Hello from Key West, This is captain Paul Tryon with Key West PRO Guides and Tailchaser Charters, here with your January fishing report:
Winter is here!! Well so the calendar says, what a warm winter we have had. There have had a few cold fronts move through, none to strong, so the weather has stayed warm and sunny. The water temps have cooled a bit and the fishing is getting really hot. The past few weeks have been very productive on the wrecks and reefs and we are seeing the backcountry and flats fishing starting to heat up too. Get ready for some great fall action!
Here’s how things are shaping up….
The offshore fishing has been getting better since the storm with quite a few boats reporting large dolphin up to 30 lbs. on some of the floating debris. The Gulf stream has been very close to Key West these past few days, averaging anywhere from 10 to 20 miles south. This helps to form the color change, the boundary water between the Gulf stream current and the near shore waters. Setting up for a troll or drift along this color change can make for great sailfish and wahoo action. As the water temps continue to drop with the approaching cold fronts, the Sailfish and Wahoo action should increase with great results. On the reef we are starting to see some nice Black fin tuna showing up, Most of them are from the upper teens to close to 30lbs. and are very aggressive feeders when live baiting with the live Pilchards. Our live bait situation is pretty good, we have been able to consistently catch more than enough and anyone who knows their fishing, knows you need the livies.
Deep off the Reef:
Deeper off of the reef, the wrecks have been producing plenty of Amberjacks, Muttons, nice Black Groupers and a real treat, Red Snappers! These wrecks are in about 220 to 240 feet of water and lately the currents have been light and perfect for the deep dropping. With the currents being light and the wind in the right direction, we have been anchoring up on the deeper wrecks lately and simply having our way with the fish! Dropping whole ballyhoos to the bottom has produced nice Black and Gag Groupers along with my favorite the Mutton Snappers. Dropping a fresh live Ballyhoo to the bottom is sure to get nailed! Now that we have the water temperatures starting to cool off, the Black fin tuna have been showing up in real good numbers and are starting to spread out over more of the deeper wrecks. The last few deep water wreck trips have each found a few hungry black fins and what a blast they are on the light tackle.
The gulf wreck action has been very hot on the Cobias. These brutes are averaging between 20 and 40lbs. and have been in really large schools. The Cobias have been showing up lately on the closer in wrecks and reefs and always like to hang on the channel markers, hoping we toss a bait there way. The snapper and grouper bite has been good with gray snappers being caught up to about 5 lbs. The sharks are very active; most of them are Bulls, Black tips and Lemon sharks. As soon as you get a good chum slick started they are as far back in it as you can see. These powerhouse fish are very strong fighters and a challenge on light tackle. We are still getting into nice size schools of Bonita at some of the other farther out gulf wrecks and by tying off to any of the dozens of shrimp boats anchored in the gulf. Shrimp boat fishing is some of the best action trips you could possibly go on.
We have had the luxury of a warm winter that has kick started our flats and backcountry fishery. We are already getting schools of Tarpon around the Harbor and in the channels. The Permit have been showing on the edges of the flats in pretty good numbers, most schools are between 4 and about 10 each. The waters are clearing since the storm and we are finding plenty of new channels, thanks to Wilma, to fish! The Barracuda and Sharks are all over the flats; just about any bait thrown their direction is sure to get looked at. Basically any species that you target on the flats will be a good choice for a very productive trip in December.
This is Captain Paul Tryon, Give me a call to book your day with some of Key West’s best guides here at Key West PRO Guides and have some fun fishing! Until next month, keep those reels screaming! For booking information with Key West PRO Guides or TailChaser Charters, you can call me at 305-296-6602 or visit my website:
Capt. Paul Tryon