Fishing Report Mid April and May 2014

Welcome anglers to the Key West Pro Guides fishing report for April and May. As the largest private charter fishing operation in Key West we cover the entire spectrum of fishing opportunities in our local waters and beyond. Therefore we have the most “real time” input from our hand-picked team of legendary guides on which to base our report. No “blue skies” or guess work here friends just the plain truth about what we have experienced of late and what our nearly thirty years of experience and history in Key West reliably tells us is coming from the flats and back country to the reef and wrecks and blue waters offshore.

For an “up to the minute” report on today’s action call Captain Roc at toll free 866 259 4205 from 7 AM to 11 PM. Let’s talk fishin’…


As spring arrives our flats action gets red hot with Bonefish ranging from 4 to 11 pounds plus and Tarpon from 60 to 150 pounds as expected however “did you know” Permit in March can be awesome on the flats? Captain Jared Cry reports excellent action recently on quality Permit and the Marquesas have been hot! Our Captain Eric Ryan has been on fire with early Tarpon as well. Great news Captain Andrew Asher will be back on the island and fishing from April 1st. Captain Andrew has been on an adventure he will enjoy sharing with you while you pursue the flats together! Captain Mike Bartlett has been steady on fish for several weeks now as always. Captain Pete Heydon has been putting the fly fishers to work on the flats to the east recently and reports good numbers of Bonefish daily.

The more remote and isolated flats you fish the better the action so March and April is an awesome time to make the long run to the Marquesas. These distance fishing grounds in the spring can provide the light tackle and fly angler with stellar action on those “bucket list” flats species. Captain Dave Irwin just this week “lit it up” in the Marquesas with two exceptional fly anglers visiting from Scotland. These guests stated they experienced the most incredible fly fishing of their lives! They really enjoyed the big Barracuda that fill the inside harbor this time of year!

These fabled shallows are home to one of the most prolific fisheries on the planet but even so…success is never a sure thing. You MUST have an experienced and knowledgeable guide at the helm with years spent learning the idiosyncrasies of these keys.

The Key West Pro Guides team of “Flats Guides” set the standard for success and have for several years. The Marquesas have become like the “back of their hands”. Now is the time to get off the couch and step aboard one of our new state of the art boats and fish with a renowned guide on the flats of Key West!

Back Country:

What more can we say about the Key West back country…it is THE place on the planet for Tarpon action as the early spawning migration has arrived and the population of behemoth Tarpon continues to grow. Tarpon averaging 60 to 120 pounds are routine on the days without old man North Wind making his presence known to the anglers. On the better condition days now ahead of us the action is an excellent indicator of what is about to come our way. This season it seems everything including the Tarpon action is happening a bit ahead of schedule. Our winter weather this year was unseasonably warm and the water temperatures remained higher than normal. Most of us believe this will positively affect this seasons fishing. Bait fish have flourished and are quite plentiful so the gorging Tarpon have plenty to enjoy. These nocturnal feeders are already quite active early most mornings and we have really had some outstanding half-day Tarpon charters lately. Captain Paul Tryon and Captain John Jackson have set the bar for success with Tarpon in the back country early then finishing off the day on sight and opportunistic feeders such as Permit on the “patch reefs” providing the angler with the best of all worlds. Captain Jackson recently was reported to have released more Tarpon last season than any guide in Florida by a team of Tarpon DNA researchers.

Captain Dave Brucker is already up to his old tricks escaping deep into the back country to put his anglers on several quality Tarpon and Sharks. Captain Kelso has found some new Redfish “honey holes” as well reporting exceptional success this month. Of course Tarpon are getting all the press right now from the back country and understandably so…however Tarpon are but 1 of easily 20 excellent species calling the Mangrove Islands and shallows bays home. Redfish have been everywhere and the Permit action has been equally as good. Captain Paul and Captain John have been all over nice size Cobia of late reaching up to 30 pounds plus! The Mangrove Snapper fishing simply cannot be any better for those anglers looking to enjoy their catch at trips end. Large schools of Jacks, Pompano and the waning but still good Sea Trout action has provided the family trips with fast paced and non-stop action. Shark fishing in the shallows has come on with a vengeance! For those anglers looking for calm waters and big fish…shark fishing will fit the bill. Black Tip, Lemon, super aggressive and even our apex predator shark the awe-inspiring Hammerhead are all in the skinny waters right now! Talk about something you probably cannot do on your home waters…This charter is not for the faint of heart. The Key West Pro Guides “back country” team is tops in Key West and recognized as the most productive team for back country action for the light tackle and fly angler.

Reef and Wreck:

Otherwise known as our “bread and butter” fishing in the early springtime if you are a lover of the deeper waters. The table fare species have been awesome this season. Key West offers anglers world class bottom fishing nearly year round but like all fisheries ours still has peaks and valleys to the action. February, March and April is a time of steadily increasing numbers and species found on the structure and cover. This season already we have enjoyed outstanding Snapper and Grouper fishing. Grouper season is open in Federal Waters, those big Grouper are ready to go “head to head” and now we can toss em’ straight into the fish box! May 1 is the opening date for Grouper in the Atlantic.

Captain Chuck and Captain Brad have been on the tasty BIG Mangrove Snapper and even BIGGER Mutton Snapper and are regularly filling the clean tables with 12 to 25 pound Mutton. Captain Ryan Logan as usual fishing the reef has been deadly on “Flag” YellowTail Snapper. He also reports some large YellowJacks and most days finding Cobia on the backs of sharks. Captain Chip Veach continues to astonish with magnificent catches from the distant locations known only to him… Captain Grant has been doing well on early Tuna and Bonito near the natural reef and recently has boated several in the Black Fin in the 20 to 25 pound range. Captain Darin reports nice Black and Gag Grouper (released) and the larger Kingfish along with Cero Mackerel are all over the wrecks right now with some Kings reaching towards the 50 pound mark.


In fairness even the top pro’s here with Key West Pro Guides were hit or miss early this season. When Captain’s such as Ryan and Tyson Veach are working hard to find fish…friends the fish are hard to find. That has recently turned around 180 degrees however as this stellar brothers “tag team” have been putting guests on Sailfish, Dolphin, Black Fin Tuna and massive Kingfish lately. Live Bait is the key and when drifting fresh live baits over the past couple of weeks they have boated several trophy sized Sailfish and Wahoo. The conditions are coming to us now and with talent and experience such as these guides bring to the game no worries getting on the quality fish from here on.

Deep Sea:

Captain Billy reports excellent Sailfish and Dolphin action but it is happening well offshore lately. The longer charter lengths are recommended and necessary for the best blue water action for now. Captain Billy, a fourth generation Key West charter captain will find the big sport fish when most others cannot. The Linda D.- V. is a 40′ twin diesel powered thing of beauty with its air conditioned salon, full restroom, tuna tower, fighting chair and top deck mates. This is hands down the finest deep sea option for the angler looking for exceptional fishing and comfort in Key West.