Mahi Mahi

Summer Fishing Report

Tarpon

So far the fishing this summer has been great, for the most part I have been fishing the backcountry and doing a lot of of tarpon fishing.  The past few months have been busy and the weather has been good overall.  The tarpon fishing has been decent since April and we had a lot more tarpon around this May, then last year.  The best time to fish them has been in the morning, but we’ve had some good afternoon and evening sessions too.  We actually had 2 palalo worm hatches this year, one on the backside of the full moon in May and one just after the new moon in June.  We found plenty of fish eating both times, but the bite was tough.       

Bonefish

If the tarpon bite slows up later on in the day, we have been moving in a little shallower and targeting bonefish and permit.  There have been a lot of bonefish around and the permit are starting to make their way back into the shallows.  The bonefish bite has been the most consistent thing going the past few months. We have seen big schools of fish on the ocean side and gulf side.  If you can get your fly or your jig out in front of these guys and move it the right way, they will usually eat it.  The permit have been more on the Gulf side, but just this past week I saw a few swimming on the the ocean side with the tarpon strings.  Hopefully we will start seeing a few more out front.

Tarpon Jump

The offshore fishing has been slow so far this summer, there have been some dolphin around, but there’s been a lot of chickens and undersize fish. There have been a few skipjack tunas and small blakfins out in the deep too. The sargassum weeds have been super thick this year, and that has made it difficult to keep your lures clean while your trolling. The wrecks have been holding a variety of fish, like amberjacks, mutton snappers, groupers and other things. I like fishing the the bottom and middle of the water column with live baits, bonita strips and an assortment of jigs.

bonefish 2

Hurricane Season Fishing Report

Tarpon

Tarpon

The fishing over the past few months has been great here in the Lower Florida Keys.  Overall, the weather has been mild and so far this year we have dodged the hurricanes.  The offshore fishing has been decent recently, we had a good mahi bite through July, but it died out as the dog days of summer set in.  The blackfin tunas started showing up around the last full moon, there were a lot of small fish, but some bigger ones were mixed in.  The pilchards have also started to show up along the south side of the Keys.  Both the pilchards and the tunas are promising signs for the upcoming fall and winter live bait season.

Red Grouper

Red Grouper

During the summer months, the full day trips were the most successful.  Having the ability to run way to the west and fish the deeper reefs really paid off.  The mutton Snapper bite on the bottom was excellent and there were plenty of nice black groupers, red groupers, big porgies, amberjacks and other fish.  Blackfin tunas, kingfish, mahi mahi and bonitas were also caught on the surface or in the middle of the water column.  Usually on these trips, we’re using a combinations of live baits, dead baits and different artificial jigs and lures. 

Mutton Snapper

Mutton Snapper

Fishing in the backcountry has been awesome the past few months.  We have had a lot of small tarpon hanging around the mangroves and in the bait schools. Targeting them with a 9wt fly rod or light spinning gear has been really fun.  Those fish should be staying put until the cold fronts start and then they become harder to find.  This is also a great time of year to target bonefish and there have been plenty of them around.  Not only do we have good numbers of bonefish down here, but late summer and early fall offer great conditions for targeting them with typically sunny skies and light winds.  It’s awesome to see big schools of bonefish waking across the flats during the low tides.

Bonefish

Bonefish

Spring Fishing Report

Mutton Snapper

Mutton Snapper

Sailfish

Sailfish

Tarpon

Tarpon

Bonefish

Bonefish

       Well we have had a super wet spring here in the Lower Keys and we just encountered our first named storm of the Hurricane Season.  Weather aside, the offshore fishing has been excellent, with some of the best Sailfishing the Keys have ever seen.  We had a good push of sailfish in March and now again in May.  May is usually late in the sailfish season, but this year all the conditions were right and it turned on.  We have been looking for them around the color change and throwing live baits at them.  There have been plenty of big blackfin tunas around as well.  The dolphin fishing has been decent, we’ve found fish every time we went out, but we haven’t been able to put a big catch together this year.  The mahi fishing should just be getting better over the next couple months.

       Reef and wreck fishing has been consistent. The mutton snapper bite has been excellent this winter and spring.  We have caught them on the shallow reefs when the weather has been snotty and there have also been some big ones on the wrecks offshore.  There have been blackfin tunas, amberjacks and some rainbow runners on the offshore wrecks as well.  The yellowtail snapper fishing on the reef has been decent, usually you can find good action and nice size fish out there.

       The tarpon fishing in the backcountry has been inconsistent.  When we have the right weather the fishing has been good, but when the weather doesn’t cooperate, it makes it harder finding fish.  As it is, we have still had plenty of good days, especially with the fly rod.  We have hooked a few tarpon on fly this year that have been well over 100lbs.  The bite has been the best early and later in the day.  The bonefishing around Key West has been excellent, the days when the tarpon are not eating well, we’ve been going bonefishing.

June Fishing Report

     

mahi mahi

mahi mahi

     June was a super busy month here in the Florida Keys, but the weather was not cooperative.  For the most part in June I was either fishing for mahi mahi offshore or fishing for tarpon inshore.  The offshore bite has been fantastic when we were able to make it out there.  The water quality out deep has been much better than last year and the fishing is much better too. There have been a lot of small mahi around with some big ones mixed in.  As usual we've found a lot of mahi under weeds and other floating debris, but some of the bigger fish we found were under frigate birds.  There have also been some billfish offshore and some scattered tunas mixed in.

     In the backcountry, the tarpon bite has been the most consistent it has been all year, despite the weather.  There have been a lot of fish on the oceanside and the bite has been good, but again the weather has often prevented us from fishing there.  We have also had some great early morning and evening bites.  The worm hatch was awesome this year, we fished further east from Key West, but there were a lot worms out and the the tarpon were taking flies.  The permit fishing picked up in June, a lot of the fish seemed to be done spawning and heading back into the shallows.  We saw a lot of permit causing the oceanside flats, mixed in with the tarpon, but there are a bunch of permit in the backcountry as well. 

           

tarpon

tarpon