As the days get longer and warmer and the smell of honeysuckle starts to fill the air, my mind start to drift away to the endless boating opportunities that await me this summer. Every year around this time I find myself planning for the perfect boating season. Let’s face it, even though here in Florida we can boat most of the year, many of us tend to take a break during the winter months. (Mostly due to the fact that we think anything under 75 is not suitable for outdoor activities!)
Now that the temperature is rising and the days are getting longer, there are a few things you need to do to ensure that your perfect boating season starts with all of your oars in the water.
According to Captain Chris Johnson, who is part of the Yamaha National Fishing Team and specializes in gulf/bay, offshore, reef/wreck, tarpon and shark fishing out of the 7 Mile Marina in Marathon, sailfish are appearing on the reef in increasing numbers. Whilst the most exciting event of the year for most people in Marathon will almost certainly be the forthcoming Christmas light boat parade, which promises elaborate light displays and carnival cruises, the city’s many offshore fishermen will no doubt class plucking a sailfish out of the sea and landing it in their boat as their own personal highlight if they are lucky enough to do so.
These impressive specimens can grow up to three metres in length and weight up to ninety kilograms, making them a catch that is well worth having. Their meat is relatively tough and consequently isn’t widely eaten but they are highly valued as game fish, partly due to the challenge that they pose because they often fight vigorously when they are hooked, diving and leaping repeatedly out of the water in a desperate attempt to free themselves and get away. This means that they can take hours to land and provide worthy adversaries for fishermen. Captain Johnson says that these fish are being caught by people live-baiting off the deeper reef edge and advises those seeking to catch them to use pilchards, goggle eyes, ballyhoo or small blue runners as bait.