Key Largo to Key West
Includes Islamorada and Marathon
February 19 – 21
Hello everyone! Tough bite lately in the Florida Keys backcountry. The water in the Flamingo area got pretty muddy thanks to southern winds. With a high outgoing tide in the morning the bite slowed down a bit. The anglers fishing shallow water skiffs made the best of it while finding fish way up in the skinny water. For the rest of us, we have been targeting some really nice trout along with decent jacks, ladyfish and other rod benders. With the windy forecast for the weekend, concentrate on areas that are protected from the wind with cleaner water.
Great action going on in Gulf waters. We have been getting some nice catches of Spanish mackerel, snappers, sharks and many more. Closer to park boundaries and in the bay we have been finding some really nice trout along with big jacks, mackerel, snappers, sharks and all the regular rod benders.
The hot weather we have been experiencing lately has brought some tarpon around the many Florida Keys bridges and channels. Anglers that put the time on it got rewarded with some nice fish. Groupers, snappers, sharks and many more have also been part of the action while fishing the Islamorada bridges and channels. The week days have been best with less boat traffic. The upcoming cold front should get us back in to our winter fishing patterns. Looking forwards to some great fishing next week.
Hello everyone, and welcome back to this week’s report! Another great week here in our little slice of paradise, and the weather so far has been cooperating mostly. The fishing has been pretty good too, but these multiple fronts sure aren’t helping with the water quality on the reef. There have been some ups and downs this week with the quality of fishing, but mostly good. The reef bite for yellowtail snapper has been on the good side with lots of dirty water around, and the current has been pretty good. Late in the week things tried to clean up, but Wednesday night a new front came through and put the brakes on that. With another front coming through on Friday, I think the dirty water is going to stick around a while longer. The wrecks this week have been mostly in the blue water in depths from 180′ to 300′ anyway. The mutton snappers have been biting better each week, and this week wasn’t much different. Still plenty of king mackerel around too, with some jacks and sharks mixed in. No report from any wahoo this week, at least in the upper keys, but the king macks have been pretty solid. They aren’t quite the size we have been getting, but some decent ones nonetheless. The sailfish bite remains on the slow side, but a few have been caught up and down the reef. There is absolutely zero consistency to it, so we are crossing our fingers that we are going to have a bang up spring like we did last year. Still some big tournaments left for these guys, so I sure hope they show up soon with all this cold weather pushing down. Time will tell I guess. The weather for the weekend isn’t looking so great right now, so I am not sure how we are going to end up. Saturday looks plenty doable if the rain stays away with the front, but Sunday is looking terrible with winds sustained at 25 gusting to 30. We will see, but right now it’s looking a little rough. Well, that’s it for this week. Check back next week to see how it all panned out!
Capt. James Chappell
Welcome back to the Lower Keys fishing forecast, it looks like a cold and windy weekend ahead. The forecast has the temperature in the 60’s on Saturday and wind gusts to 30mph on Sunday. The fishing offshore has still been slow, there has been a few tunas around and a couple wahoo, but the water has been really dirty offshore. This cold front could be what we need to improve the offshore bite. If it is too windy to make it offshore, you can always fish the shallower reefs this time of year. There are still nice mutton snappers and big kingfish around. Using live baits like pilchards and ballyhoo usually work best for me when I’m targeting those two species.
The backcountry fishing was awesome this week, as it was warm and sunny. There are tarpon starting to show up and there were a lot permit on the flats. That will change this weekend as the wind picks up from the north and the temperature drops. The barracudas should still be on the flats and they are always fun on artificial lures. There have also been schools of big jack crevalles around the basins and on the gulf side. Keep a look out for birds diving because it’s usually the jacks that are blowing up the bait.
Capt. Jamie Connell