Key Largo to Key West
Includes Islamorada and Marathon
Hello everyone! Big change in weather conditions forecasted for the weekend! Looks like Saturday will be a bit sporty with a big drop in temperature and blustery Northwesterly winds. The drop in water temperature will fire up the fishing in most of the park specially around deeper mainland shorelines and island moats. A shrimp and a jig it’s all you’ll need. Look for the snook, redfish, sheepshead and blackdrum bite to be good in the East Cape canal area. Fish your bait really slow or let it sit for best results.
Bonefish will be tough to target and your best approach to catch one will be chumming for them. The pilchards continue to be available at the regular bait spots. Fill up your live wells and do some local channel fishing for a mixed bag of snappers, groupers, jacks and the occasional snook. Let’s hope the winds settle soon and we all get out on the water for some great Florida Keys backcountry fishing. Happy Holidays!
Hello everyone, and welcome back to this week’s report! A beautiful week we have had here in Islamorada, but it is looking a little blustery for the weekend with this strong cold front coming through. Looks like Saturday will be doable, but Sunday is up in the air depending on what actually happens, so keep your eyes on the weather b/c it is supposed to get snotty! The fishing this week has been good, with some variety running around. The sailfish bite is picking up after a somewhat slow weekend last week, but as of Wednesday things were looking up as the water and current are finally getting right. Gin clear water and really good northeast current are the recipe for success, and that is what we have right now. A good bite as of Thursday with several boats with five or more fish. With this clean water and good current also come a great wahoo bite! Several boats today were fortunate enough to get their hooks into some nice fish, so it is all coming together nicely. Hopefully this front won’t screw this up too much and the good conditions will continue.
The reef and wrecks have been good this week, with all the bottom fish biting pretty good. Thursday was the slowest day on the deep reef and wrecks, but the shallow reef and patches were solid. Plenty of Kings down off of the channel 2 area, all the way to Marathon I am told. Bait fishing has been good too, as the pilchards have moved in a bit better on the shoreline, and there are plenty of cigars and ballyhoo on the patch reefs. It’s all good down here in the Florida Keys, and things are pretty much back to normal. A few resorts are still closed, but I heard today that most are already starting to take reservations starting in March/ April, so things are looking up. Even if they don’t, there are a ton of other places to stay between Marathon to Key Largo. There’s no reason not to come! Hope you all have a chance to make it down here soon! We appreciate your business!
Hey everyone and welcome back to the lower keys fishing forecast. The offshore fishing around Key West was great this past week. The winter tuna fishing is in full affect. They were biting really well around the color change and the offshore wrecks. They were being caught on the troll, but they were also eating live baits. The sailfishing also got better, the conditions were right, with a northeast wind and nice looking color changes offshore. Depending on where you were, the color change was in close to the reef or out deeper in 250ft. It will be difficult getting offshore this weekend with the cold front arriving Saturday morning. It is calling for heavy winds out of the north and good drop in temperature. However, the fishing should be good if you can make out there.
If you cannot get offshore, try fishing the inshore patch reefs or rock piles. They will be protected from the wind and the bigger snappers, red groupers and even kingfish tend to move into the shallows when the temperature drops. Live baits like pilchards or ballyhoo work best, but dead baits like shrimp, squid and chunks of threadfin herring will work too. I like live lining baits on different size jigs, that way you can cover the whole water column and your more likely to catch a variety of species.
Fishing on the flats will be super difficult this weekend if the wind stays up close to 25mph. The barracuda fishing has been good and most likely that will be your only option in the shallows this weekend. The trout have been in the backcountry basins and with the cold weather coming I would expect that fishery to stay good. Drifting the basins with buck tail jigs can offer you protection from the wind and produce good fishing on bad weather days.
Capt. Jamie Connell