“Fall and winter are a time of plenty for the light tackle angler in Key West”
Most anglers relate the arrival of colder weather and falling water temperatures with a slow fishing period. Many occasional fishermen reluctantly put their fishing gear up for the season and begin to day dream about those first warm spring days months away. The knowledgeable angler however simply travels to Key West for amazing action targeting several “bucket list” species calling our local waters home for the winter…
Key West is a world class fishing destination…no question. However, like all fishing grounds we do have seasonal patterns and fish migrations along with the weather which affects our day to day fishing. As we enter into the fall and early winter months our fishing does change but does not in any way lessen. In fact, most hard core saltwater anglers look forward to this time frame and visiting our island for spectacular action both in the shallows and offshore. Let’s explore the current bite and exactly what our long history as the largest and certainly best staffed and equipped fishing operation on the island proves for the next few months.
As we move through a quick transitional period every October we watch for the tell-tale signs of “what is to come”. The Gulf Stream dominates the currents and conditions in the Atlantic bringing several quality sport fish and pelagic species to our waters following huge gatherings of forage and more suitable water conditions. With now well-defined weed lines, currents and awesome color changes our top pro guides eagerly await the fast moving weather fronts passing the island every few days. This is surely the single most prominent indicator of the presences of our most challenging light tackle sport fish. Most notably offshore is the Sailfish. Every angler appreciates the beauty of these magnificent fish “tail walking” across our azure colored waters. Conversely, the shallow water aficionado experiences equally as exciting species arriving to flood our pristine back country bays and Mangrove island shorelines. Brutish Redfish and Speckled Sea Trout in enormous schools begin feeding heavily in the calm, protected waters. Snapper gather in the deeper impressions and bottom contours and especially on the ledges in the meandering channels in numbers becoming super aggressive. Predators naturally follow this migration of fish into the shallows led by the plentiful Giant Barracuda and our apex predator…sharks.
As you clearly see the presence of so many outstanding species now comingling in smaller areas provides some of the fastest paced action of our entire calendar year. Verses storing your gear, slap on some sun block and get on the water with the Key West Pro Guide team for the fishing adventure of a lifetime! We are here to assist you daily from our toll free Reservation Desk at 866 259 4205. We look forward to your call so we may share our amazing fishing while becoming friends.
Enjoy the following fishing locations and breakdown. We trust this will help you in deciding upon the perfect fishing experience while visiting the island.
On the “Flats”:
Bonefish remain active and in good numbers. Tides are essential always to finding quantities of large Bonefish but even more so now in the fall months. Typically this is a time of behemoth Bonefish, those specimens exceeding the inspiring ten pound mark. Usually elusive the Permit have been cooperating lately and we have boated several Permit in the fifteen to twenty pound range. Our Captain Dave Irwin has had the hot hand putting his guests on several large Permit in the past few weeks. There simply is no substitute for years of professional experience when on the flats!
In the “Back Country”:
We highly recommend this charter for action and excitement this time of year. Although non-technical fishing, it is challenging, where even the most novice anglers will enjoy success. Redfish dominate the action of late and should for some time. Schools of “reds” are holding on the mangrove island shorelines and will “knock the rod from your hands” at times! Excellent fish averaging from four to eight pounds and talk about delicious on the dinner table, Redfish are tough to beat! Sea Trout are arriving and so the action in the open bays heats up! A live shrimp and a “poppin cork” equal big smiles for most anglers right now! Fast paced action and a hardy battle make the Trout a favorite of many locals and visiting anglers alike. Mangrove Snapper are holding in the deeper holes out to the east and north of the island. These remote and isolated areas are some of the most productive fishing grounds in Key West especially when the Snapper go on the war path! The Barracuda population in the back country is always substantial but has recently grown becoming quite impressive over the past few weeks. This along with the free roaming large sharks offers a thrilling experience most anglers cannot duplicate at home! “Cuda’s” are renowned for lightning bolt strikes on top water plugs and what shallow water angler doesn’t giggle at the thought of a twenty five pound missile exploding on his offering in just a few feet of crystal clear water…Sharks are everywhere and the anglers looking for that adrenalin rush will enjoy the trip. Black Tip, Lemon, Spinner and the awe inspiring Bull Shark are all patrolling the shallows right now. This warfare will remain open to all comers for several months now. Don’t miss out on our amazing shark fishing…see our Monster Shark Challenge charters listed on the website…not for the faint of heart! Mom, Dad and the kids will all love the backcountry! You remain comfortable without a thought of rough or open waters while fishing in the most scenic locations found in the Florida Keys and Key West. A “memories of a lifetime” trip for all!
The Natural “Reef and Ship Wrecks”:
This is home to the bottom dwellers, those wonderful “table fare” species Key West is so well known for. The Grouper is king on the reef. No species of fish can match their tenacity and strength. Grouper and Snapper fishing may very well be the most popular charter booked in Key West. Our consummate pro guides fish those secret locations well off the beaten path. Locations handed down from father to son over generations of fishing our local waters. Here is where, and this is why, we are famous for banner days filling the fish box with the most sought after species on the reef and wrecks. Yellow Tail Snapper are elusive schooling fish that anglers love to target in Key West. Tasty, scrappy fighters and just plain fun to catch…the Yellow Tail is a local favorite in Key West and the Yellow Tail are on fire right now! The bite is as good as we can remember and the number of “flag tails” (largest Yellow Tails in the school) are impressive for this time of year. The Yellow Tail should offer excellent action for several months now. The newly arriving Kingfish and Mackerel are finding their way onto the reef and are cruising the deeper wrecks already. Kingfish are typically thought of as found well offshore and they are certainly, however the sheer numbers of these nomadic warriors spills over to the reef and isolated wreck sites as the top predators forage on live baitfish always plentiful around the cover and structure. Permit and Cobia are both present most days on these same areas this time of year. Cobia have been exceptional with several fish ranging up to thirty pounds plus of late. The Permit action will continue to improve from the good action already throughout the end of December.
Most anglers have that iconic imagery of Hemingway battling giant Blue Marlin well out in the Gulf Stream when offshore or “deep sea” fishing becomes the topic of conversation. Today we have stepped through the “rabbit hole” to experience truly “world class” action on light tackle while fishing from state of the art vessels. Here is where the angler goes head to head on a level playing field with the most challenging denizens of the deep. WARNING fellow anglers…Billfishing is extremely addictive! Marlin to Swordfish all travel our deep trenches while Sailfish, Tuna, Kingfish, Wahoo, Mackerel and more patrol the near surface waters offshore. Sailfishing is our preferred target offshore in the fall and for certain as the fast approaching cold fronts move through. Sailfish thrive in these conditions of wind and cold. In Key West we consider these conditions anything requiring tying your hat down or a long sleeve shirt but still…if a Sailfish is on your bucket list…now’s the time and Key West Pro Guides is the best sailfish team in Key West!
This fishing report is based upon the actual experiences of our Key West Pro Guides team while on the water daily. Not a “word of mouth” report filled with inaccuracies. We “walk the walk” as well and we’d enjoy fishing with you soon. For additional information or to book your charter please contact Captain Roc at toll free 866 259 4205 or at [email protected].
Tightlines…. Capt. Paul Tryon