Key Largo to Key West
Includes Islamorada and Marathon
Hello everyone! Last weekend turned out to be a stormy one with the constant down pours. The anglers that got out on the water experienced some great Florida Keys backcountry fishing. The bite continues to be typical for this time of the year. The water is nice and hot and the redfish, snook and tarpon are loving it. Look for the majority of the redfish to be patrolling the shallow areas of the park with snook and tarpon not far behind. Baits like DOA Jerk Shads, gold spoons, skimmer jigs and many others designed for shallow water will work great when targeting these fish. Trout continue to bite soft plastics on the mullet muds and grassy bottom areas. Fish the deeper channels around Flamingo for some tarpon and shark action. Dead or live mullet or ladyfish will get plenty of action. Out towards the Cape Sable area and up the coast expect the snook bite to continue to be productive. Fish the mainland shorelines with live pinfish or pilchards for the best action but artificial baits will work great too. Tarpon will be cruising close to the mainland shorelines and your favorite crank bait casted in their path will most likely get eaten. The wrecks out in Gulf waters continue to be packed full of action. Big goliath groupers, sharks, snappers, the occasional cobia and permit plus a hole lot of rod benders can all be there, waiting for your offerings. Out closer to the park boundaries, expect the good bite to continue. Big monster trout, ladyfish, snappers and a couple of bluefish are all eating white pompano jigs bounced close to the grassy bottom. Drift the areas from Sandy Key towards Blue, Schooner and Sprigger Banks for the best action.
Look for the tarpon fishing to be ok throughout the Keys. The anglers that are putting the time on it are getting the bites while fishing live mullet both live or dead on the bottom during daylight hours. Big pilchards have been doing great, especially around the tide change. Drifting live crabs on the outgoing tide during nighttime hours has been the ticket to guarantee multiple bites. Bonefish continue to feed on both ocean side and bayside flats throughout the keys. Look for tailing fish on the lower stages of the tide and pushing or mudding fish on the higher tide. Permit are still found cruising along the edges of flats and banks both bayside and oceanside. Stealth is the key on the really calm days. Some permit can also be found around the many bridge pilings throughout the Keys. Cast the crab up current and let it drift next to the structure. Make sure you have strong enough tackle to pull the fish away from the structure. The forecast calls for a better chance of sunshine this weekend and light winds. The bugs have been horrible in the backcountry so good repellent is a must. Good luck on the water!
Hello everyone, and welcome back to this week’s report! Another great week of fishing here, with some rainy weather, but the quality of fishing definitely made it worth it! The offshore bite is incredible right now with the mahi fishing in full force! Even the moon didn’t effect the bite this week, and it was all you wanted every day. The tunas on the humps bit well with the football-sized fish, but not much from the larger fish. Even the sword ledge produced a few good ones this week, and the deep dropping remains solid! Plenty to do on the offshore scene! The wrecks and deep reefs were the slowest part of the week despite this being a spawning moon for the muttons. Although, there were some caught, the fish really never got set up due to some really nasty green water that moved in from the Gulf oh Mexico. It has since moved out, but no doubt this had an effect on the fishing. Not much of anything in these areas, but a few kings, jacks, bonito, and very few muttons and groupers…of any size I should say. There were plenty of small fish around, and it almost made you feel like the kids were taking advantage while the parents were away. It was sort of weird, but it is what it is…that’s fishing sometimes I suppose. The reef bite on the edge was really good this week with a great bite from the yellowtail snappers, with a few mangrove snappers off the bottom. Some nice cero mackerel in the slick, as well as some nice bar jacks. Some really good fishing this week, and there’s nothing but indications that it’s only going to get better. Plenty of bait in the area, and the majority of our fishery seems to be happy! That’s it for this week, so be safe out there and good luck!
Welcome back to the Lower Keys Fishing Forecast, the weather has been getting nicer down here and the forecast for the weekend looks great. The weatherman is calling for 10 mph winds and sunny skies. The offshore bite has been slow overall, there are some dolphin out there, but a lot of chicken dolphin and a lot of undersize fish. The big ones are getting harder to find. Also, we have had a lot of sargassum weeds this summer and it has been difficult to keep your lures clean while trolling some days. If you have a deep drop set up, you should bring that with you offshore. There have been some blueline tilefish, snowy groupers, and yellowedge groupers out deep on the bottom. Bonito chunks or whole squid on a five hook chicken rig are what you need to fish down there.
The backcountry fishing has been better than the offshore fishing. The tarpon bite has been decent. We are getting a few fish to eat, but we are not seeing as many fish as we should be for this time of year. Hopefully with the wind laying down this weekend, we will see some more tarpon showing up. The bonefish bite has been really good. We’re seeing plenty of big schools in shallow. If you can get a shrimp fly or a bucktail jig in front of those fish, they will usually eat it for you.
Capt. Jamie Connell