Fishing Tips

Birds, Bait, and Boards

It is hard not to lose sight of the big picture this time of year.  The big picture is that there is great fishing to be had both inshore and off but the focus is inevitably drawn to thoughts of dolphin, big dolphin.  June is when the bulk of the larger dolphin are caught in the Keys.  This is not to say that there are not outstanding catches in both size and number the rest of the year; however, this is when the bulk of the fish are expected to move through.  Actually, there is not a day of the year that you cannot catch dolphin in the Keys, but you get the drift. It is no accident that the bulk of the dolphin tournaments occur in June. Read More

The Lower Keys Gets Active in May

May is traditionally the most active fishing month in the Lower Keys.  There are more species overlapping in their availability this month than in any other.  The list goes on and on, but whether fishing inshore, reef, wreck, or offshore, there are nonstop possibilities to be enjoyed. Read More

April’s Analysis Paralysis

April in the Florida Keys is positively the worst month in the year for the ADD afflicted angler.  The fisheries that are open to anglers are more numerous now than at any other time of year.  Trying to decide what to pursue is enough to make your head pound.  It doesn’t matter if you prefer the back country or the far offshore waters, this is the one month that has the largest concentration of EVERYTHING. Read More

Transition Time in the Keys

I love March; it is the time of transition that brings great changes to the fishing in the Keys.  March offers an overlap of the best of both the winter fishery and the start of the summer fishery.  You may ask, “What about the spring?”  Well, that is just how I interpret spring – as a transition where the overlap is a great bounty.

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The Secret to Fishing February’s Windy Weather

Rigid flexibility.  That catch phrase is the essence of how to plan your fishing trip in February’s often volatile weather patterns.   The winds can go from perfectly calm one day to thirty knots the next with the passing of a cold front.  Staying ready to get out on the calm days and jumping when you get the chance will allow you a lot of great fishing past the reef line this month.  For the days on the wrong side of a front you need to be flexible.  Staying with a plan to take folks offshore when the conditions are less than favorable is a recipe for unhappy clients.
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November’s Cooling Waters

November starts the cooling of the Keys waters in earnest.  This cooling really gets things hopping in the offshore arena.  The schools of bait fish are blown offshore with the passing of the cool fronts (a little early to call them cold fronts) and as they travel over the reef line there are a multitude of fish species that take advantage of the bounty.  The most popular of these is the beginning of the winter sailfish run.   The next most popular game fish is most likely the king mackerel. Hard to find anyone who doesn’t appreciate the speed and power of a mackerel’s first run although their popularity as a food fish is arguable.
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Fall Tactics

There is a lot to catch in October besides beads on Duval Street.  While there is a lot going on off shore and on the reefs and wrecks in the Keys this time of year my favorite activity is still working the back country of the Lower Keys.   The flats fishing this time of year is unbeatable.  There are still a lot of bone fish and permit available.  More moderate temperatures however, means that the water tends to not heat as much during the middle of the day.   This keeps the fish on the flats for a lot longer giving you more opportunities.
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September’s Best Bet

As summer ends and ushers in the beginning of fall it becomes harder and harder to find reliable targets off shore.  Until the water begins to cool and bring in winter fish such as sailfish and mackerel the offshore scene will be spotty at best.  While the snapper bite on the reef line often continues for another month it can be hit or miss as time goes by.  What does get more and more reliable this time of year is the flats fishing in the Lower Keys.
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August: Time for Transition

August is a time for transition in the realm of Florida Keys fishing, the push of large dolphin heading north for the summer has passed the prime and the fall return push of fish is just starting. The fish returning south tend to follow a path farther off shore than the one they took when they were heading north.

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Summer Mangrove Spawn

One of the last spawns of the season is getting under way.  Following in the footsteps of the permit spawn and the mutton spawn the mangrove snapper are the last to move from inshore to the reef edge.   The snapper will congregate on the outer edge of the Keys reefs to mate and spend the next few months being a favorite target of Keys anglers.
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