September 24, 2021
Key Largo to Key West
Captains Juan Garcia, James Chappell and Jamie Connell tackle backcountry, inshore and offshore fishing from Key Largo to Key West, including Islamorada and Marathon.
September 24 - 26
Great weather and great fishing has been the theme in the Florida Keys backcountry. The areas around Flamingo have been holding some snook, redfish, trout, tarpon and some big sharks. The grassy areas close to First National bank will give you some decent action with trout, snappers and other rod benders. Live baits and artificials will work great in this areas. Also keep an eye out for free floating tripletail in the area. Most everyone is picking up a few for dinner.
Look for the big trout bite to continue from Sandy Key out towards Spriger bank with some giant ladyfish as well. Drifting over grassy bottom next to banks with good current flow while bouncing artificials like D.O.A plastics or white pompano jigs close to the bottom, or under a popping cork has been working well. As we approach October, the Gulf fishery will continue to fire up with more cobia and Spanish mackerel showing up especially around the wrecks and other bottom structure.
A live well full of pilchards around the local bridges and channels will keep you busy with all kinds of excitement. We have been catching some really nice snappers, keeper groupers, giant barracuda, sharks and tarpon among others. Anglers putting their time in stalking the local flats and banks are getting multiple shots at bonefish. Some also report good permit sightings as well. The change in weather is around the corner and as soon as the water temperatures start cooling off a bit, we are in for some amazing Florida Keys backcountry fishing. Good luck on the water.
Till next week,
Capt. Juan Garcia
Hello everyone and welcome back again to this week’s report! It's been a really strange weather week with a lot of variety. The low pressure system that eventually turned into Hurricane Nicholas brought a funky bunch of weather to our area, but thankfully didn’t seem to mess with the fishing too much.
The offshore scene is still going strong with a solid bite of blackfin tuna on all the humps. Some really nice fish have been found on all three, with the biggest being on the Islamorada and West humps. The sharks are challenging to say the least on each, but is manageable for the most part. Frustrating, but manageable. The mahi have been abundant all week with some nicer fish on average coming through. Anything from 1200’ to 700’ in the weeds seemed to do the trick. A few migrators in open water, with a few nice sets of slammers around as well. Pretty good fishing, and things seem to keep pushing on, so hopefully we will continue into October as we have the last few years. The sword ledge has been tough this week, with some smaller fish being caught. I did hear of one over 300 pounds. Never got the confirmation, so it's anybodys guess, but 'tis the season.
Not much going on with the wreck fishing this week. Most everyone I know has given up due to the sharks. An attempt here and there with a fish or two being taken is about all I have heard of. No reason to keep feeding the fish to the sharks, so we are just going to give this a break for a while. The yellowtail fishing on the reef has been decent, but the sharks are getting thicker in there as well. You can get them, but you better have people who can wind and get a fish in quick. It is full-contact reef fishing right now with the amount of bull sharks out there. It is really pretty crazy. Anyway, fishing offshore is great, but the reef and wreck fishing is challenging. You can make a day of it, but you are doing a lot of moving around. The good news is bait is good and the weather for the weekend is looking AMAZING! That’s all for this week you guys, catch you back here next week!
Capt. James Chappell
Welcome back to the Lower Keys fishing forecast. After a rainy and stormy week down here, the weather for the weekend looks nice. The wind should be less than 10 mph and we have less than a 30% chance of rain over the weekend. With the beautiful forecast ahead, you may want to try to get offshore this weekend. The blackfin tuna bite has really started to pick up and there are some decent size fish out there. The wahoo should also start to show up on this full moon and you may even find some mahi mahi still hanging around. Right now, you can try to troll offshore or use live baits to catch your fish. Whether you are trolling or live bait fishing, you will want to fish structure, like the edge of the reef line or offshore wrecks. You can also look for birds or any other signs of life.
Overall, the backcountry fishing has been good. There are some fish around, but fishing on the flats can get challenging when we have clouds and high tides. We have our highest tides of the year around this full moon in September. The fish are still on the flats, they are just harder to spot in the higher water, especially if we have heavy cloud cover. However, there are a few things you can look for that will help give the fish away. You can always look for baby tarpon, they come up to the surface and roll, so they can be easy to get eyes on. When looking for permit and bonefish, you can look for mudding in the water, from the fish digging in the bottom for food.
Capt. Jamie Connell