Key Largo to Key West
Includes Islamorada and Marathon
Hello everyone! The recent Southeast winds have made must of the park really muddy, making it tough to find a decent bite. Monday we fished the Flamingo area and mainland shoreline for a great bite of snook and redfish. We fished the Cape Sable area on Tuesday and managed to catch some nice snook and a couple of redfish while working some points with pilchards and shrimp. Later in the day, we headed to Flamingo where we found some more snook and got a tarpon to eat. On the way home found some nice trout to finish the day. Once the southerly winds shift more to the east or north, expect the fishing to get a lot better. Look for a great trout bite throughout the park while fishing mullet muds. A popping cork and a jig with DOA soft plastics are working great. February is here, so expect the tarpon fishing to get better in the coming weeks around the Cape area as long as the temperature stays on the warm side. If you see the fish rolling around, drift the area with live baits like pinfish, mullet or pilchards under a cork for a great chance to hook up with the silver king. Farther out into Gulf waters, the cobia continue to make their regular appearance around the wrecks. The water on the gulf and adjacent park areas has been really dirty. Finding the cleaner water is a most for better success. Out by the Springer, Schooner and Oxfoot banks, look for the action to continue with a mix bag of Spanish Mackerel, bluefish, trout and snappers. Drift the areas around the banks or anchor up around the park boundaries and start a chum slick. Shrimp and jig combination will get the bites.
The tarpon bite around the local bridges is getting better at night time with some decent fish being caught while drifting crabs and pinfish under corks. Look for the bonefishing to remain spotty with the incoming tide and higher stages of the outgoing tide being best on ocean side flats throughout the Keys. Keep an eye out for the cruising permit around the deeper edges of flats and banks. The slack tides around the bridge pilings have also been producing some nice permit, snappers, snook, groupers and many more catches. Enjoy the weekend on the water and take the family fishing.
Hello everyone, and welcome back to this week’s report! The weather has had its ups and downs this week with some nice weather in the beginning of the week, then the wind started back up toward the end. The good news is that the winds are subsiding and should be nice for the weekend. Maybe a little wind close to 15 knots for Saturday, but Sunday is looking beautiful at around 10 knots. The fishing this week has been marginal for sailfishing, as this wind should have kept the current in on the edge of the reef, but somehow did not. The HUGE moon that we just had I am sure pushed it out with the big tides, so with the wind staying out of the southeast, as this moon shrinks I am hoping the current will come back. A few sails around each day with most boat getting a shot or two throughout the day, but this is not the fishing we are used to. I think the weekend is going to have a more positive outlook than the past two weeks, so we will see what it brings.
The wreck fishing has been picking up with the mutton snappers, and the groupers have been chewing. Can’t keep any groupers until May first, but they are still fun to catch. Still seeing good numbers of kings and bonito, and a few really nice wahoo this week with one weighing in at 61 pounds. That is a pretty good one for these parts, but we still haven’t seen the big numbers of them yet. The reef bite remains good with the yellowtail snappers and ceros, if that is what you are after, as the wind has been creating enough movement to keep these guys chewing. The best of it has been from 60 to 80-feet as usual, so not much change here. Although, the patch reefs have some pretty nice fish on them, so you definitely don’t have to go deep to get them.
No report from the cobia on the ocean side this week mostly due to the weather, but if we get it to slick off, and the water cleans up, I will bet you they will be on the rays. We should start seeing the permit on the wrecks pretty soon, as they begin their annual migration to spawn. I have received one report already from the bubble blowers that they are starting to see a few on the deeper offshore wrecks, so stay tuned for this update. Still some pretty good fishing around, but you just have to fish smart. It has definitely been a week to “fish for what is biting’. Well, that is it for this week everyone! Check back next week to see what’s going on in our little piece of paradise!
Welcome back to the Lower Keys Fishing Forecast, it’s been breezy down here this week, but the fishing has been great. The forecast looks like sunshine and 15mph winds this weekend, but mostly out of the south or southeast, so it should be warm out. The blackfin tunas are still the most consistent fish caught offshore and fishing with livebaits has been more productive than trolling. Fishing on the Gulf side with these southeast winds has been excellent. There been some nice cobia, kingfish and plenty of snappers. Also, there have been a lot of red groupers around the shallow rock piles recently, they’re fun to catch, but you have to let them go right now. Anytime you’re anchored in the Gulf, it’s always a good idea to keep a live bait on wire floating way back in your chum slick.
Fishing in the Backcountry has been really good this past week. We have had a warm February and the shallow water fish are really liking it. We had some tarpon schools show up around Keys West, it’s difficult to find them consistently right now, but it’s great to see some big fish showing up. Permit have also been around on the flats. If you’re looking to target one of the toughest fish in shallow water, now is a great time. The barracuda fishing on the flats has been excellent, as well. There are a lot of big ones around and they have been eating great.
Capt. Jamie Connell