When does fishing season start and Finish
Our winter months are about the most dramatic in the way of temperatures and probably the most obvious day to day fishery change due to the weather. One day it can be blowing from the north and the winter species will prevail both inshore and offshore. Then a wind switch is all it takes to usher in some warm moist air from the south and all of a sudden you think its October and summer species are here and chewing.
The main thing folks like to fish for is the beginning of our sailfish run. Sailfish from 30-70 lbs are coming down the reef line when conditions are right. Balckfin tunas and the mackerel are a big part of winter deep sea fishing. Our King Mackerel (kingfish) range from 10 - 60 lbs. We also have an abundance of cero mackerel approaching world record sizes on the cooler days. Catch a southerly breeze and the dolphin (mahi mahi) will show up and there are always good amounts of bonito and barracudas to fill in the gaps.
We think the winter is the best time for meat hunters for Yellowtail snappers, mutton snappers and grouper making up the list mixed with the mackerels such as cero and king eating the massive amounts of bait attracted to the reef and wrecks. Grouper season closes in the Atlantic on January 1 every year so we hope to get the cooler waters here in December to make good on the last part of season. A great way to catch a nice dinner and not kill the bank. On the wrecks in the cooler months like January and February we look for Cobia.
Winter can be windy. But it can also be warm and humid on some of the days which really turns on the Key West flats fishing. Permit don't seem to care much about cooler water temps and can always be spotted by the patient angler. January and February being better months for sight fishing for large permit on the flats. Large barracudas sun themselves on the flats and will eat a bait presented well. Cobia will tail the rays and sharks cruising the flats in the cooler water temps. Jack crevales are a fun way to break up the day on the flats as they chase the rays in the shallows. redfish are also a fun species to target but can be very specific to tides. We call the redfish the winter time bonefish. Speaking of which, bonefish, while still around, are not a focused target in the winter while flats fishing. We fish the flats on our flats boats and bay boats in the winter based on our clients needs and desires. Both light tackle spin fishing and fly fishing techniques are used here.
In the winter backcountry fishing charters make up a large portion of our trips here in Key West. With the promise of calmer waters even on windier days and lots of action throughout a fishing trip makes it a great way to go. We have an amazing speckled sea trout fishery here in Key West. With the sea trout runs jack crevales, blue fish, pompano, snappers, ladyfish and sharks. Its not uncommon for an angler to catch 40 to 50 fish in a half day charter with over 10 different species. With our bay boats we can handle up to four anglers for a fun day of backcountry fishing .
We really enjoy fishing the Marquesas Keys providing the weather is not too crazy in the winter. Working all around the islands for shots at a larger number of species on many different types of tackle. We call this trip the "All In Wonder". Great for 3 anglers or less, but we can take up to 4. Fishing the flats, the shallow wrecks and reefs surrounding the Marquesas makes for a super fun day with winter time shots at: Permit on the flats and shallow wrecks, big barracudas sunning themselves on the flats, large jacks cruising with the rays, sharks, tarpon on the warmer days, grouper and snapper on the reefs using light tackle and lot of other really fun fish. Check out the "All In Wonder" fishing charter to learn more.
Spring time is a great time and the most popular (most people come here) time to fish here in Key West both inshore and deep sea. We have a huge cast of characters (fish species) ready to eat and entertain. The end of winter is ushered out by warm fronts and more tropical breezes. Tourists are visiting Key West in the droves with spring breakers stating late February going into March and families follow them. Spring is the time for our sport fishing. The tarpon fishing heats up as the migration happens inshore and the sailfish push through offshore with the biggest dolphin we will see all year. People ask us all the time " when is the best time to go fishing in Key West"? Spring time is my cookie cut answer.
The flats are coming alive in the spring with the warmer water temps. Permit fishing is really strong in March just before these world class sport fish head out to the wrecks and reefs for a migration break in April right around the moon. Mid April some bonefish start to show up in their haunts and get pretty consistent by May and June, albeit not very large. The migration for tarpon fishing starts in May. Where a huge slew of tarpon come to Key West making themselves available to flats fishermen in less than 3 ft of water. This is a very busy time for all of us flats fishing guides as the tarpon migration has become very popular. Book your dates early. As June matures the flats fishing gets EPIC, but the temps also get pretty warm. Flats fishing in June has lots of...