Fishing over the course of the last month has been decidedly uneven. On successful days when “the plan” came together we’ve produced both Blue water fish such as Sailfish and Tuna as well as reef fish such as Snapper and Grouper all in the same day. Live baiting, deadbaiting, kite fishing, as well as anchoring and chumming have all been a part of our tactics. Other days have been tough- live bait not cooperating, dirty weedy lifeless water, or too much or too little current in the wrong direction. Perhaps the most significant oddity in the fishing this winter has been the scarcity of King Mackerel which we rely on for dependable rod bending action this time of year. Without the Kings, its been a steady diet of Cero, Little Tunny, and Yellowtail with a few Sailfish and Tuna mixed in.
Key West Fishing Reports
Unseasonably warm weather prodominated during the month of December. As a result much of the fishing action that we anticipate for the early winter season has been slow to develop. King Mackerel for example have remained scarce. We have been catching a modest number of Sailfish and Tuna. We had an excellent though short lived blitz of Wahoo’s as well. The reef edge is producing Mutton Snapper and Yellowtail along with Cero. Shark fishing for those who want to pull on something big has been outstanding. Inshore on the patch reefs there is plenty of action from Grouper and Muttons.
After an extended yard trip the SOUTHPAW went back in the water on Nov 3rd. The boat has been completely repainted and looks great. Average daily temperatures have dropped much faster this fall than last year. The result is a return to the type of fishing we expect this time of year. Huge schools of Ballyhoo up and down the reef edge are attracting plenty of attention from Sailfish, Cero, Mutton Snapper, Blackfin Tuna, Bonita and Yellowjacks. On most days recently we have been able to load our live wells with Ballyhoo in short order. From there it’s only a matter of putting a lively baitÂ in front of a hungry fish to get a bite.
Fishing in Key West over the last month has remained a challenge. There has been very little which is dependable. Conditions seem to change almost by the hour. Offshore, one day there are a few weed lines and some Dolphin around, the next day gone. The same has been true on the reef. One day dirty water and west current, the next day clean water and east current. This has put a premium on being flexible about what we fish for. Most days we have been prepared to do a little of everything, trolling, bottom fishing, live baiting,Â in order to put a catch together. Here is some photographic evidence of what we’ve caught during the month of July.
Dolphin fishing remains challenging. We are catching some on virtually every trip but it hasn’t been easy as there has been very little weed to work. Recently we’ve caught several over 30lbs. There have also been a fair number of Billfish offshore, most in the vicinity of the “wall” some 20 miles offshore. We’ve caught Sailfish, White Marlin and a Blue Marlin in the last several weeks. Inshore on the reef edge Snapper fishing has been productive.
In a normal year May is our very best month for Dolphin. This year we’ve not seen the number of migrating Mahi,Mahi we would expect. None the less, by by looking far and wide we have managed to put together some reasonable catches. We have also been fishing the reef edge and have been catching Flag Yellowtail and Mutton Snapper.
Clear blue water and light current has been the predominate condition over the last several weeks with the result that reef fishing has been difficult. We have concentrated our efforts on Blue Water fish. Black fin Tuna have been consistent, particularly biting well in the late afternoons. Sailfish are increasing in numbers and there are also a few Wahoo around. Tight to the reef edge Kingfish and Little Tunny are also biting pretty well.
The wind continues to blow with just the occasional calm day inbetween. Fishing has been fair over the last several weeks. The King Mackerel action is steady in several locations and we’ve been targeting them with live bait fished on 15lb test line, good fun on that light tackle. We have also been producing some outstanding catches of jumbo sized Yellowtail Snapper, fish between 22″-25″ or 3-4 pounds. Great eating fish. We have also been catching a few Mutton Snapper, Cero, Little Tunny, Amberjack. and various Shark species. Sailfish, Tuna, Mahi, and Wahoo remain scarce.
Cold windy weather has prevailed over the last several weeks. We have lost a number of trips owing to strong winds. On days when we’ve been out, we are catching a mixed bag of species from Snapper to Tuna. No type of fishing has been consistent so we have done a whole variety of different things each day to put a catch together.
Lots of wind, lots of ugly rainy days over the last several weeks. We are finally getting some cold weather which should, over time improve our fishing. There has been no “go to” fishing recently. King Mackerel which we can generally depend on this time of year have been fairly scarce. Blue water fishing has been slow as well, conditions have looked good with a pronounced color change and strong east current outside the reef edge but on many days that area hasn’t yielded many bites. We’ve done pretty well catching big Yellowtail on a number of days and added a little of this and a little of that to make up a catch.