Florida Keys Hurricane Season Update & Fishing Report
It’s starting to feel like Fall in the Florida Keys. Since that awful Hurricane Ian blew past us, temperatures have dropped to the mid to high 70’s, and winds are blowing out of the North. Changes in the weather pattern like this are typical this time of year. But the hurricane seems to have brought the change more abruptly than in previous years.
Hurricane Ian caused massive amounts of damage throughout Florida, including Fort Myers and Cape Coral, one of the hardest hit areas in Lee County. Sanibel island was cut-off from the mainland when the storm took out their bridge. Pine island next door did not fare well either, having also taken a direct hit. There are reports of extensive damage throughout the Southwest and a death toll of 131 victims, a number that is eerily close to the 134 we lost in Hurricane Irma.
Paul Harrison took this photo in Naples in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian.
When Hurricane Ian headed north through Cuba, the eye wall went right over the Dry Tortugas, bringing that powerful hurricane too close for our comfort. In Marathon, we experienced tropical storm-force winds but spared a direct hit. Many of the gusts we endured felt like Category 1 speeds. Sunset Grill, a popular local restaurant, lost its dockage to the storm, along with the patio pavers that lined its pool. Some of our neighbors experienced flooding as well, depending on their elevation.
Looking at the terrible destruction in Southwest Florida, we cannot help but feel we were fortunate this time. We won’t soon forget Hurricane Irma, the devastation it caused us, and the disruption to our lives and businesses. Our hearts go out to the thousands of families affected by the tragedy of Hurricane Ian.
Ways to Help
If you want to help the victims of Hurricane Ian, there are various ways to get involved with the relief effort. For instance, our good friend Elise Mucha Reid, owner of Brutus seafood here in Marathon, has been helping to collect items such as cleaning supplies, propane tanks, and popup tents and having them driven up north to some of the hardest hit areas. Elise wants to “pay it forward” from all the support and relief we received in 2017 from up north with Irma. We remember how impactful that support was for us back then, and we applaud her efforts and everyone else that is pitching in to provide relief.
They have already completed several general runs but have more planned to fulfill families’ requests to meet their specific individual needs. If you live here in Marathon and want to help Elise, reach out to her via the Brutus Seafood website.
If you are not local but would still like to help, you can donate money to help the victims of Hurricane Ian by visiting the Red Cross disaster relief page. Be sure to select the Hurricane Ian option on the dropdown as pictured below. The Red Cross will put the funds to good use; we know this from our own experiences with them in times of need.
Main Attraction Update
As for our fishing charter operation, thanks to Captain Marty’s years of experience preparing for storms, the Main Attraction fleet rode out the storm very well at our new location, Marathon Sailfish Marina. We are now back to fishing when booked and alternating boats for their yearly off-season maintenance.
We are currently sanding and repainting the fishing deck of the Main One this week. We fish our boats daily throughout the year, and catching all those fish can lead to dings and scratches over time. So every fall, when bookings slow down in the off-season, we use the time to complete our annual maintenance and repairs. The off-season gives us time to prepare for the busy holiday season when our “snowbirds” fly south for the winter.
The fishing has been excellent now that Hurricane Ian has moved on. Several reef trips have produced Yellowtail snapper, some of which are the “FLAG” sized jumbos we love to catch. There has also been plenty of Mackerel, Kingfish, and Barracuda around.
Captain Marty recently had an offshore trip and ventured to the Marathon Humps with his clients. With his live wells loaded with live bait, he and his mate had the Blackfin Tuna in a frenzy. After catching their limit of Blackfin, Captain Marty decided to try deep-dropping for Queen Snapper, which also went well. Our customers were quite pleased with the results; they had a lot of fun.
As the weather continues to cool down, we will start transitioning to our winter style of fishing, which typically keeps us closer to shore. When the bait fish are closer to the island this time of year, so are the fish that prey on them. When conditions allow it, we can catch pelagic fish, such as Blackfin Tuna, Wahoo, Sailfish, etc., much closer to shore. This is excellent news for us because it means more protection from the winter winds by being closer to land.
We look forward to the upcoming Winter season and the end of hurricane season next month, and we can’t wait to take y’all out for Yellowtail, Sailfish, and all the other fun wintertime fish we catch. If you would like to book a trip with the Main Attraction fishing team, give us a ring at 305-289-0071 or visit our contact page.