Fishing over the past few months has been excellent here in the Lower Keys. In the winter, depending on the weather, you have plenty of options. So far we have had a fairly mild winter, allowing us to get offshore with regularity and stay on the fish. The tuna fishing started getting good in November and the past couple weeks have been awesome. We do not always have to run far from the dock either, we’ve been catching some nice size fish 6 or 7 miles from home. The wahoo fishing was good around the last full moon and I would expect we see some more fish as we approach this January full moon.
Whenever we have been able to get out to the Gulf side to fish, it has been excellent. We had spells of strong south winds this winter and the Gulf of Mexico has provided us protection from the wind and good fishing. Some of the best fishing has been in shallow, around 20 feet of water. We have caught plenty of nice snapper, cobias, kingfish and some big sharks, like bull sharks and tiger sharks. Many of the cobia we have seen have been swimming on the backs of the sharks. The kingfish have been eating live baits on the surface, way back in the chum slick.
For the most part, in the winter, the flats are all about the barracudas. We had some big fish cruising around on the flats this year and they have been eating well. When its colder out, the barracudas tend get more fired up and its super fun targeting them on top water lures and light tackle. I’m looking forward to fishing the Cuda Bowl down here, which is on February 1st and 2nd. On the warmer days, we are still seeing some bonefish around, and some of the bonefish have been big. If we get warm spells of weather in February or March, I wouldn’t be surprised if we start to see some schools of tarpon rolling around in the backcountry.