Marathon Florida Fishing trip advice


Headed down to Marathon FL for the first time with the boat at the end of February. Any advice on finding live bait, places to find critters, or what I should target and do would be amazing! If you are so kind as to share a spot hit me on the DM and I will keep it private, I bought one of the Hot Spots maps but those can be hit or miss.

I got the Boat and trailer squared away with extra hub, new brakes, spare tire, and also plan on taking the toll roads when I can.


Grady White 258 WA
"Just for the Halibut"
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I am in Marathon now, been here two weeks. It's my first trip, here is what I know so far, hope it helps

Lots of grunts, everywhere. Its the main fish you will catch.

You are lucky to get two good boating days a week in, the fan blows a lot. Today is 25kts.

Baitfish are fairly easy in a cast net. Look for balls of bait on your sounder in 5-8 feet.

Fish Washerwoman Shoals and/or Sombrero Beach Light first to get the feel of things.

There is a reef/hard bottom running for miles horizontal to the shore on the Atlantic side in 85-95 feet of water. Good fishing all along that line. You will see boats anchored about 3 or 4 miles offshore, they are likely sitting on that long reef.

Keep an eye on your sounder, lots of small patch reefs that can be fished.

Most everyone buys blocks of chum and floats them off the stern. Then you simply drop your baits in the chum line and wait.

Small hooks are your friend. The water is clear and the fish are line and tackle shy.

You can buy live shrimp, they are generally $4 a dozen and work well around the mangroves. Bait shops are aplenty for chum and shrimp. I havent figured out how to catch shrimp yet.

Island fish company has $3 stone crab claws at happy hour. The Poke bowls are awesome. Also sparkys has 30 cent wings and 30 cent shrimp at happy hour. Supper on the cheap and good eats.

There is a uninhabited key called Bamboo key on the gulf side of Marathon. We set up in 10 feet of water on the offshore side of Bamboo (about 1/4 mile offshore of the key) with chum bags and caught some decent fish one day.

With the size of your grady you should be able to fish the reef in 90 feet I told you about earlier, if it were me I would concentrate on that area, then branch out depending on how long you are staying.

Best of Luck



Hey HA-EF,

Is it worth hauling a boat, or would it just be easier to fish a few days with guides? Also, how about renting a boat instead of hauling? After doing it once, what is your take on it?

Here is something I found about renting at pretty reasonable prices:

https://www.cocosboatrentals.com/

Last edited by Richard Beer Froth


I was planning to hire a guide when we first got here, but got lucky because the guy next door has a 19' Hydra Sport CC and has been coming down here for several years. He basically told me what I regurgitated above and so far he's been right. I'm sure a guide would flatten the curve and I'd be catching more fish, but $600 buys a ton of gas and bait.

Most of the boats are like you posted ,(ballpark) $200 a day plus gas, tip, travel and parking, etc...... They all look adequate for sure, so if you were here for only a week or so you probably would be better off renting. Keep in mind you still need your own tackle.

But if you are here longer it is absolutely worth it to have your own boat sitting in the water with the keys in it. Even though it might be too windy to fish some days, there are days when you can joyride on the leeward side and it's simply amazing. A single booze cruise thru Boot Key Harbor and out Sister Creek into the gulf and back home is alone worth the tow.

I like my own boat and my own stuff. I like being able to come and go as mother nature pleases. I like fishing on a whim. I like booze cruzing aqua blue see thru water. I like other people looking at me like they wish they had have towed their own boat down.

So yeah, I guess it boils down to what you are into, who you are with, and how long you are staying and how much cash you want to throw at it.

One thing is for sure, either way you can buy the damned fish much cheaper.


One thing is for sure, either way you can buy the damned fish much cheaper.

Originally posted by HEAD ADMINISTRATOR--Edisto Fisher



Spitting the truth...

Thanks for your perspective... Kinda what I thought... I kinda lean towards the old wisdom of:

If it flies, floats or f----, rent it... For me, 2 outta 3 ain't bad... bigsmile
Last edited by Richard Beer Froth


One thing is for sure, either way you can buy the damned fish much cheaper.

Originally posted by HEAD ADMINISTRATOR--Edisto Fisher


I think I got it down to about $1,000/lbs so far.

Thanks for the post, this is amazing. We are going to do a family/fishing getaway so there will be a bit of booze cruising for sure.


Grady White 258 WA
"Just for the Halibut"
I've hauled boats down there since the early nineties. I know what kind of shape my boat is in. A rental breaks down and a day is ruined. If others are rented, a trip is ruined. Like EF said, you don't always get many days. That trip is something I look forward to.

If you just want to entertain kids, go bayside, look for dark patches, drop chum bag. Tons of little ones. Eventually a curious grouper will show up, then a shark or two will ruin the party.

If you don't have private ramp, the one behind Coast Guard station used to be best public. Right at Seven Mile bridge. Key Colony has decent eats and used to have a nine hole course for the non-fishable days. Dolphin research center up the road is cool.

Never been in Feb, but there may be a few lobster under your dock. They are out of season, so you cant snag a couple for dinner. I'm not sure that applies at night. Depends on you.

Take a couple of complete spare hubs. Have fun.
Never fished out of Marathon, but always wanted too... Been to KW many times, and just chartered with captains... I usually always fly directly in too... I flew into Miami my first trip, and drove from there... Pretty area...
Last edited by Richard Beer Froth
Never fished out of Marathon, but always wanted too... Been to KW many times, and just chartered with captains... I usually always fly directly in too... I flew into Miami my first trip, and drove from there... Pretty area... Originally posted by Richard Beer Froth


The drive from Homestead down is enjoyable. Never flew into Marathon or KW, but imagine that would be great.

The drive from Homestead down is enjoyable. Never flew into Marathon or KW, but imagine that would be great.Originally posted by 7cs


Yeah, I liked it... Made it easy... Had a timeshare in KW and they picked up and brought you back to the airport for free... Rented bikes a few times, and you could get anywhere you needed... I am a low maintenance person... Heck, I could fish off of 7 mile bridge with a cuban yoyo and be entertained/happy... Have 2 of them I put in my luggage to fish with around KW... Got a few snapper, etc.

Last edited by Richard Beer Froth
I have a trip booked the 2nd week of March with the GF. Mostly R&R. Staying at Capt Pips'. Not doing a charter but do plan to fish the bridges a couple times. They say the wind blows more often than not. Any fresh fish would be a winner with me. Just so looking forward to some 80 degree weather and ass in the sand and toes in the water - not a worry.........will follow up


J Ford





 

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