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Live Bait in Marathon in March

Coming March 21 (if the State doesn't shut down) for a week.  Have been to the Keys many times but never in the Spring, I'm usually either right at New Years, or dog days of summer.  Anyways, what type of bait will be easiest to find at that time?  Pilchards?  Ballyhoo? Sardines?  Also, if I strike out on bait, numbers for bait boats currently working the Marathon area, specifically around Sister's Creek, would be appreciated.  Thanks in advance. 


  • xeniaxenia Posts: 693 Officer
    You should be able to get ballyhoo on the reef or the patches, but someone may chime in with some spots for pilchards.  I never fished Marathon in spring, but I used to have no problem getting horse pilchards in the north Key Largo area in March and April along the shore.  Just look for diving pelicans or royal terns.  Did see ballyhoo boats wrap their net around schools of spawning pilchards in the Garden Cove area once.  When they couldn't sell them, they just dumped them back in the water.  Thousands of pounds of pilchards full of eggs floating around.  What a waste.  I'd take their license away and never let them fish again.
  • fixedratefixedrate Posts: 199 Deckhand
    i second the beach flats.  we are up the road in islamorada.  but i just run the beachside and look for the pelicans sitting on the water is a great place to start.  shallower the better
  • kayakerinkeywestkayakerinkeywest Posts: 568 Officer
    Mullet and Pilchards were everywhere today in lower keys.  Pelicans were out in force pointing them out. 
    Youtube - KEY WEST KAYAK FISHING https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCkGY6yxE8kogYHKXisMhA2w
    All About The Bait Store - http://www.allaboutthebait.com/
  • L8RBRAL8RBRA St. LouisPosts: 405 Deckhand
    If you poke around canals you might be able to spot pilchards. Its a hunt though.
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