Since the reopening of the road leading into the Florida Keys in June 2020 we’ve been flooded with guests from all over the country. All in need of drag screaming therapy. Luckily, for us here in the Florida Keys we’ve had some really great offshore fishing. Pretty much every species we have here in Florida has been biting but to be more specific we want to highlight how great the Blackfin Tuna fishing has been over this last year.
Marathon Florida Tuna Fishing
The Blackfin Tunas we’ve been catching over the last year have been aggressively eating our live pilchards as well as top water poppers. These fish have been ranging from 5-30 Lbs of solid hard fighting muscle. On some occasions the Tunas have actually aired out on the surface which makes for a heart stopping bite. Once they are hooked up you can expect a long drag screaming fight on light tackle rods.
Blackfin Tuna Facts:
The Blackfin Tuna can grow up to about 45 lbs. and 40″ long. They are found in the Western Atlantic from the Northeast United States all the way South to Brazil. They hunt their food on the surface of the water as well as into the deep. One of their most favorite foods to eat are squid. They are considered a warm water Tuna species that prefer water over 68 degrees. They are a short lived fast growing species of Tuna where a 5 year old fish would be considered old.
How we catch Tuna in Marathon:
We target Tuna here in the Florida Keys a number of different ways. The most common are live chumming (Pilchards) and trolling lures and squid jiggies. Most of the bites we see here in Marathon are surface bites. If we are lucky enough to have a boiling surface bite we have been known to pull out the fly rod and try to catch one on fly. During the months of November – May we usually have a stockpile of live pilchards in our bait pens on the dock to use on our fishing charters. We catch our live bait 99% of the time before or after our charters so it doesn’t take away from the customers fishing time.
If you check out this video you will see the delicate process we take to make sure we have the healthiest live baits possible. These baits we are unloading are pilchards that we catch by using a cast net. These baits are very delicate so they can die easily if we don’t take certain precautions. One of these steps we take is by unloading the baits using an R&R Tackle wet net. This special net has very small holes that slow down the water draining process so when we scoop a few baits they remain wet. This keeps the baits from rubbing together and even more importantly not rubbing the mesh of the net. When this rubbing happens there is significant scale loss. When the bait looses scales it allows for bacteria and infections to penetrate the skin of the bait killing it much sooner. Since we’ve started using this wet net we’ve actually been able to keep pilchards alive in our dock storage pens for months at a time rather than the previous few days or a week.
Cook Your Catch : Tuna = Good Eats
One of the great things about fishing in the Florida Keys is the ability to eat what you catch. If you’ve ever been to our docks while we are cleaning fish you may have seen us feasting on fresh Blackfin Tuna right on the dock. This is because our charter boats are located at the famous Island Fish Company Restaurant. If we choose to eat the Tuna raw we ask the chef for all the needed side items ie: Wasabi, Ginger, Seaweed, Soy Sauce. Or if we want it lightly seared we can give our fresh Tuna to the kitchen to be prepared Tuna Tataki style which is rolled in sesame seeds and is also served with Wasabi, Ginger, and Soy Sauce for dipping.