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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Figured id write this post before the trip of what we have planned and follow up with the results, I hope this will be good feedback for anyone going there in the future.

Were (3 people) headed to marathon key from Feb 9th-12th

Flight with jetblue to ft. laderdale (have to pick up some gear in miami). Cost $180 Rountrip

Rental Car trailblazer from hertz around $200

Were staying at BananaBoat Resort, dont know how "resorty" it is but we have rooms with balconies and a bbq-grill on the water, they have a pool, jacuzzi, a few bars and most importantly a marina. They also claim that from the marina we could be in the atlantic in a few minutes. Cost is $220/night, I dont remember if they charge to dock your boat if you stay there, if they do I believe its $1/foot.

Were renting a boat from quality boat rentals (www.qualityboats.net) Were getting a 27 foot Seacat, equipped with twin 115 hp 4 stroke Yamaha engines, sonar, radar, GPS, full tower with outriggers, fresh water shower and 40 gallon live bait well. You can see the boat on their site under availible boats. They have some real nice prolines, but we couldnt resist taking the catamaran out to sea (should be nice).. They are also dropping the boat off for us at the hotel so it will be there when we get there. Were also shipping all our gear to the boat rental place and it will be on the boat when its dropped off. They deliver the boat fueled up and gotta return it that way. Cost is $1025 for the 3 days.

For one day of the trip were chartering a boat referred by Capt. Jeff From Catch-Em-All. He was booked, so he recomended someone. My friend booked him so Ill post the Boat and Captains name as soon as I get it. Cost is $650 + tip.. We'll probably give around $850 assuming they put in their work.

Should be a great trip, I guess i'll post the results of the trip on return.

PLEASE POST ANY ADVICE OR ANY SUGGESTIONS.

This post edited by GotTheBlues 11:55 PM 01/23/2008
 

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GotTheBlues ,Good to hear you fishimg with my good friend Capt Jeff ..You will have a great time he's a class act & can catch a fish or too..Tell him you want redfish big ones 50lbs of so..I had a great few day with him & the red fish topped it off..You may want to fish the full day with him for the extra 100 its worth it..Have a great time say hello to Jeff for me & give us a report when you get back
PS tell him the rods will be there soon I hope...


This post edited by CAPT RICHI 06:43 AM 01/24/2008
 

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Marathon

Sounds like you know what your doing and have a well thought out plan but heres a few things I usually think about when heading down there. Not sure what your target is in the boat either.

Did you book the charter before the rental? I try to get as much info from the charter captain to help my game out when I'm on my own. These guys have their finger on the pulse of the action and can probably read the 3 day weather and tide conditions better. The captain might save you some time with some key info that will put you on fish. If not I would give him a call and at least run through your game plan and numbers.
I usually try and book the charter for the first day in case weather screws things up too. Trip sounds great. I do the same thing with my wife each year.
Be prepared with some jigs and plugs. Throwing at rolling tarpon at bridges and inlets can be the best part of a trip outside. Jigging while bait's are out can give you some great surprise action and help you locate fish. Don't forget chum!!! I prefer Marathon over all the other keys, good choice.

Don't forget to feed the tarpon at Robbie's!

This post edited by ihavegills 10:11 AM 01/24/2008
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
ihavegills wrote:
Sounds like you know what your doing and have a well thought out plan but heres a few things I usually think about when heading down there................................


Thanks for the reply and the info:
I heard marathon is great, nice to see more positive feedback with the area. We wanted to charter the captain for the first but one of us is not showing till the 10th we had to book for the second day of the trip. What we did to make up for lost knowledge was one of my friends that is coming is good friends with a guide out there, so he's coming fishing with us the first day of the trip and hopefully we'll get some good pointers out of him. Weve also been looking at every marine map and chart plotter for any water info we can get.

Our purpose of that boat is to have great offshore capabilities as well as a very comfortable reef fishing boat, another selling point was it has windlas, not having to manually pull anchor for 3 days is nice. Our target is fish, we will big game fish and reef fish with it. Nice to be able to go out any time day or night. We were even thinking to go down to key west with the boat on monday night, fish and party in key west for the night, then pretty much troll back to marathon on tuesday.

Jigs/Plugs - Well thats our reason we have to stop in miami, my friend was in miami and picked up about $500 of jigs, plugs and all other tackle from bass pro shops last week and left it at his in-laws in miami.
Bait and chum, Live Goggleyes and pilchards is what i hear as premo bait especially for tarpon. Any particular Bait, jig, plug, lure of any kind work best for you down there?

Will difinitely check out robbies, never heard of it but that sounds pretty neat.

If anyone has any live bait, plugs/jigs that they favor out there please let me know.
 

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Robbie's is a great 10-15 min break on your ride south. MM (Mile Marker) 77. To me it's a "must do once", but do it every year.

In Feb. the wind can be a problem but there is consistant sea trout action. It's I quiet time of year too and you can get some good, quiet inside and shore action if you keep your eyes peeled. Outside depends on how much time you put in. Spro's, Bomber and tsunami plugs (rattle) make up most of my tarpon and jigging tackle. It's hard to prep for everything. Don't be surprised when the plugs get cracked. Another tip, after dark, walk around well lit peers. The bait and shrimp congregate and you may see some big grouper and tarpon cruise. Some nights I've had several large tarpon where you'd never expect and site fish for them at night and catch on the fly. Don't forget ultra-lite. Bones pop up often on shores of the local resorts and you may have a shot.

Sorry I'm gabbing, I get excited when I talk about Marathon. Going to miss it this year! I have a pole in my hand for 65 of the 72hrs I'm down there. Your never prepared for what you bump into.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Gab Away. The more info the better, I want to try to get this post to have as much info for fishing marathon key.

Any tips with grouper fishing over there, I will not leave without a fresh grouper sandwich.

I take it that pic was taken at robbies, that looks awesome, definitely gonna stop by.

This post edited by GotTheBlues 01:13 PM 01/24/2008
 

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Live bait with an egg sinker, 60 fluro, 7/0 gama works great for grouper. I think the limit was 24". I can't tell you ALL the amazing tales but I was getting spanish mackerel and false albies on an 8wt fly (Look downs, Baracuda, various grunts, snapper and small grouper too!) and I remembered how great small falsie's were for grouper in CR. With that a huge grouper inhales the Spanish mack. I knew I never had a chance of getting him in on the 1/0 fly. He held on for about 5 minutes and finally coughed out the mack, which still got released. As I watched the mack dart, a dolphin nailed him! Live span.macks and false albies are the ticket but hard to get. I know in Bahamas, grouper fisherman are very picky with their grouper bait and will not use mullet, only pilchard, macks, and mini albies. If you don't get your own you can get a grouper or mahi burger every 1/4 mile on the strip. TRY HARD to get your own.
 

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Marathon........ The Keys

A few years ago we took a bottom fishing charter in Marathon for the best day I ever had had bottom fishing. Capt. set us sand-balling for yellow tails and jigging for gags and jacks. Lost count of the fish. An enormous hammerhead cut a grouper in half, it was an amazing site

Key West harbor is fairly dependable for Tarpon and Permit, especially if you plan to chum.Try the Gulf side behind the Naval Air Station, (my secret spot lol) if it's to windy up front.

You should do well with the sails next month as well. Go to the World Class Angler and ask for advice. Good Luck !!!!

Regards,

Stu
 

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I agree that if you can charter the first day, it will help guide the rest of your fishing. Don't skimp on chum and hit the patch reefs for pinfish (careful to abide by the regs down there and I imagine you know you need the saltwater license-I think they sell a 3-day and I know they sell a 7-day) and then send them down on the bottom at the reef for nice grouper and lots of other species. We did very well outside of the Sombrero reef area for grouper and flag yellowtails. Also, we like the live shrimp for the yellowtail over the other baits and use fluorocarbon all the time. Slowly let you line out-just free floating with no weight until you find the distance and depth of the yellowtail.

Don't forget the snorkeling gear and if the conditions are calm you can tie up to one of the balls at Sombrero-saw loads of stuff on that reef. Take your fresh catch to one of the local restaurants and you will be full and happy. Try the Cracked Conch cafe with your fresh catch and you will not be disappointed. Curious to hear how you make out with the boat rental place. We found that Jeffs Boats was pretty good-they are also in Marathon.

Catch em up.

Respectfully,

Jealous and stuck in NY (AKA Billfish).
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Starting to look at the weather now a few days before the trip, not looking to awesome with the east winds. Still 3 days away so this isnt concerning me too much, however its definitely got my attention. Ive seen them wrong before with the marine forcasts ;)

SUNDAY...NORTH TO NORTHEAST WINDS NEAR 20 KNOTS. SEAS BEYOND THE REEF BUILDING TO 4 TO 7 FEET. SEAS HIGHER IN THE GULF STREAM. SEAS INSIDE THE REEF 2 TO 3 FEET. NEARSHORE WATERS ROUGH. ISOLATED SHOWERS. .MONDAY...NORTHEAST WINDS NEAR 20 KNOTS. SEAS BEYOND THE REEF 5 TO 7 FEET...EXCEPT HIGHER IN THE GULF STREAM. SEAS INSIDE THE REEF 2 TO 3 FEET. NEARSHORE WATERS ROUGH. ISOLATED SHOWERS

This post edited by GotTheBlues 01:26 AM 02/07/2008
 

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Northeast to East winds brings the Sailfish in..I have fished the reef & gulf in 25kts winds not so bad as long as you stay away from the gulf stream It will still be great..Have fun bring sun block
 

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Going back Feb 24th ......... to Geiger Key this time

This starts the second year of ocean fishing for me.
I was just fishing in Marathon mid Jan.
I went out on the Marathon Lady, (mile marker 53) it was a nice time.
Capt and crew were great.

We just went on the reefs, small stuff but did have some fun with some Mackerel.
The Capt went outta his way, providing us with nice rods for the Mack.
I was just amazed at the tropical fish, being from NY State, I have never seen such colors in real life.

I went to the Cracked Conch cafe twice, the service was spectacular in the evening and food was VG.
I stayed at the Sombrero Hotel and Marina one night.
It was clean and quiet. Cost was about $150. per night.
They have a lot of slips and it was peaceful, (I don't care for a big party atmosphere)

Captain Hook's bait shop (next to Marathon Lady) had nice T's and Tank tops for sale that were Made in the USA,
if ya want gifts to bring back.
I am going to Big Coppitt Key in a couple weeks.
I am looking to go out on the Gulf Stream III in Key West, anyone been on her?

Here is a pic of a very cool fish with the Capt. and me and my Mack.

Also a pic from the Marina Hotel, from our balcony, around the corner there are many more slips,
bow or stern in, not sideways like these.

Above all else... enjoy the warmth and beauty!! Have a great trip!

check this out: http://outdoorsbest.zeroforum.com/zerothread?id=615140

This post edited by 1dogshy 12:33 PM 02/07/2008
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Well, getting ready to go, flights in a few hours. The seas did not change at all if anything they got worse, hope their still wrong. Thanks for all the info of the area and I'll be back wednesday to follow up this post.

Over and out
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Sorry about the really late follow up, I forgot about the post.

The wind never let down, we got there with a 25-30 NE wind and it stayed that way till the day we left, last day there wind switched to SE.

AIRPORT:
The trip started great, the first 8 pieces of luggage that came off the plane were ours, that was kind of retarted since I never had one piece of my luggage come out first (we did tip the guy at the airport about $25, dont know if thats the reason but a possibility)
We get to herz car rental and they are totally sold out, even though we reserved, confirmed 5 times somehow they did not have one car in the whole lot. They sent us to avis and avis honored our herz rate and gave us a real nice ford expedition.

RESORT:
Got to Banana Bay Resort around 4:30am. Real nice place to stay, has a real nice nature vibe with a great staff. Our room was right next to the resorts marina, and sure enough our rental boat was there waiting for us. They had a nice pool and jacuzzi and served breakfast at the pool which was a nice relaxing way to start the days before we head out. Not alot of people there, which made it real nice and relaxing.

BOAT:
27 foot seacat, this was awesome, too bad we had such sloppy seas we couldnt really enjoy it, even when we stayed in the gulf the wind was whipping, made anchoring or drifting impossible. But the boat itself for its price was unreal, nice size livewell, huge cooler, walkaround type boat made it very easy to fight fish (not that we fought too many). The boat was at our hotel marina when we got there, and it was picked up after we left which was very convenient.

DAY 1:
Went out late since we got there at like 4:30am and only was only able to put up with the sloppiness for a few hours, fished the reef had some life but nothing exciting coming on deck. Our 4th friend that was coming said he just landed so we should start heading back. On the way back we decided to troll it. We just let out 2 lines with these http://allwatersfishing.com/popup_image.php?pID=14679 rapala 15 foot divers in the color shown. Whithin a few minutes we get a huge double hookup, one gets off now its just me fighting a fish and my friend waiting with the gaff. Finaly right on the side of the boat Its a huge cobia, at least twice the size of any striper ive ever caught which is about 30lb, my friend gaffs and misses fish takes another run, I ran around that boat like 5 times got him leadered about 5 times as well just couldnt get the gaff in in him and each time we miss its another 5 minute run, takes one last run right into the props and he's gone. Does the cobia ever just tire out? Not a difficult fish to gaff either as each time he came up sideways just floating like he was done.
The gaff came with the boat, so we felt we didnt need one, BIG MISTAKE, we brought everything could possibly need except a gaff. We just sat there wondering in a daze why we couldnt stick the fish, we look at the gaff it was sooo dull I dont think we could stick that thing through jello, Lesson Learned.
Location of this fight was between the reef and the marathon side of the 7 mile bridge. Headed back for food and pick our friends up.

Night 1: went out, blowing over 35 NE, headed right back in.

Day 2: Stayed in the gulf, some small snappers, wind was still at over 30 NE

Night 2: Stayed in

Day 3: Decided to do a back country charter, probably the most fun we had on the trip. Got out of the wind for most part still some gusts at some areas, but raining hard most of the outing, didnt matter. We were killing the redfish, snook, tarpon, jewfish. Caught over 100 between 3 anglers. Had one real nice redfish at like 12 pounds. All were caught with live pilchards that we netted, the rigs were just a yellow (i think 1/4 ounce) jig heads, all on light tackle. The tarpon was probably most fun.

Evening 3:
Took whatever we had left of bait and went on our boat for one more short run, hit a couple of mangrove snaps and that was our trip.

For food we kept going to this place called burdines, really awesome food, yellowfin tuna snadwhich was my favorite, the mahi sandwhich was great too. Never made it to robbies.

Not a great fishing adventure as we hoped but it was still better than sitting at work in brooklyn.

Heres a couple of pics, ill add more soon.
1- The Rental Boat
2- Coconuts with rum
3- Joe (gailforceII) fighting a big red.
4- Big Red
5- View from porch of hotel









 

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I learned a few years back that right through April, it is considered their 'winter' down there and altohugh the fishing is there, often you cannot get out because the winds are blowing. A lot of the natives also seem 'spoiled' to me, so that when we did get out and it was blowing 15-20 they thought the capt was crazy to go in those conditions. The grouper fishing was awesome though at that time. I like May and June, but we have had some pretty rainy times in June as well and people think I am crazy to go in August, but we have had a lot of fun then because you can fish and usually get in a lot of good snorkeling because the winds are so light at that time of year.

I guess its always paradise whenever you go.
 
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