October 15, 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.
October 15 - 17
Hello everybody! Anglers have been taking advantage of the drop in water temperatures thanks to the many rain showers that have been passing by South Florida lately. Redfish, snook, tarpon and trout have all been available in the Florida Keys backcountry. Fishing the area around Flamingo on the lower stages of the tides has been very productive and will continue to be so. Get up on the shallow flats as the water rises for a shot at some redfish and snook. Artificial bait such as D.O.A jerkbaits rigged weedless will work best for the shallow spots and a jig head rigged with a Berkley Gulp! shrimp will work best in the deeper areas. The Cape Sable area has been producing some great catches of redfish, snook and tarpon. Fish the beach, runoffs and creek mouths on the incoming tide. Live baits will be best but artificials will get the job done as well. The best trout bite has been going on in from the Middle Grounds all the way around towards Sprigger Bank, in and around the Everglades National Park boundaries. Scented soft plastics, D.O.A's and bucktail jigs bounced on the bottom or under a popping cork will get plenty of attention from trout, snappers, ladyfish, bluefish and many more, making for a day full of great rod-bending action. The Spanish mackerel are starting to show up so expect some cut offs or add a few inches of wire to your leader.
Out on the wrecks and structure in Gulf waters, the bite will continue to improve as the temperatures keep dropping. There has been some nice cobia showing up lately and it's only going to get better. Snappers, goliath grouper, sharks, permit and many others are present as well. Anchor up current from the spot, get the chum bag in the water and let the action begin. Live shrimp on a jig bounced on the chum slick will produce the bites.
The bonefish bite throughout the Keys remains excellent around the oceanside and bayside flats. Working the strong tides right now has been proven very productive for many anglers. Keep an eye on the deeper edge of the flats or banks for a hungry pack of permit, a well presented small crab will get you hooked up. The resident tarpon have been enjoying the cooling showers and the decrease in boat traffic around the local islands, bridges and channels. Live pilchards continue to be the bait of choice. The pilchards have been more abundant and fishing with them around the bridges and channels throughout the keys continues to be very productive. Take advantage of the great fishery we enjoy and take the family fishing!
Till next week,
Capt. Juan Garcia
Hello everyone, and welcome back to this week’s report! It sure seems that the summer is never going to end, and we are just going to have all the fish here all the time from now on! Wouldn’t that be awesome! It sure feels that way right now, but I keep thinking that every week the mahi are going to move on, but they just keep on coming! It is a pretty incredible time of year no doubt, and you can just about catch anything right now. No complaining here! The weather this week has been decent, but a good amount of rain running around. Definitely manageable, but there have been a few dreary days this week. Things really started to brighten up toward the end of the week. Good thing the fish are biting, because it wouldn’t have been nearly as much fun if there weren’t.
The mahi offshore have been on fire! Good numbers and good size fish on average all week, and the tunas are still biting on the humps if that is your game. The pilchards have been solid to the west of Islamorada, so no excuses. There have been a few size large blackfin tuna occurrences on the deeper wrecks, so this is showing a few signs of movement, but offshore is still really good. The wreck fishing has been pretty solid, but same as last week. A pretty good bite of king mackerel, and some bottom fish with lots of sharks. The wahoo are finally starting to show up as several were caught this past week all up and down the road. Looking like this could be a great season to come for these guys. The sailfish bite is still showing signs of early promise, with most boats getting 2-3 shots per day that put in the work. There have been some fish showering as well, so things are shaping up.
The reef was pretty solid this week with some good yellowtail snapper fishing too! Plenty to catch and lots of good eats still coming over the rail all week. The weekend is looking nothing short of spectacular with light winds and sunshine, so I am sure the fishing will be on fire! Hope everyone has a great weekend, and be safe out there! See ya next week!
Capt. James Chappell
Welcome back to the Lower Keys Fishing Forecast. We had some stormy weather this week, but that seems to be clearing out for the weekend. It looks like it will be mostly sunny, with light winds and a low chance of precipitation. The offshore reports seemed to have slowed up a little, but the bottom fishing around the deep wrecks has been good. There have been groupers, amberjacks and a variety of snappers on the bottom. You can drop live baits, like pilchards or ballyhoo, but dead cut bait will work as well. You will want to use some heavier gear and get the fish up as fast as possible because the sharks are usually close by and they are looking for an easy meal.
The fishing in the backcountry remains really good for permit and bonefish and that should stay good until the cold fronts start to move in. This may happen early next week, but for now the water is still in the mid 80’s in the backcountry. There is still a lot of bait around inshore, like pilchards, ballyhoo and mullet. Look for the birds diving near the mangroves and that is where the bait will be. You can find a lot of fish around the bait as well, like snappers, jacks, barracudas and juvenile tarpon.
Capt. Jamie Connell