Overall the fishing has been very solid for the last several weeks. Dolphin, large Blackfin Tuna and Sailfish have dominated the action. We have also had success with Yellowtail Snapper on trips when we have anchored down on the reef. The wind has been an issue with lots of days featuring 15 to 20 knots or above. The harder it blows the better the fishing has been.
Key West Fishing Reports
Fishing over the last several weeks has produced a number of outstanding catches ranging from Dolphin and Tuna to Mutton Snapper and Yellowtail. On days with the wind direction out of the SE the Dolphin fishing has been pretty good even though we are well off season for this species. On days with N or NE wind we have done a combination of trolling and bottom fishing to produce results. Sailfish remain somewhat scarce, catching one every once in a while.
We are still waiting on cooler weather to bring water temperatures down and get our winter fishing kick started. In the meantime there are Blackfin Tuna and a few Dolphin outside of the reef edge, Amberjack on the wrecks and Yellowtail, Cero, Yellow jacks and assorted Mackerel on the reef.
After a disappointing start to the Dolphin season as noted in our last fishing report, the last several weeks has offered by far the most consistent Dolphin fishing of the entire season. As is always the case in fishing, no two days are ever the same and some days are better than others but we have been averaging 12 to 20 fish per trip. Most of these fish range in size from 7 to 12 pounds and most days include fish 15 to 20 pounds.
We are now well into Dolphin season and the results have frankly been disappointing. Very few large fish have been caught, even during the mid May period when historically the bigger fish migrate through our area. The volume of schoolie fish, those between 4 and 8 pounds is also down. Not withstanding the tough fishing we have been able to produce decent catches by working really hard to track down birds, floating debris and scattered weed. One bright spot over the last month has been the quality SAilfishing which is late in the season for these fish. A dramatic color change has been in place outside the reef edge featuring green water on one side and blue water with strong east current on the other. Live baiting has produced most of the action. There have also been full sized Blackfin Tuna in the 20 to 30 pound range mixed in.
Many people believe that the month of April is the best fishing month of the year in Key West.
This is because no other month offers as much variety. All the winter species are still biting, while the spring migration
is adding to the abundance of Sailfish, Dolphin, Amberjack, Permit and many others. We have been Kite fishing with live bait
to produce Sailfish action, anchoring and chumming the reef for Snapper and making forays into the deep water for early season Dolphin.
More cold and blustery weather this past week. Good thing the fish don’t seem to mind. Patch and Reef fishing remains good. Plenty of King fish scattered around, also beginning to catch a few Blackfin Tuna. Sailfishing remains slow.
We’ve had relatively good fishing action during the Christmas week and beyond. Plenty of action on the patch reefs for Cero, Grey Snapper, Yellowtail and throwback Grouper. The deeper reef edge has yielded Jumbo sized Yellowtail and a good number of King Mackerel including a few over 30 lbs. Sailfish are relatively scarce, but we are getting in front of a few.
After Surviving Hurricane Irma in September and a Boat yard trip in October, The SOUTHPAW resumed Charter fishing In early November. The last month has seen very good fishing for a whole variety of species, from late season Dolphin to early season Tuna and Wahoo. The patch reefs are also alive with fish.
Mid summer in Key West can be a challenging time of year. Offshore the Dolphin fishing is less consistent than in previous months. Dolphin remain but they tend to be on average smaller fish, located further offshore. A minimum of a 3/4 day is required to have a fair chance for success. Fortunately there are other options for shorter trips or for those seeking fish other than Dolphin. The reef action for Snapper has been consistent and at times excellent for Grey Snapper, Yellowtail Snapper and Mutton Snapper. Dropping live baits on deep water wrecks is producing decent Amberjack action. Inshore trolling is producing action from Little Tunny, Cero and a few Wahoo.