Marquesas Keys Day Of Fishing

marquesas fishing mutton snapper
A full day adventure fishing in the Marquesas Keys in September 2021. A mixed bag of fishing and fun.

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Marquesas Day Of Fishing

September 2021 – I had the opportunity to run a trip with a nice couple out to the Marquesas keys on a trip that I have called the “All In Wonder” day of fishing since the late 90s. We had a full day fishing charter that was full of adventure and a lot of fun. The run out there is about 40 minutes if I do not get distracted with the loads of things to see and do between Key West and the circular chain of islands.  

Getting an early start just after 7 am just after the sun rose I was loaded with ice, gear, anglers and some live shrimp. On the way out I stopped at my bait traps and brought some party favors (bait fish) with me in case we ran into some tarpon. Along the way to the islands I did my usual stopping at a few places closer to Key West to kind of see where the tarpon might be laying up to get an early morning shot. After not seeing many fish to keep my attention I decided to go across Boca grande channel to spend some time in a spot that was a little better for tarpon fishing out in the Marquesas keys.

Starting Off Tarpon Fishing

Getting into some of my more secluded locations we ran into a good bit of Tarpon. These fish were very happy rolling very slow and enjoying the morning.  Putting my trolling motor in quietly and setting it to keep position using its own GPS sensor, I set up to fish for them. It looked like an easy lay up. Once set, I dropped back a couple of live baits in the current and the first 3 minutes a tarpon hit and hooked really well giving my female angler a great thrill as she battled down a 35-40 pound tarpon almost to where I could touch the leader before it spit the hook on the jump. Of course we sent back more live baits as the fish were still very happy. About 20 minutes went by and then all hell broke loose as my lady angler once again jumped another tarpon. This time it was a monster well over 100 pounds, this lasted only about a minute and he was off, but she even said she felt she got the best part of that fight. I would agree.

Some more time went by with a bite from a barracuda and a shark chasing our baits and then it was time to go on to something else. 

Then Off To The Shallow Reefs

The outskirts of the Marquesas have loads of reef line. Some of it is very obvious but the best parts are not. Thats where I get it done. 

Working some of my “not so obvious” spots My anglers and I tossed some artificial lures in the hunt for some food fish and it was very productive. The tide was perfect for what I wanted to show them and we had a great session working a very productive area with lipped plugs that dove just 4-6 ft on spinning rods. The bite was red hot. We were catching and releasing some undersized almost legal mutton snappers and that was a good bit of fun. Then, one of my anglers hooked a smallish yellowtail snapper. This turned into a bad neighborhood as three of the largest muttons I have ever seen in the shallows followed him right to the boat with dinner on the mind. After that I upped the lure size and we put some bigger fish in the boat. Thats was worth the price of admission. 

Mutton Snapper, Fishing Key West Marquesas Keys
Mutton snapper are popular in the Marqueas Keys


Mutton snappers, yellowtail snappers and mangrove snappers are pretty common fish species in this area this time of the year. We whacked them all. After about an hour of casting and catching we kept two nice sized muttons and a very tasty sized yellowtail in the box for dinner and we released many more legal fish. We keep just enough for everyone to have a nice dinner or lunch. These spots are pretty special to me and my anglers, so over harvesting them is not something I think we should do. 

Yellowtail snapper caught on artificial in the Marquesas Keys
Yellowtail snapper on artificial lipped plugs

Flats Fishing The Marquesas Was Next

On my All in wonder fishing charters I try and do as many different types of fishing as possible. Part of my day in the Marquesas is always flats fishing. 

With these folks, after they had enough of catching snappers on the shallow reefs we decided to try our luck sight fishing on the flats. My first stop was a  little slow seeing few fish to target. We spent about 20 minutes there hoping it would come together but there was just too much water. Knowing the Marquesas as well as I do this was an easy fix. A simple change of geography and we were in the fish. 

Bonefish caught on the flats of the Marquesas Keys
Bonefishing in the Marquesas Keys

Up on the flats my anglers had some great shots at bonefish. My lady angler caught the first bonefish of the day at about 4.5 lbs. Nice fish.! As we made our way along in my Yellowfin bay boat using my MotorGuide trolling motor We kept it shallow and had many more shots releasing 2 more bonefish. 

I was able to try a new artificial bait I have been using and we had two bonefish eat it.. Pretty impressive. Its an artificial crab about 3/4 inch in size. See the link below to the place on Amazon to get one. They work really well. 

Wreck Fishing Or Snorkeling.. They had to decide.

It was getting toward the end of the day and we were still not done with all the fishing options that I like to pack into a day out in the Marquesas Keys on my all in wonder fishing adventure. But my clients on this day wanted to do a little snorkeling as part of their day. I offer snorkeling on any of our trips here at Dream Catcher charters we call it the snorkeling and fishing combo charter. No extra charge, just an added activity. When I spoke up and said, hey, what about doing a little shallow water wreck fishing for some permit or big barracudas. Snorkeling trip portion was now wreck fishing, off we went to one of the many shallow water wrecks we have around the Marquesas Keys. 

Crabs are a rare commodity here in Key West from our bait guy during late August into September as the water is super hot and they are hard to come by. So.. Artificial crab it was going to be to target the permit that were orbiting the wreck that we approached. When I approach a wreck I always shut down way ahead of it and let the boat drift into the area and within casting distance in case the “fancy jacks” (Permit) might be around. In this case they were right where I thought they would be. The cast was made and unfortunately it was a little wide and right behind the permit that were on the wreck and zoom they were gone. That was the last we would see of them. 

Not to fret because this particular wreck was loaded with 36″ + barracudas and they were pretty hungry. Now, most fishermen would use a trace of wire here but I like to get as many eats as possible. I strapped on a Nice Repala X-Rap lipped Red and Black. Handed the rod to my angler and there went the cast. It didn’t take long. We were in the barracudas thick. After losing one of my lures to the cause each of my anglers had a chance to catch and release 3-4 barracudas before I started to rap things up and point the boat toward Key West and head back to the dock. 

Marquesas Keys shallow ship wreck barracuda

The All In Wonder Marqueas Fishing Charter

A full day of fishing on board a 24 ft Yellowfin Bay boat. Focused mostly on fishing but can also offer snorkeling and some amazing sight seeing. Keep in mind also if food fish is more important than flats fishing or tarpon fishing but you would still like to see the Marquesas Keys. Book my 36ft Yellowfin Center Console where you can keep as much fish as its legal and we have the ice to keep them cold.

Either way it’s really a great trip. Planing ahead is important but so is the weather. If the day comes and the weather sucks I will offer you an alternative to your fishing day that may not cost as much or last as long fishing closer to Key West and still having a good bit of fun. We do this trip year round but in my opinion the best months are July – the end of February for a lot of reasons. 

Feel Free To Contact Me Through My Office Or Text direct. 
Text 1-305-304-0497 
Voice 1-305-292-7212

Here are those baits that I use


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marquesas fishing mutton snapper
Fishing Reports

Marquesas Keys Day Of Fishing

A full day adventure fishing in the Marquesas Keys in September 2021. A mixed bag of fishing and fun.