Coming from PA - need advice on the June full moon

Hey guys. I joined years ago prior to a trip to Conch Key, and have been to Marathon with my dad and some friends about 5 times now. The Conch Key trip was cancelled after one night in paradise, after my dad almost died from liver failure due to a medicine reaction (doctor mistake...yeah). So that was the last time I posted here.

This year, the same crew is back for more, this time in KCB near Marathon. I read a ton and have a pretty good idea how to do a wide variety of fishing including trolling/casting for dolphin, chumming the banks and reef, etc.

Last year we failed horribly at a productive drift on the Thunderbolt wreck, even after spotting it in the water. All I could catch was a bonnethead shark and baby flounder drifting in 170' for mutton with fresh ballyhooo. We seem to repeatedly fail at catching yellowtail or getting a grouper off the bottom. And we've completely given up on hooking and landing a tarpon.

This year, I have a few goals for the trip - have one good yellowtail trip (with a keeper grouper thrown in), catch a keeper mutton snapper on the reef/edge, and lastly deep dropping.......but I'm worried the full moon is going to make us have to target whatever is willing to bite. I read trolling late can be productive, and I would love to night fish, but the rental boat likely won't allow that.

Anyone have any advice on how you would spend a week in the middle keys with the full moon right splat in the middle? I read all I could, but what's a typical day for you in those conditions (and without the option to go at night)? Trolling late? But what to do in the morning?
Any advice is appreciated, thanks!


  • Ilive2fishIlive2fish Posts: 274 Deckhand
    I fish in the Key Largo area but the methods are the same.....for yellow tail, buy at least a case of chum, 2 chum bags and use both bags at the same time...anchor where you see rocks or coral (preferably anchor on the sand up current from the reef area so your chum goes over to the reef, you want the tails to come up near the boat) start your chumming....use 20 pound flourocarbon leader with 1 or 1/0 hooks and drift your bait,(preferably strips of squid but if you are able to catch pilchards even better) not close the reel bail....keep drifting the bait back and if it takes off quickly from the spool you have a tail on....I have noticed that we do a lot better when we have ballyhoo right behind the boat eating the bits of chum....if that's the case, try to catch them with a cast net or fish them with small gold hooks.....put a live ballyhoo on the bottom right under the boat using at least a 4 ounce weight...if you do not catch yellow tails on top after a half hour or so....move !!!!!.....the school tends to be of the same size....if you catch small ones they all tend to be the same size....move !!!!!depths range from 30 feet to 50 or 60 depending on how much anchor line you carry......current is important for yellow tails but I have caught them with little that time of the year you can put half a ballyhoo on the bottom for big mangrove snappers.....good luck.....
  • PhillyMarathonPhillyMarathon Posts: 19 Greenhorn
    Thanks live2fish, great yt advice. We've tried two chum blocks, so I tend to think it's a matter of lack of current at times, or maybe we just suck at anchoring correctly. Basically, we just find some interesting looking bottom, go slightly past where we think the wind/current will take us and anchor. I always assumed it was that simple, but when we are on anchor, we rarely see anything on the finder. I would expect differently when guys are into some fish.

    So how does the full moon play into all this? Hah..are we in for a week of wasting chum catching grunts and wasting gas trolling for an occasional schoolie dolphin?
  • 2thekeys2thekeys Posts: 162 Deckhand
    When fishing yellowtail...make sure you mark them definitely want current...wait 20 minutes before you start allows the school relax a bit..throw in some wet clouds the water and is a big attraction. I am sure you will have not problem with the full moon. Dolphin should be bigger then school size.
  • Ilive2fishIlive2fish Posts: 274 Deckhand
    2thekeys....I gave up trying to mark them...not good at it...we just move until they start to bite...most of the time we get them on the first far as the full moon, supposedly fish don't bite during the day on the full moon...that said, last November I took the boat out with my wife to test some repairs that had been done to it and we decided since we were going out we would try our luck at fishing..... left the dock at 10:30 am, on the full moon, the first two stops at around 30 feet had no current and we managed to get a huge school of tails right behind the boat (first time ever I had that happen) but they were all 8 inches long...moved blindly to a third spot at 50 feet or so and after about 20 minutes (after telling my wife we would not catch anything that day due to the conditions), she pulls in a 16 in yellowtail....we went on to catch about a dozen more, 4 big trigger fish and a 12 pound black grouper on a live speedo fished on the bottom, so much for knowing what the hell I'm talking this spot only did we get ballyhoo and then speedos on the chum theory still holds.....bait fish in your chum slick=yellowatils down current....PhillyMarathon, the reef is full of tails.....keep sticking to it and you'll get them...please let me know how it goes...BTW...haven't been fishing since that Nov. day due to the weather, the holidays, etc....can't wait to get out there again...good luck...
  • keylargo359keylargo359 Posts: 1,249 Officer
    Start in the 60 to 70ft. range in depth for trails then if your not getting any bites move out to 80'/100'/110' as deep as 130Ft.. use chum bags with the larger holes to help disperse the larger pieces of chum. Also look for areas right in front of the reefs that are on the edge were it goes from very shallow to deep water in a short area. As far as the fool moon goes the snapper bite is better on the fool moon and the Dolphin bite drops off because they tend to feed at night on the fool. Moon. and most all dolphin fishing is in daylight hours. Good Luck and tight Lines.:cool:
    The worst day of fishing is still better than the best day of work:\
  • piner_wahoopiner_wahoo Posts: 3,680 Captain
    fish the week right up to the fullmoon- not much after it
    CUSTOM CHARTERS u pick the boat- Capt.Harlan Trammell
    American Allegiance Charters -LOWER KEYS BACKCOUNTRY FISHING,LOBSTER dives, fish the 33' WORLDCAT w/ AOK+Allegiance!
    your boat or mine, my spots+my gear, your fish.
    checkout our new website-[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
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