March 24, 2023
By Captains Juan Garcia, James Chappell and Jamie Connell
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.
March 24 - 26
Backcountry - Report from 3/17
Hello everyone! We had some great weather to kick off last weekend followed by a cold front that dropped water temperatures a bit. It was all about the tarpon fishing until the weather turned cold and windy but anglers that targeted them got hooked up with the silver king both on fly and baits. Anglers fishing in the Key Largo area reported a good bite of snook and reds with big jacks mixed in. They mostly fished live baits around the mainland and island shorelines. The Flamingo area remains inconsistent with snook, redfish and trout. Out toward the Cape Sable area, anglers reported a spotty bite as well. Look for snook to be feeding around the deeper shorelines with good tidal flow with a few redfish as well. The tarpon were everywhere out west before the windy conditions and as soon as the weather settles back it will be game on.
There are still some Spanish mackerel around just not in the same numbers. They should start to thin out as the weather trend keeps warming in the coming weeks. The trout bite on the western edges of the park has been decent along with some snappers.
The sight fishing conditions have been tough for the bonefish, tarpon and permit fishing on cloudy and windy days. Captain Andy Putetti has been catching the bonefish around Islamorada despite the tough conditions and also landing some big permit for his anglers. The guides that put their time and skills to the test looking for tarpon managed to get some shots while fly fishing. We fished the local channels around Islamorada last weekend and had a blast catching groupers, snappers, tarpon and lots of jacks of all sizes. All we are waiting for now is warmer weather and the fishing is going to fire back up in the Florida Keys backcountry.
Good luck on the water and keep on fishing!
Till next week,
Capt. Juan Garcia
Hello everyone, and welcome back to this week’s report! Another week has come and gone here in these beautiful islands, and the wind continues to blow. The weather forecast was much milder at the beginning of the week, and the forecast was to be calm, but that is a big no-go for us. A lot of rain and wind early in the week, but the sun came out midweek, and we are making the most of it. The fishing has been decent this week, but I wouldn’t say good. Just enough to scrape by really, but we are still managing some great dinners and smiles so we will take it! Things are looking up though as the wind starts to move around so we are excited to see if the weather report for the weekend actually happens. Winds are forecast to be around 10 out of the South, so time will tell. As for the fishing, just a little bit of everything around. The best of it is probably the permit fishing on the wrecks as they are stacked up in the spawn. Some kings around, as well as a few wahoo and sails being caught up and down the reef. The wrecks a producing a few nice muttons and the reef top is yielding some snappers and ceros. Nothing crazy anywhere really, but good enough until things pick up. Bait fishing has been good, so this makes for some solid hope in the mornings, but we are blessed with more than we need so we are grateful! Well, that is it for this week! Check back next week for a new report and hopefully it will be on FIRE!
Capt. James Chappell
Welcome back to the Lower Keys Fishing Forecast, we had a cool start to the week down here, but everything has been warming back up as we make our way through the week. The forecast looks warm, sunny and breezy for the weekend. Fishing in the backcountry was tough early in the week with the clouds and cooler water, but we’re seeing more fish as the water warms up. Tarpon have still been hit or miss so far this spring, but if the temperature stays consistent, the tarpon fishing should stay more consistent as well. As long as the water temperature has been warm, the bonefish bite has been excellent this spring, but I haven’t many permit around in the Lower Keys.
This wind can make casting hard for my anglers, but if you can figure out how to cast in the wind, you can catch a lot of fish. One great thing about the wind, it helps disguise the boat and that allows the fish to come in closer. My clients often think that casting far is important and it can be for certain shots, but when it's windy, casting accurately and close by will get you the fish. Bonefish are our most honest fish as well, so if you can get your fly or jig out in front of them, they usually eat.
Capt. Jamie Connell