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Florida Keys Forecast

Florida Keys Forecast
Florida Keys Forecast

Key Largo to Key West

Captains James Chappell, Jamie Connell and Juan Garcia tackle backcountry, inshore and offshore fishing from Key Largo to Key West, including Islamorada and Marathon.


Action Spotter Podcast


Lower Keys-Updated July 11

Welcome back to the Lower Keys Fishing Forecast, we’ve had fairly mild wind all week, but there was a lot of overcast and hazy conditions. The forecast for the weekend is looking mediocre, with the wind around 15 mph, out of the east and 40 percent chance of rain.  If you can get offshore, the mahi mahi fishing has been excellent. This time of year, if you’re heading out deep, it’s always a good idea to keep a lookout for areas with seaweed, floating debris and bird activity. All these things usually lead you to mahi mahi. You can also catch them in a variety of ways, like trolling, live baits, artificial lures, and you can even fly fish for them.

The sight fishing on the flats was challenging this week, due the cloudy conditions, but there were fish around. The tarpon fishing was pretty good the last few days and that’s always nice when its cloudy. They roll on the surface and breathe air, so they tend to give themselves away easier then some of our other fish.  We should have good tarpon fishing through most of the summer, too. Lastly, we do have the new, single-day lobster season on Sunday, so good luck and stay safe out there.

Capt. Jamie Connell
www.flyingfishkw.com
(908) 303-9873


Lower Keys-Updated June 26

Welcome back to the Lower Keys Fishing Forecast, after a rough couple weeks, we finally have nice stretch of weather down here. The weekend looks pretty nice at the moment, the wind should be around 10-15mph and there is a 50% chance of rain on Sunday. The offshore fishing and reef fishing have been great, so this can be a good weekend to get out there and catch some tasty fish like mahi mahi, snapper and grouper. The Key West Marlin tournament is a few weeks away and that is always a fun event for the fishing community down here. If you’re looking to spend a few days offshore before the lobster mini season, this a great tournament to fish and you have the chance of winning a lot of money.

Although, we’re starting to reach the end of our tarpon season in the Lower Keys, we still have good amount of fish around. They have been biting well around the harbor in the mornings and were still seeing a good bit of fish moving on the ocean. The big groups of fish will be moving on shortly, but we’ll still get shots a big fish throughout the summer, it’s just less consistent than in the spring. The juvenile tarpon should be around all summer as well, they are usually, 10-30lbs and typically, we fish for them around the mangroves or in the bait schools.

Capt. Jamie Connell
www.flyingfishkw.com
(908) 303-9873


Lower Keys-Updated June 20

Welcome back to the Lower Keys Fishing Forecast, we’ve had a lot of wind down here and it’s not looking much better for the weekend. The wind will be dropping down to about 15-20mph, which is an improvement from the current wind at 25-30mph, but the chance of rain will be around 50-60 percent this weekend. I don’t have much to report on, as far as the offshore fishing goes, just because I don’t know of anyone who as made it out recently. If you can make it out there this weekend, the mahi mahi fishing should be good because there has not been much pressure on them and considering all the wind we’ve had, there should be some floating debris.

The flats fishing has been challenging due to the weather conditions, but there’s still fish around.  If we can get a little more sun and a little less wind, we should be able to connect with a few more fish.  Even on the windier days, fishing for bonefish has been pretty good. They don’t seem to mind the wind that much and it usually makes them less spooky. Casting in the wind can be difficult, but on the flats, the wind can help hide the boat from the fish and they are usually less aware your presence. You have a much better chance of getting away with a bad cast on these days, the fish may not spook out if you land your fly or jig on them.

Capt. Jamie Connell
www.flyingfishkw.com
(908) 303-9873


Lower Keys-Updated June 13

Welcome back to the Lower Keys Fishing Forecast, the weather this week has been brutal, but it looks like it’s getting a little better as we move toward the weekend. Saturday looks like the best day right now with lighter wind than Sunday. Due to the current weather conditions, I do not have any reports from the reef or offshore, but if you can get out this weekend, there should be plenty of mahi mahi around. It’s prime time for them. Finding a big one can be challenging, but most of them have been legal and there is a lot of action.  If you want to fill your freezer with delicious fish, go look for mahis this weekend.

Fishing on the flats has been tough this week, the heavy cloud coverage, rain and big wind has made the sight casting really hard. We were able to hide out in the mangroves and find a few smaller tarpon, but we didn’t get many shots at big fish. The fishing should be improving by this weekend as the weather improves. The tarpon should be swimming around Key West harbor and in the channels and basins in the backcountry.

Capt. Jamie Connell
www.flyingfishkw.com
(908) 303-9873


Lower Keys-Updated May 30

Welcome back to the Lower Keys Fishing Forecast, we’ve had beautiful weather all week and great fishing, but it will be windy this weekend.  The weatherman is saying there will be wind out of the east around 20mph this weekend, but it should be mostly sunny.  Even though, the mahi mahi fishing offshore has been great, if you can’t make it offshore, don’t worry.  The inshore fishing has been great as well.

The tarpon fishing has been excellent in the backcountry and that’s a nice option for when its windy.  You can often find tarpon rolling in many of the basins and channels, where you can hide out from the wind.  Live bait usually works best, like crabs, mullet and pinfish, but the artificial lures work as well.  You can usually hook jacks, sharks and other fish as bycatch when your tarpon fishing too.

Capt. Jamie Connell
www.flyingfishkw.com
(908) 303-9873


Upper Keys-Updated May 24

Hello everyone, and welcome back to this week’s report!  This past week the fishing has been decent as the moon approached with some surprises from the bottom dwellers.  The bottom fish have not been as active as we had hoped approaching the moon, but decent enough for the table.  The offshore bite was a little up and down, but seemingly became better once the moon arrived late in the week.  This is a little backwards, but going from very little current to it picking up makes sense.  The reef remained decent post spawn, but slacked on the slow tide.  Fish are still hungry and you can catch enough for dinner no worries.  The weekend weather looks good for the holiday, and the water traffic will be plentiful I am sure.  Looking forward to getting this summertime fishing moving in a consistent direction.  Be safe out there everyone!  Check back with you next week!  Happy Memorial Day!

Capt. James Chappell
catchalottafish.com
(305) 803-1321


Lower Keys—Updated May 23

Welcome back to the Lower Keys Fishing Forecast. The weather looks nice this weekend, with the wind around 10mph and partly cloudy skies.  Fishing has been good offshore, we’re getting into Mahi season now and they’re have been plenty of them around.  With the great weather over the weekend, it could be a great time to fish for mahi. You can find them anywhere on the southern side of the reef line, but many times you find more or bigger fish the deeper you run.

It’s always a good idea to keep an eye out for birds, weed lines and other floating debris; any sign of life out there can have fish around it.  Trolling is a great way to target mahi, but make sure you have a few spin rods set up with artificial lures or hooks for bait.  Many times the mahi will stay around the boat so being ready to pitch a lure or bait can really help you capitalize.

Inshore fishing remains good all around, there is a lot of life on the flats and in the backcountry right now.  There are plenty of big tarpon schools in the harbor, as well as in the basins and channels out back.  If you can get any live crabs or pinfish, those have been working great, but artificial lures can work on the tarpon as well.  There are plenty of bonefish around on the flats too and that fishery should be great through the summer and into the fall.

Capt. Jamie Connell
www.flyingfishkw.com
(908) 303-9873


Lower Keys—Updated May 16

Welcome back to the Lower Keys Fishing Forecast, the summer weather feels like it’s starting to set in.  The wind is beginning to lay down and it's starting to get hot. This should be a great weekend to get out on the water, with light winds and sunny skies.  The Grouper fishing on the reef has been great since the season opened on May 1st.  A lot of the light tackle guides are reporting nice sized black and red grouper.  You can also drop down to the bottom in some of the deeper structure, south of the Keys, for snowy and yellowedge groupers.  Those fish are usually in 400 feet of water and deeper and they taste excellent.

The inshore fishing has been very good this week.  There are a good number of tarpon around at the moment and a lot of big schools in the harbor. The bay boat guides are catching them consistently in the harbor on live pinfish.  Other live baits and artificial lures can work well too, but pinfish seem to be the preferred bait for most of the guides down here.  It’s easy to find where the fish are, they usually roll on the surface in big schools in the main ship channel. You can also mark the schools of fish on your bottom machine.

Capt. Jamie Connell
www.flyingfishkw.com
(908) 303-9873


PREVIOUS REPORTS

Lower Keys-Updated May 9

Welcome back to the Lower Keys Fishing Forecast, the weather for this weekend finally looks great, with light warm, winds and sunny skies. It will be a good weekend to get offshore and the mahi mahi fishing has started to get more consistent. This is the time of year when you get some bigger fish showing up, along with plenty of schoolies mixed in. Most of the fish are found under birds, floating weeds and other debris. You can catch them on the troll or you can throw live baits and artificial lures at them.  Also, if you hook one mahi and there is a school of fish around, make sure you leave 1 hooked fish in the water because the rest of the school with stay with that hooked fish.

The tarpon fishing has been a decent this past week. There have been fish in the backcountry and fish on the ocean side, but it has been breezy so fishing on the ocean has been tough. If could be good this weekend when the wind lays down. There have been a lot of bonefish around to keep us occupied, when the tarpon fishing has been slower. I have been finding big schools of bonefish on either tide on the gulf side this past week. Using a small bucktail jig, tipped with shrimp will work on those fish, you can also cast DOA shrimp or fly fish for them as well.

Capt. Jamie Connell
www.flyingfishkw.com
(908) 303-9873


Lower Keys-Updated May 1

Welcome back to the Lower Keys Fishing Forecast, this will be the first weekend that grouper season is open in 2024. Considering the weather looks decent this weekend, I’m sure it will be busy on the water, as well as around the marinas and boat ramps. The wind will be coming out of the east around 15mph, so it will be a little bumpy around the reef, but it should be warm and sunny. Make sure you know your regulations for Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico, as well as state and federal waters.

The backcountry fishing was very good this week. We’re just now, starting to see some bigger schools of tarpon showing up down here, both in Key West harbor and Bahia Honda. There have been a lot more tarpon moving on the ocean and fish in the basins and channels as well. If tarpon or grouper are not your thing, the bonefishing on the flats has also been great this week, especially on the gulf side. That is another good option for this weekend, especially if it’s going to be sunny and you can see well.

Capt. Jamie Connell
www.flyingfishkw.com
(908) 303-9873


Lower Keys-Updated April 18

Welcome back to the Lower Keys Fishing Forecast, we’ve had a breezy week down here, but the weekend is looking nice. It will still be a little windy, around 15mph, but it will be warm and sunny. The offshore bite has been okay this week. There are a few sailfish around, some dolphins and big blackfins tunas mixed in too. Most of the action seems to be close to the reef and out to 300 feet of water. You can catch these fish trolling, but if you can get some live baits, like ballyhoo or herring, those baits can work the best.

As far as the inshore bite goes, the tarpon fishing has been decent recently. There are some fish around in the channels and basins in the backcountry. Fishing for them has been challenging with the heavy wind, but it may be a little easier this weekend with the wind dropping out slightly. You can fish them in a variety of ways. I like to throw soft plastic artificial lures, like Hogys and paddle tail baits. You can also use live baits, like crabs, shrimp or pinfish. These fish can get very big, so make sure you have adequate gear, like a strong main line and a 50lb fluorocarbon leader.

Capt. Jamie Connell
www.flyingfishkw.com
(908) 303-9873


Upper Keys-Updated 3/29

Hello again, and back with a new report for this week from the Florida Keys! Some pretty good fishing all week with some windy conditions, but the Sailfish this week were pretty cooperative as we had another tailing condition develop between Marathon and Islamorada. A really nice edge out in 200-350 created a great condition and some anglers were able to get their chance at double-digit sailfish. A lot of mahi mixed in and even a few cobia and tunas, especially for the guys fishing the kites. A few boats in the 20s with several in the teens, it was a great couple days of fishing. The  wreck fishing remains in good condition as we enter the weekend. The front that approached us on Thursday stalled a bit dragging more wind into Friday, but the weekend as of now is looking decent. The reef top has been marginal with the dirty water, but a few areas have been doable for the yellowtail snappers. African pompano have been increasing on the wrecks as well as the permit.  Remember, Permit are in a closed season now as well in Monroe county. Bait has been decent all week, so that has been good, and here we go into the weekend!  Have a great Easter weekend everyone, and we will see you next week!

Capt. James Chappell
catchalottafish.com
(305) 803-1321


Lower Keys-Updated 3/28

Welcome back to the Lower Keys Fishing Forecast, we’ve had a super breezy week down here, but the weather for the weekend is looking pretty nice. It will still be windy, around 15-20 mph out of the East, but it should be warm and sunny. If you can get offshore, the blackfin tuna fishing has been great, especially later in the day and evening time. The sailfish bite has slowed down from a couple weeks ago, but there is still plenty of fish out there and this cold front can turn the bite on again.

Fishing in the backcountry has still been good all around, it was tough conditions this week with the big wind, but the fish are still here.  I would think this weekend should be great fishing with a more manageable wind and sunny skies. The fish should be eating well, too, because the temperature should be warming quickly coming off this minor cold front that hit today (Thursday). Bonefish are another great option right now on the flats and it's always the most fun when it’s sunny out. Although the wind can make casting with accuracy harder, it can be good for the fishing because it provides cover for the boat and the fish can be less aware of your presence.

Capt. Jamie Connell
www.flyingfishkw.com
(908) 303-9873

Recommended



Upper Keys-Updated 3/21

Hello everyone and welcome back to this week’s report! A fun week here in our little fishing village and some pretty nice weather so far this week. A little bit of everything around this week with some sails, lots of king mackerel, a few tunas and a really nice bite of mutton snapper. The rest of the supporting cast with the amberjacks, ceros, almaco jacks and sharks around to brighten up your day if things got slow. The permit are finally showing up making for the start of spring as they move out of the bay onto the offshore reefs and wrecks to start spawning. This is a really nice treat for our anglers as these guys are tough and will fight you down and dirty. We don’t keep any of them as they are catch and release, but they are a lot of fun to sight fish. The weekend weather is not looking so hot as of now. We have already cancelled Friday and Saturday and are expecting our Sunday charters to be better where the weather is concerned. Check back next week for a new report and see where we ended up!  Be safe out there everyone, and see ya next week!

Capt. James Chappell
catchalottafish.com
(305) 803-1321


Lower Keys-Updated 3/21

Welcome back to the Lower Keys Fishing Forecast, the weather for the early part of the weekend is looking questionable at best. The weatherman is calling for a lot of wind and rain on Friday and Saturday, however, Sunday looks much more mild, with a light north wind and sunny skies. Recently, the offshore fishing has been great down here, the blackfins have been biting well. A lot of the offshore guides like running evening tuna trips this time of year because the tuna bite is best later on in the day. The sunset in Key West is known to the excellent, but it’s even better if your offshore catching tunas.

The backcountry fishing has been great as well. The tarpon have started to show up in some of the basins and channels out in the backcountry.  As long as it hasn’t been too cold, the tarpon fishing has been consistent so far this month. The permit fishing has been decent, much better than last year.  We’ve had some shots at them on the flats and we’ve seen them floating in a few channels and shallow rock piles as well.  The bonefish are around too and that should only get better as we head further into spring.

Capt. Jamie Connell

www.flyingfishkw.com
(908) 303-9873


Upper Keys-Updated 3/8

Hello everyone and welcome back to this week’s report from the Upper Florida Keys!  Consistent fishing this week and fairly consistent weather for this time of year.  Fishing continues to hold on with a nice bite of Kings, a few sailfish and a few blackfin tunas. Throw in plenty of groupers that are closed for the season, a couple mutton snappers and an african pompano here and there and that is what is going on.

I suppose a bite from the yellowtails when the current is moving as well. Nothing crazy to write home about, but the good news is that the water is warming and things are slowly coming back to life. It is really feeling like once we get through this new moon we will be back on track. Need the water to warm up just a little and I think all will be good and just right for the spring fishing to take off.  Bait is still pretty tough, but we have been getting what we need. At least enough to make the day and not spend a crazy amount of time each morning catching it, so we will take it. Looking forward to some  nice weather for the weekend, and hoping the rain stays away. Check back next week for a new report and what has been happening in the Upper Florida Keys!  Thanks for reading, and be safe out there.

Tight Lines

Capt. James Chappell
catchalottafish.com
(305) 803-1321


Lower Keys-Updated 3/8

Welcome back to the Lower Keys Fishing Forecast, it looks like we have a decent weather weekend ahead with the weatherman calling for sunshine and a nice breeze out of the south. This time of year, if you can get offshore, I would focus around the color change when you get offshore and that is where the gulf stream water runs into the inshore water. There can be a lot of species to target, like sailfish, kingfish, wahoo, blackfin tunas and other stuff. Depending on weather, bait and what you want to target, you can drift with the baits, slow troll, kite fish, etc. All these baits work well on the bottom too, so it’s a good idea to keep something on the bottom or midway down the water column if conditions allow.

The fishing in the backcountry has been pretty good this week with the warmer weather. We’ve had some clouds and that has made spotting the fish difficult, but there are plenty of bonefish on the flats and some tarpon showing up in the channels and basins. There has also been a lot of big barracudas on the flats and it’s the most that have consistently been around this winter. I like throwing a variety of artificial lures at the barracudas, but whatever I’m throwing, I do not run multiple treble hooks. It’s a lot safer when you’re handling them and its easier on the fish.

Capt. Jamie Connell

www.flyingfishkw.com
(908) 303-9873


Backcountry-Updated 1/26

Hello everyone! The weather hasn't been perfect lately but that's typical for this time of the year. Anglers who fished throughout last week were rewarded with great all-around catches. Captain Lain Goodwin reported a spotty bite in Key Largo with snook, redfish, trout, sheepshead and pompano. Fish the Snake Bight Channel in Flamingo and adjacent deeper moats and runoff for a mixed bag of redfish, snook, sheepshead, trout and black drum. A shrimp and 1/4 oz chartreuse jig head crawled slowly on the deeper edge of the bank and runoffs will get the action. Fish the deeper channels and runoffs in the morning with the falling tide and work the shallow flats with the rising tide in the afternoon. Farther west towards the East Cape Canal and Lake Ingram area fish the mainland shorelines, channels and creek mouths for snook, redfish, sheepshead and black drum. The water levels have been really low so be careful not to get stuck.

The strong winds have kept us out of Gulf waters but when it's not blowing there's some great fishing to have. The cobia have been showing up well on all the farther deeper wrecks. Bring plenty of chum, shrimp and pinfish and you will be all set for some fun fishing. Tripletail are becoming more abundant so keep your eyes on the trap buoys for some good-eating fish. The areas from Sandy towards Sprigger Bank have been best on the warmer days. We had been staying close to park boundaries catching some trout, snappers, mackerel and sharks. Anchor up and deploy your chum bag, rig some 1/2 oz white, chartreuse or yellow pompano jigs with a couple of inches of light wire. Tip your jigs with shrimp and cast towards the chum slick for non-stop action. Always good to have the shark rod out since you never know what can show up. It's a great fishery for any type of angler. 

The bonefishing has been spotty with the strong winds and cloudy conditions. Fish the oceanside and bayside flats with an incoming tide, look for pushing fish on the lowest tide and mudding fish as the water rises. The weather conditions have made it tough for sight fishing but most of the anglers that put their time and effort on it got rewarded. Captain Andy Putetti has been on top of the bonefish in Islamorada putting his anglers into some big schools of fish. Couple of permit have been seen cruising the deeper edges of flats and banks both oceanside and bayside. Lots of patience and dedication have provided anglers with some great shots and catches. Don't miss out on the great fishing going on right now in the Florida Keys backcountry!

Capt. Juan Garcia
www.fishingcharterinislamorada.com
(305) 297-0438




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