Marathon FL

Headed south mid Jan to meet friends and fish.
They mostly bottom fish both coast any recommendations on trolling areas and what’s running this time of year.
Thank you ahead of time.

I only spearfished there (many times actually), but from what I understand the sailfish action should be heating up there from about now through Feb\March. If that is true, the action is usually just out past the reef in < 200 foot of water (which is only a handful of miles offshore). Down there, live bait is typically the trend for sails.

What size boat? 30 mile out of Vaca cut and you’re at Marathon hump. Would look into that.600-1400’deep from what I recall.

Winds and temps dictate the pelagics to target. Sailfish and wahoo 100-200’ amidst cold fronts and N winds. If you get a SE wind for a few days in a row, go deeper and look for debris or weeds. Also look for frigate birds. Birds will produce BFT and debris and weeds may have some Mahi. Look for Cobia on the reef. Marathon Hump is about 28 miles out and goes from 1000’ deep up to around 500’.

Mike Martinez

"Team Hookers Dream”

2017 Robalo R302 twin 300 yams “Roballin”

Boat is a 23’ World Cat.
I’ve heard of the hump, just wasn’t sure how far out it was.
It’s my understanding that winds play a huge part in selecting what coast to fish.
Boat and condo are located at Key Colony.
I will be following local reports until our arrival.
Great input guys.
Thanks again.


Offshore is very similar fishing to Charleston this time of year. Wahoo, blackfin, and a few mauis hanging around right now. Live bait is king but you can scale everything back to 60lb fluoro or less, small 4/0 to 6/0 j hooks and troll ballyhoo. The color pink produces big down here. Humps are full of rat blackfin. 4in natural cedar plugs on long, lite fluoro leaders will produce all day as will small tuna darts with no meat. It is a short run compared to what we do back home but it is dangerous water. Lots of heavy bottom structure with ripping 4knt currents offshore and an East wind can get you in trouble really quick. You’ll be fine, just be smart.

As for reef fishing, buy 25lb blocks of chum and make sand balls with sand and a melted block of chum. You can call me for details on that and if you have a garmin or simrad I can shoot you some reef numbers. Small jigs for yellowtail and nothing over 17lb fluoro leader. Make sure your bait is drifting the same speed as the chum. Also, keep all bonitas that you catch. Top natural bait for muttons, mangroves, yellowtail etc if you’re not fishing with live bait. Cero macks are around and the colder it gets, the bigger the kings. While anchored up yellow tailing you will catch your hardtails, speedos, maybe a bonita. Ballyhoo will also swim into your chum slick. Either be good with a 10+ft net or you can catch them one at a time with a tiny gold aberdeen bream hook and a piece of shrimp the size of your pinky fingernail. Put any of them back in the water with some wire or straight mono and see what happens.

Good luck

Do not tell fish stories where the people know you; but particularly, don’t tell them where they know the fish.

  • More Maxims of Mark, Johnson, 1927

31’ Contender
250 HPDIs

I’ve been a few times this time of year targeting sails with kites and flat lines. Sabiki some bait at a tower/buoy and slow troll with the kites and put some flat lines out. Finish the day with some bottom fish. Fished from Jupiter Inlet down to Miami. The Keys should be hot right now.

Go load up on Pilchards, and head to the hump early morning and fish for BFT’s. If you’re not setup for kite fishing for sailfish, then go to the reef and follow what Touche mentioned. The Yellowtail bite is good right now and is always fun. Prob my favorite fish to eat down that way.