Key Largo to Key West
Includes Islamorada and Marathon
Hello everyone! The mild cold front last weekend made for some cooler temperatures and some comfortable weather on the water. Look for the shallow water redfish bite to continue to get better with nice schools of fish patrolling the many island flats and shallow mainland shorelines in Florida Bay. Well-placed flies or artificial baits like jerk baits rigged weedless will get the bites. There has been a decent bite of trout in some of the basins east and southeast of Flamingo, expect the bite to get better as spring approaches. A popping cork and soft plastic bait worked on a mud or cloudy water will get the bites. The Flamingo area continues to have a sporadic bite of redfish, trout, black drum and a few snook. This area has been getting a lot of fishing pressure so who ever finds the fish first will do better than the rest. Fish the runoffs, island moats and deeper channels with a live shrimp slowly worked on the bottom for the best bites. The shallow draft skiffs poling in the same areas are reporting lots of shots at fish but with plenty of refusals. Plenty of trout and other rod benders continue to be willing to bite in the deeper channels. The deep channels around First National Bank are producing a decent bite of trout, bluefish, pompano, jacks and ladyfish. Jigs with either shrimp or artificial baits bounced on the bottom will get some action. Look for a decent bite of snook, redfish and black drum around the creeks, ditches and shorelines in the Cape Sable area with the best bite in the Lake Ingram area. There has also been an increased number of tarpon in the Cape Sable area so it’s good to have some live bait ready to go in case an opportunity presents itself. The shark fishing should also start to pick up throughout the park as water temperatures continue to get warmer. This sharks can surely get annoying some times while fishing live baits for tarpon.
Out in Gulf waters, expect to find a decent bite of Spanish mackerel. Some days they come quick and other days you have to wait a bit and have some patience. We had some days where for almost an hour nothing happened but when they came it was a free for all with really nice fish. We also caught some nice cobia, goliath grouper, sharks and really nice snappers. The grouper bite has also been phenomenal, lots of fun even if you have to release them, as the season is closed. The winds are forecasted to come down for the weekend after another mild cold front sweeps through our area. Look for the wrecks to be holding some cobia plus all the other Gulf residents. We have also been fishing inside the Park boundaries east of Sandy Key and have been pretty successful with some really nice trout, ladyfish, snappers, bluefish and a few mackerel. Look for this fishery to keep getting better as we approach our spring season.
Bonefishing conditions should improve for the weekend. Fish the incoming tide around oceanside flats throughout the keys. Look for tailing fish on the lower stages of the tide and mudding fish on the higher stages. The permit fishing will continue to get better as this is the time of the year where they start moving in big numbers towards their annual spawning grounds in the deeper reefs and wrecks. The tarpon are here, not in big numbers yet but its just a matter of time before they show in full force migration. The outgoing tides especially from sunset on are the most productive. It’s that time of the year where we are getting ready to say goodbye to winter and welcome spring with all its new fishing opportunities. Have fun on the water and take the family fishing.
Hello everyone, and welcome back to this week’s report! What a variety we are experiencing this week in the Upper Keys, as the annual exiting of the wintertime fishing begins and the grand entrance of the summertime fishing kicks off! Although this works in stages, all I am suggesting is that this is the first phase of this annual occurrence is happening as we speak. Plenty of sailfish are still going to come our way this spring as they make their migrating south to Mexico, and the migration of dolphin is obviously only going to get better as spring and summer get closer. This week we had some nice catches of dolphin on the offshore scene with some really nice fish out in the 30 to 40 mile range. The commercial swordfish guys were reporting some large fish starting to move through, as they were out in the depths dropping during the daytime. Not too much to report on the swordfish scene, but the dolphin fishing was pretty good out there I hear. Some nice catches of these guys a little closer in as well. Nothing hot and heavy, but several boats around town found nice bunches of schoolie size fish on the weed that’s laying out in 350 to 600 feet of water. The humps offshore are beginning to get a little more productive; with some decent catches of blackfin tuna and amberjacks this week as well. Don’t forget about deep dropping out in these depths either, as some really nice catches of queen snapper, snowy grouper, yellow edge grouper, yellow eye and vermilion snappers. These guys have been solid on the offshore ledges, and make some of the best table fare you can get!
On the wrecks, the kings and wahoo have been pretty solid this week, with cigar minnows and speedos the bait of choice. Pilchards have been working decent as well and the kings have been pretty voracious all over. The bottom and surrounding areas around the majority of these wrecks have been fairly productive with nice catches of mutton snapper and grouper too.
On the reef, the yellowtail bite continues to be consistent with the right conditions, with plenty of kings and ceros showing up in the slick. The sailfishing has been poor at best, but just be patient as they are definitely coming.
That about sums it up this week folks! Remember, give me a call at 305-803-1321 and check out my website at www.catchalottafish.com where you too can come out for the day with us and do just what the name says: Catch-a-lot-of-fish!
The fishing is on fire! Almost everything is up for grabs, from permit on the flats and wrecks to mahi and sails offshore. Tarpon are also in and very active in the channels. Most bites are happening on live pinfish or live crabs.
The cobia migration is in full effect as well, with large schools on the Gulf wrecks, some of them over 50 pounds. Live bait is usually the bait of choice for them, but bucktails tipped with a Gulp! belly strip work wonders too.
Permit are also beginning to move out to the rock piles and wrecks, giving us light tackle boats numerous shots at them. A small blue crab on a ¼-ounce yellow jig tied to a 6 foot, 20-pound Vanish fluorocarbon leader, married to a Penn 2500 conflict spinning reel and Penn Legion rod, spooled up with 15-pound Invisibraid makes the perfect set up to target this species and have a blast!
Further offshore, mahi are also beginning to show up. Capt. Jeff Searcy out of Key West got in to some while trolling ballyhoo out in about 485 feet of water.
As you can tell, the spring fishing has started in Key West. Get your gear ready and pick your species. See you out on the water!