some fish approaching the 20-pound mark. There have also been a good amount of big and small jacks on these spots. Amberjacks over 30 pounds will test any anglers’ endurance level – they are tough that put up quite a fight and make for a fun catch!

Back inside on the patch reefs, the action is never ending with mangrove snapper, mutton snapper and lots of grouper. Though grouper are fun to land and seem to be in greater abundance since the season closure at the beginning of the year, please remember they are illegal to harvest until May 1. So, please release them unharmed. Kingfish, spanish and cero mackerel, as well as a variety of other species, are all ready to thrill any anglers’ skill on the patch reefs.

So, stop wishing…get out there and go fishing!

Best Bet for the week ahead: Check the weather reports, and be open to some flexibility in the scheduling of your charter. Patch reefs are great for filling coolers in the morning, and then head offshore in the afternoon to work the color change.


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