The Secrets to Fishing For Yellowtail in the Florida Keys

I recently interviewed a Marathon, Florida local who is an experienced fisherman. He and his wife, Ceci, are pros at catching yellowtail and grouper.
I recently interviewed a Marathon, Florida local who is an experienced fisherman. He and his wife, Ceci, are pros at catching yellowtail and grouper.

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Marathon and the Florida Keys are famous for saltwater fishing. The oceans are friendly here and teeming with all sorts of great-tasting fish, seafood, and bait, too. Yellowtail Snapper is one of my favorite fish to catch and to eat, but, are there secrets to fishing for Yellowtail Snapper? The answer is emphatically yes!

I recently interviewed a Marathon, Florida local who is an experienced fisherman. He and his wife, Ceci, are pros at catching yellowtail and grouper. On this particular day, they left their dock hoping for yellowtail and were richly rewarded. Watch my interview with Mike.

We discussed everything from preparing to go out for the day on the boat to what to wear, how to filet the fish and how to prepare it with one of Mike and Ceci’s favorite recipes.

Two Must-Know Secrets to Have the Best Catch

The biggest secret is to use live shrimp as bait. Mike purchases the live shrimp from Captain Hook’s, a local bait shop, the night before, and then keeps them alive with a special bubbler and pump in his bait pail. The Yellowtail love live shrimp!

The next biggest secret is to use frozen chum to get the attention of the Yellowtail Snapper. The best way to use the chum is to pull it behind your boat in a specially designed net for pulling chum. Snappers are attracted to the chum, but then get distracted by the live shrimp at the end of your line.

A Great Catching Day

Nature has Fascinating and Essential Fishing Secrets, Too!

Another key is to understand the role of the current. If it is too windy and there is a strong current, the fish are likely to stay on the bottom of the ocean. However, one of the factors that make the Florida Keys such an outstanding fishing destination is that when the wind is up and the current is strong on the Atlantic side of the islands, you can just boat over to the Gulf side for calmer waters and a slower current. Nice, right? It just cannot get any better than having such an amazing option to guarantee a great day on the water.

Mike and Ceci left the dock around 9:30 a.m. on a sunny day with a slight ocean breeze. They drove about 5 miles out into the Atlantic from Coco Plum Bay (where 4 of our 5 houses are located) to the edge of the reef in about 70 to 90 feet of water. They fished for about 6 hours and then came back in the afternoon with 26 Yellowtail fish that were absolutely beautiful.

Mike has terrific tips on how to filet the fish in a fast and easy manner. Watching the video of my interview would be the best way to understand his technique and to copy it for your filleting. We cooked up those fish and they were mouth-watering and downright delicious. Within hours of catching them, they were in our happy bellies!

All You’ll Need for a Successful Fishing Trip In The Keys

The last essential secret to the best Yellowtail fishing in the Florida Keys is to stay in one of our luxury vacation rental homes. We have 4 in the Coco Plum Bay just minutes away from Mike’s dock and 1 in Key Colony Beach.

Our homes have large docks made of ironwood and concrete with a fish cleaning station and freshwater. We have commercial ice makers for your coolers and bait freezers at each house. We fill our homes with the very best in all furnishings and with designer decor. The beds have specialty mattresses for deep and restful sleeping. We have a private boat ramp and a private parking area for trailers. We set up our homes to have every single thing fishermen and women need when fishing in the Keys.

Private boat ramp & parking for trailers

So the very best way to fish for Yellowtail to make sure that your day on the water and in the boat is successful is to adopt these key secrets. There are only 4, but they are important. In summary:

  1. Use live shrimp.
  2. Pull frozen chum behind your boat.
  3. Fish in water without much current.
  4. Stay in one of our luxury vacation rental homes!

The Best Thing to Remember: Enjoy the Moment

These are the simple secrets to fishing for yellowtail off the island of Marathon, in the heart of the Florida Keys. But the secret to a happy day of fishing is to take it all in – the blue warm waters, the seagulls, the pelicans, and sea life, the rolling waves; relax and enjoy the company you are with. Laughter and lots of patience and love while fishing makes any fishing experience extraordinary!

Watch our video of Mike’s day of fishing, including his lovely wife Ceci’s recipe for Yellowtail Snapper or check out more of our recipes on our website for your favorite fish.

Peace, love and vacations;

Martie, Kim and Layla the hunting poodle

7 Days of Fun & Relaxation!

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