A plague of windy weather has no doubt affected the fishing plans of many readers of this column. I can sympathize as even in my 43’ Charter Boat we have lost a few trips of late. All wind is not the same of course and even relatively small boats can fish on the south side if the wind is out of the north; as the east-west laying Keys form a natural lee. Hawk’s Channel patch reefs are a great destination on days featuring 20 knots of North wind. On the other hand if the wind shifts into the SE or South, even more modest breezes will result in a lumpy sea state because the sea is building from the open ocean. It’s not a bad idea on a day when you are weathered out to catch up on boat and tackle maintenance.

Fishing of late has been in a bit of a rut. It’s pretty quiet offshore with just the occasional Wahoo, Blackfin Tuna, and Dolphin encountered. The past full moon yielded a small uptick in the Wahoo action but overall it was another disappointing winter moon for Wahoo. In closer to the reef edge, Sailfish remain scarce and the Tuna bite on the wrecks is intermittent. Fishing the deep water (150’ – 200’) has yielded some nice catches of Mutton Snapper for those that know the spots. On the reef itself, Yellowtail Action has been so so – these fish are never as aggressive mid winter as they are with warmer water temps. Black Grouper are beginning to congregate on their historical spawning sites but must be released as the season is closed. King Mackerel and Cero along with various Jack species- Amberjack, Yellow Jack, Blue Runners and Cravalles have all been part of the reef mix. Is it too early to start to look forward to the spring migration?

Tight lines and good luck,

Capt. Brad Simonds