Spring is in the air in Key West….and so are the Tarpon!
Ask any shallow water angler and they will quickly explain that in the springtime of the year, Key West is THE place on the planet to pursue giant Tarpon. Our flats and shallow water back country is teeming with behemoth “Silver Kings” for the spring spawn. Nowhere on earth does the light tackle angler or fly fisher have the opportunity to target such a massive Tarpon population.
Set aside the fact that Key West holds the record for the largest Tarpon ever landed in Florida at 245 lbs. Ignore the fact that Key West is home to the most prolific shallow water fishing in the country. You may choose to overlook that the Florida Keys are home to 200 of the top saltwater guides in the world. Nevertheless, you cannot deny Key West Pro Guides are the Tarpon Specialists in Key West! From the docks of Key West Pro Guides…Our Fishing Report for April…
The Gulf Stream is currently about 22 miles south creating some massive and well-formed weed lines starting in the 700’ range out to the “Wall”. Daily limits of Dolphin are routine with some quality Bulls to 30 pounds plus. Big Kings in excess of 35 pounds still prowl well offshore -with huge schools of Bonito. The Sailfish bite continues to improve as the number of Sailfish grow building towards spawning soon offshore. Captain Chuck had a banner day recently taking a limit of Dolphin the target species. Largest Bull was 38 pounds!
The remote wreck sites we prefer to fish are on fire right now. These isolated wrecks are holding huge populations of Mutton Snapper to 20 pounds. Heavyweight Amberjacks are plentiful averaging above 30 pounds while Cobia are supper aggressive traveling in small “wolf packs” of 3 to 6 fish. Solo larger Cobia are being taken from the backs of sharks in the deep. From around 40 pounds routinely up to the behemoth Captain Ryan boated yesterday tipping the scales at 68 pounds! That is a hand full of Cobia friends.
As always, the reef provides non-stop action for the light tackle angler. Our resident brute Snapper and Grouper are always ready to go “head to head”. Mutton Snapper continue to feed aggressively while ranging above 20 pounds. Plentiful and larger Mangrove Snapper will keep the fishing rods doubled over all day long. Keeper size Grouper are easily found but a friendly reminder, Grouper are out of season and unfortunately must be released. On the other hand, YellowTail Snapper are crazy good just now and should remain so for sometime. This is after all the prime time of the year for the Flag (large) YellowTails. Excellent fun to catch and amazingly good as table fare…do not pass up the opportunity to experience this type of YellowTail action while visiting the island!
In the Gulf:
Its Permit time on the distant Gulf wreck sites. Lying well offshore, these wrecks are a magnet to the largest Permit every season, those beauties that exceed 40 pounds. Although the Permit spawn is still a few months away these elusive sport fish are already gathering in large schools. By coming together, the angler is offered the rarest of light tackle opportunities to successfully target the Permit. Also calling these remote wrecks home are schools of large Jack Cravalles every angler’s favorite top water action fish. Cobias are commonly found cruising these locations as well. Large Mangrove Snapper are abundant and the predators are in their element. Black Tip, Lemon, the super aggressive Bull and our apex predator, the awe inspiring Hammerhead all patrol these waters. Sharks are the norm during your time fishing these non-pressured fishing locations so be prepared to earn your prey.
In the Harbor:
Often time’s anglers new to Key West are amazed by the excellent fishing that takes place right in our harbor. Tarpon fishing at night is something every angler should have at the top of his or her “bucket list” and the Key West Harbor is the place for it to happen. The truly largest Tarpon all come shallow at twilight to feed and our harbor offers a perfect blend of action, comfort and safety while fishing at night. Along with the Tarpon action, we enjoy Permit, Sharks and several additional species all looking for that “late night snack”.
With the water temperatures now ranging in the mid to high 70’s conditions are perfect for Tarpon to move into the basins. The Key West Pro Guides team has been averaging 3 to 5 Tarpon hooked up nightly during the four-hour trips. These Tarpon are in the 60 to 150 pound range and the larger specimens are coming!
On the Flats:
No question these next few months are the best flats fishing of the year. Bonefish to 11 pounds are plentiful while Permit and Tarpon are red hot! Although Flast fishing is a bit on the technical side the experienced light tackle and fly angler will enjoy huge dividends for their patience and stealth. Giant Barracuda and several species of sharks have invaded the flats and only add to the target list for the angler.
The Back Country:
Conditions in the backcountry could not be more perfect! Super clear waters allowing for sight casting to the many species roaming the shallows to feed. Permit are everywhere up to 30 pounds. Captain John boated three Permits yesterday on live crabs, all weighed in the 25 to 30 pound ballpark…that is as good as Permit in the shallows get! The Redfish bite is still good along with the Snook holding on the Mangrove Islands and shorelines. Cobia can be hooked up while found following the large Rays feeding on the softer bottoms. Large schools of Jacks are always present and the Sea Trout action has been good although we are going to witness Trout slowing soon. Again large Mangrove Snapper are easily found and a limit of 10 should only take about 10 casts!
The most impressive action in the backcountry recently has been with sharks. Lemon sharks are numerous and the Key West Pro Guides “back country” guides are experiencing times when as many as fifteen sharks can be in the immediate area of the boat and anglers as they chum these prehistoric warriors to the boat. Check out the newest video on our home page!
Now’s the time to book your fishing adventure of a life time. Come live the dream of fishing the worlds most prolific waters in Key West with the islands top pro guides, Key West Pro Guides!
Please call us toll free 866 259-4205 or after hours until 11 PM 305 509 4140. Thanks again for your interest in our April Fishing Report.