Hello from Key West, This is Capt. Paul Tryon with Key West Pro Guides and TailChaser Charters, here with your mid-March fishing report:
The weather is absolutely beautiful and the fishing has great! The water temps are still in the lower 70’s, sometimes dipping into the higher 60’s in the backcountry if a pretty good cold front comes our direction. All in all it looks like the fishing is getting better with each passing day. 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 Spring action!
Here’s what’s biting and how things are shaping up…..
The offshore fishing has been very good with lots of Sailfish being caught in water as shallow as 20ft. We have had huge schools of Ballyhoo to bring them in close and are all getting lots of shots at them. The Gulf Stream has averaged from 7 to more than 30 miles south of Key West, the last few weeks we have had a pretty decent color change in the 107 to 160ft. range from American Shoal to past Cosgrove Light. We have been seeing lots of tailing fish; Cobia, Sails huge schools of Bonito and even a few Blackfin tuna. We have started to see some really nice Dolphin showing up, this will only get much better as the weeks go by, everyone is really excited to see them come our way. Our live bait situation is very good, plenty of Threadfin herrings on the markers and if you know where to find them, lots of nice fat Pilchards.
Deep off the Reef:
The deeper wrecks off of the reef have been pretty good with really nice Black Groupers, big Mutton Snappers, Amberjacks, Barracuda, Bonita and lots and lots of Sharks. With the Gulf Stream so close in, we have had to deal with a 3 knot hard east current. We have been jigging the wrecks the last few weeks, producing large Amberjacks up to 57lbs., lots of Bonitos to around 15lbs. a few muttons in the high teens and plenty of Almaco Jacks. As the current moves away, the wrecks are more easily fished and start to produce more Groupers and Muttons with your baits making it closer to the bottom.
Wrecks and Reefs:
The Gulf wreck action has been really, really good and should continue to get hotter with each day . We have been catching lots of really nice Kingfish on the wrecks and hard bottom, most averaging in the 20’s, lots of them more than 40lbs. Live bait is the trick with them, we have been catching our limits every, single trip out! The Cobia action has been getting better, most are averaging in the 17-30lb. range, and a few really nice ones have been hooked in the 45- 50lb. range. 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 4lbs. 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. On the slack tides while we have been King fishing they are providing constant action with most in the 4-5 foot range. These powerhouse fish are very strong fighters and a challenge on light tackle. We have been battling 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.
The flats and backcountry trips are heating up really good now. The days following a cold front when the winds are from the south, warming the waters, the fish are up on the flats feeding like crazy. The waters are nice and clear and we are finding plenty of fish. The Permit are on the edges of the flats and seem to be enjoying the cooler waters we are getting. The average size permit the past month has been around 20- 25lbs. and very eager to feed. The bone fish are in good size schools with the average size fish weighing in around 7-8lbs. The Tarpon are in!!! we have been doing very well so far this season with many, many Tarpon making it to the boat. All times of the day and early evening are great times to fish for them. Live bait is crucial to ensure multiple hookups. Some of the Tarpon schools are hundreds thick and we are seeing several schools at a time all in the 30-140lbs. range, perfect for fly or light spinning. We have started to see our annual migration of Pompano show up and as always, 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 March and April
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 1-877-290-4413 or visit my website:
Capt. Paul Tryon