Florida Keys Sailfish – March 2023 Fishing Report
If you read last week’s article , you know that Main Attraction Co-Owner Katie Lewis passed on an opportunity to take the day off and go fun fishing with her husband Captain Marty Lewis. That day she missed out on catching 24 sailfish and a 750lb Bluefin Tuna with their son! A few days after that epic trip, once their daughter recuperated from the Flu, Katie decided she needed some saltwater therapy and a reset.
On the morning of Friday, March 3rd, Captain Marty, Katie, a few friends, and crew members boarded their 49′ fishing vessel, the Main One. The live wells of the Main One were stocked well, as the crew had caught live bait that morning while Katie took the kids to school. As they headed toward the Alligator Lighthouse, Katie hoped that she hadn’t missed out on the recent wave of intense tailing Sailfish action.
Once the vessel arrived at Alligator Light, there was a visible edge called a color change line, which is usually a good sign. However, the wind had changed direction, meaning the Tailing conditions Captain Marty had capitalized on were now gone.
This image of the color change line that day shows where the lighter inshore water meets the royal blue ocean water.
Knowing the fish would not be on the surface, Captain Marty asked the crew to deploy two kites to take advantage of the wind they had and bump troll with live baits to try and raise some fish. Captain Marty set the vessel up on the offshore side of the color change line in the deep royal blue water.
Mate “Big Ben” Zdan sends out a kite to hang some fishing lines above the royal blue ocean water.
It wasn’t long before the right middle bait struck; Katie grabbed the rod, wound the line tight, and was hooked up to a Sailfish! The fish didn’t jump immediately like they often do. Instead, it waited until the end of the fight to leap out of the water in an acrobatic display. Once the leader was touched, the Sailfish was released, and the team was officially one-for-one on the day. 15 minutes later, a second sailfish struck a bait in the Kite; Mark Busch was up next. He fought the Sailfish as it put on a show before it was successfully caught and released.
Mark Busch fighting his first Sailfish for the day.
Catching two Sailfish so quickly had everyone on the boat in great spirits. After about 20 minutes of taking turns working the kite rods, chatting, and joking around, Marty suddenly hollered from the tower. When Captain Marty’s voice gets loud, everyone onboard knows something exciting is about to happen!
They had raised a pack of Sailfish, and multiple rods went off simultaneously. At first, it was complete chaos, but these are the thrilling moments that they live for. They had hooked three Sailfish within seconds of each other, and Katie, Mark, and James were each fighting Sailfish of their own.
The three anglers danced around one another on the deck to follow their fish and not tangle their lines. Whenever Captain Marty saw two lines cross, he would holler out commands to rectify the situation. “Over!”, he’d shout “You’re under!” and things like “follow your fish!”. This allowed the Captain to restore order to the deck and let each Angler focus on fighting their fish to keep the chaos to a minimum.
Captain Marty backed the vessel down on the closest fish while the other fish were further out, tailwalking and jumping. The team released all three Sailfish, bringing their count for the day to 5 Sailfish.
Main Attraction Co-Owners Captain Marty and Katie Lewis enjoying the beautiful weather that day.
The Sailfish bite cooled down after that. Some by-catch, such as Bonita would swim into their spread here and there, which they would fight for fun. They couldn’t stay out too long because Katie had to get back to her kiddos and other responsibilities. Then all of a sudden, with 30 minutes left to fish, two lines went off at the same time, double-header! Mark and Katie had a friendly competition between who could catch the most Sailfish throughout the day, so the race was on. Katie was playfully trying to out catch Mark, who won Grand Champion Angler two years in a row at the Cheeca Lodge Presidential Sailfish Tournament.
Seasoned Angler Mark Busch, and Katie Lewis with their release flags for the day.
Mark’s fish was closer, so he released his fish first, and then they went after Katie’s. Katie and Mark each caught three Sailfish, putting them in a tie; however, in tournament situations, time is the winning factor. Katie conceded that Mark was the big winner that day and declared that she still had an incredible day with great people and fishing.
The crew brought the kites in, and Captain Marty pointed the Main One towards Marathon Sailfish Marina to head home. Seven Sailfish, lots of laughs, and incredible weather made it the perfect day to have a reset.
If you are interested in fishing with the Main Attraction Team in the beautiful Florida Keys, reach us by phone at 305-289-0071 or visit our contact page.