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Fishing in Marathon?

Hey!!! Im sure you folks on this web site get this question asked alot but here it goes any way. My family will be staying in Marathon from the 2nd - 8th of March, My son (9 yr old) and I are avid fishermen from ND and we have never fished salt water before. We willl be on a limited budget so im hoping to atleast shore fish while we are there or even fish the canal behind our rental. We would be very open to any and all sugestions that you may have. I want to make this trip somthing that we will never forget. Thank for your time and tight lines!!!! :fishing

Steve

Replies

  • aquasport190aquasport190 Posts: 337 Officer
    Where is your house located? That will help with good places around you to fish from shore. Behind your house in the canal will probably have small snapper, grunts and other assorted little fish. You can catch them on dead shrimp. Just rig up iike you were going to fish for walleye but thread a shrimp on the hook or jig instead of a nightcrawler :) You'll also have shaks and stingrays cruise through the canals from time to time. Put your heavier rod out there, on the bottom, with a big hunk of fish. obviously you'll want a bigger hook and wire leader for them.

    Away from your house, your best bet is to fish the bridges. You can also fish from shore near the 7 Mile Bridge and the Vaca Cut Bridge. If you have a bucket, you can buy live shrimp for bait - they work well. You'll aslo want to get some cut bait. A pack of fresh ballyhoo is a great bait. You can also get them frozen and they work pretty good too. Cut into 1 inch steaks and use on a bottom rig. You can also buy a 3-pack of pre-rigged ballyhoo. They're meant for trolling offshore for pelagic fish but they work great drifted for big barracuda. Throw one out as far out as you can and just let it hand out. Or, you can cast it and reel it. A barracuda will hit it. Maybe a big jack will as well.

    Ask around at your local tackle shop to see what's hitting and get some local advice. Big Time Bait and Tackle is good. Also, right at Vaca Cut is Captain Hook's. The Tackle Box is closer to the 7 Mile Bridge.

    If you need to buy a lot of tackle, the Kmart has a fishing section and you can get a lot of stuff cheaper. Get your bait and advice at the tackle shop. Publix, Walgreens and lots of other places have frozen bait. If your wife's running out to get some ice cream and a bottle of Pinot Grigio, tell her to throw a pack of frozen shrimp and mullet in the cart too. :)
  • mikeloewmikeloew Posts: 362 Deckhand
    Where is your house located? That will help with good places around you to fish from shore. Behind your house in the canal will probably have small snapper, grunts and other assorted little fish. You can catch them on dead shrimp. Just rig up iike you were going to fish for walleye but thread a shrimp on the hook or jig instead of a nightcrawler :) You'll also have shaks and stingrays cruise through the canals from time to time. Put your heavier rod out there, on the bottom, with a big hunk of fish. obviously you'll want a bigger hook and wire leader for them.

    Away from your house, your best bet is to fish the bridges. You can also fish from shore near the 7 Mile Bridge and the Vaca Cut Bridge. If you have a bucket, you can buy live shrimp for bait - they work well. You'll aslo want to get some cut bait. A pack of fresh ballyhoo is a great bait. You can also get them frozen and they work pretty good too. Cut into 1 inch steaks and use on a bottom rig. You can also buy a 3-pack of pre-rigged ballyhoo. They're meant for trolling offshore for pelagic fish but they work great drifted for big barracuda. Throw one out as far out as you can and just let it hand out. Or, you can cast it and reel it. A barracuda will hit it. Maybe a big jack will as well.

    Ask around at your local tackle shop to see what's hitting and get some local advice. Big Time Bait and Tackle is good. Also, right at Vaca Cut is Captain Hook's. The Tackle Box is closer to the 7 Mile Bridge.

    If you need to buy a lot of tackle, the Kmart has a fishing section and you can get a lot of stuff cheaper. Get your bait and advice at the tackle shop. Publix, Walgreens and lots of other places have frozen bait. If your wife's running out to get some ice cream and a bottle of Pinot Grigio, tell her to throw a pack of frozen shrimp and mullet in the cart too. :)

    The above poster has given you the best advise you could ask for, When I am fishing with kids I do not like using shrimp as they are so easy to strip, even though they are one of the best baits. Also consider using small pieces of squid, the kids can easily re-bait.
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  • aquasport190aquasport190 Posts: 337 Officer
    You can equip your kids with a light rod, small hook and little pieces of shrimp and they can catch you bait. Pinfish in the grass and small grunts around structure.

    Another thing you can do with the kid is take him on the Marathon Lady party boat. They'll take you to the reef to bottom fish. Your kid WILL catch fish, and probably a lot of them. Mostly grunts and various snappers. It's always possible to catch a grouper down there as well. I went out with them once when it was too rough to get my boat out there and had fun.

    Make sure you stop at Robbie's in Islamorada on your way down. Your kid will love feeding the tarpon - and so will you :)
  • gatormonroegatormonroe Posts: 198 Deckhand
    Adding to the pinfish comment above, after you catch them, put them back out on a larger rod. They make great bait. You can fish them up top or weight them and send them deeper. If you get cut off (usually mackerel or cuda) then add a short piece of wire. However, you'll get more hits without the wire.

    If you decide to try out the live shrimp, you will need a way to get more oxygen in the water. You can either purchase a battery-powered aerator or a bucket with holes in it that can be lowered in the water.

    Best of luck.
  • kcidz749kcidz749 Posts: 17 Greenhorn
    ND walleye....I'm from Nebraska and I take one trip down to Florida every year. Each year we've learned more, in large part to the folks in this forum and we shore fish the vast majority of the time. A couple things we learned the hard way from shore are test line, hook size, and line capacity. Budget wise...Berkley has a big game line and its pretty cheap and functional. I'd get an 8 pound spool a 20 pound, and a 50 pound. Cabelas has a Salt Stryker reel and a whuppin stick (55 for the reel, 30 for the rod). We caught several lemon and nurse sharks right of our cut from our condo. If you have a midsize rod/reel then 20 pound is the way to go. If you are having trouble catching small live bait...grab a couple sabiki rigs and tip them with a tiny amount of shrimp and you can pick up small baitfish to throw out. Last thing...and this was a freshwater fishing bonehead mistake...but if you have a line out...it doesn't matter how secure your rod holder is....its best to hang on to it. We lost an 8 1/2 foot rod to a 4 foot tarpon! We found the rod snorkeling 3 days later! Tight lines!
  • aquasport190aquasport190 Posts: 337 Officer
    Another question: Are you driving or flying? That will dictate what you bring with you and what you buy in The Keys.
  • ndwalleyendwalleye Posts: 4 Greenhorn
    we are driving. its crazy i know but, i want to see the eastern side of the US. its only a 40 hr drive :) Thanks for all the good input everyone!!!

    Steve
  • DogmanDogman Posts: 450 Deckhand
    My daughter is 9 and every year when we go down I spend more time taking her fish off than I do fishing. There is great info here. A little frozen squid goes a long way and it is usually pretty cheap. Get a bait pen and your kid will keep you in more live bait than you can use. I usually keep one livey free lined and one on or near the bottom. Some times I chop a couple up for chum. Good luck.
    2013 Native Watercraft Slayer 14.5 (Sand) - His
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  • aquasport190aquasport190 Posts: 337 Officer
    Not crazy. We drive down every year from Pennsylvania. Granted, it's not as far as you're coming, but still a good 21-22 hours to Marathon. We used to tow the boat down and that was a lot of stress. What route are you taking? It should be pretty cool. I love seeing new parts of the country.
  • kcidz749kcidz749 Posts: 17 Greenhorn
    Oh and one more thing....it may be helpful to grab a field guide of some form too and a couple pairs of gloves. My brother and I have a rule that if we can't identify it...we're not gonna touch it. One night last summer we got into a bunch of saltwater cats..which while fun to catch, can send ya to the hospital real quick if you're not careful. The locals know much more about what can get ya and what can't though.
  • gatormonroegatormonroe Posts: 198 Deckhand
    The field guide would help for regulations as well. There are quite a few and just knowing that something is a snapper isn't good enough. And remember, if it looks like a swimming rock, don't touch it. :-)
  • ndwalleyendwalleye Posts: 4 Greenhorn
    I am heading that way this afternoon!!!! Thanks everyone who posted all the info was very helpfull. I will be sure to post some pictures when i able to and remember TIGHT LINES!!!!!!!!
  • aquasport190aquasport190 Posts: 337 Officer
    I can't wait to hear your report. My son is 10 and he's been fishing with me in The Keys (and everywhere else) since he was 2 or 3 years old. Great memories are on their way. Maybe you'll make it a regular trip.
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