Mid-January Fishing Report—For today’s action call 866 259 4205
Mid-January is a time off great action for Key West angling.
From the Flats and Back Country to Offshore the overall population and wide variety of species in our local waters offers the light tackle angler so many options…
This is the time of year when the hard core offshore angler understands run times and distances increase to the more productive fishing grounds well offshore. Our recommendations are “Full Day” charters.
It’s Sailfish time! This is an exceptional time to target your “bucket list” bill fish here in Key West. Kingfish are here in numbers and running of good size lately. These aggressive fish will knock the rod from your hands before heading for Cuba! Black Fin Tuna are everywhere and providing some absolutely crazy good action. Dolphin (Mahi Mahi) can still remain a target species in blue water. On the upside the elusive Wahoo have a spike in activity during January and the rare Marlin “can” come this time of year but again well offshore way beyond the ¾ day charter range for certain.
Reef & Wreck:
This time of year the reef and wrecks typically come to life for us in Key West. With our calmer waters on the reef verses further offshore now this becomes a perfect time for the angler with concerns about rough sea conditions to head out. Comfortable seas make for enjoyable conditions for those worried about motion discomfort. Plus with the fast paced action there is no time to give anything a second thought other than fighting fish. The Snapper and Grouper bite is predictable great now (Note Grouper season is closed to harvesting these fish) and most days we fill the fish box with those wonderful “table fare” species such as Yellow Tail Snapper our local favorite for the dinner plate. Limiting out on Yellow Tail “Flags” is routine. The Mutton bite on the deeper wrecks continues to be fast paced on quality size fish. Mangrove Snapper numbers are good and the larger fish are aggressive.
For the angler looking for more of a challenge Cobia will be found on the reef and about most wreck sites. Typically the Cobia are traveling near the surface in smaller “wolf packs” of about 3 to 5 fish but ranging from 15 to 50 pounds plus. We enjoy decent Cobia action from now through April. Big Jacks are still in schools and patrolling the deeper wrecks in numbers. Of late Jacks to about 25 pounds have been common and provide the light tackle angler with a hand full of fight! Many locations on the reef will hold a population of Black Fin Tuna and Kingfish. For those anglers looking for a workout the Amberjack are still here and active for a while yet. Predators are plentiful on the reef and around the isolated ship wreck sites. Large Barracuda are common and several species of sharks are patrolling these areas as well. The Bull sharks and occasional Hammerheads will make your pulse rise when they swim along-side the boat before helping themselves to your hooked fish still in the water. This is the best reef trip in our recommendation and can be enjoyed on a ¾ day charter.
Always a fun and productive trip the back country this time of year also offers an abundance of visible marine life, sea and tropical birds on the Mangrove Island shorelines and mirror calm, crystal clear waters. The overall population of fish in the back country remains impressive with several sport fish species, edible fish, and predators to target a perfect trip for the family or groups numbering up to 4 anglers. The back country is also a fly fishers dream come true with protection from the wind for long casts and plentiful fish which will readily pursue a fly.
The cooler water temperature months bring some quality sport fish to our shallows. The Redfish action has been quite good of late. Snook on those calmer, warmer days have really come to life and produced some outstanding catches. Cobia fishing has been outstanding for the most part with small “wolf packs” of Cobia ranging in the 15 to 30 pound range being plentiful and aggressive. This is a time of fast paced action from the schooling species such as Speckled Sea Trout, tasty Pompano and the always fun “poor man’s Tarpon” the Lady Fish. BIG schools of Jacks including some huge Yellow Jacks have been red hot with the larger fish going north of 25 pounds…an absolute blast on light tackle and top water!
The predator fishing has been awesome…the population of huge Barracuda and several species of sharks are patrolling the shallows in numbers. Aggressive and always ready to go “head to head” so you adrenalin junkies out there should already be out the door heading this way! We have taken a few juvenile Tarpon from the Mangroves and the Bonefish population in the back country has been fun lately. Of course we can always count on the resident species of the back country to top off a productive day. Mangrove Snapper and Mutton Snapper have been crazy good and the Grouper bite has been predictably good now that the season is closed to harvest them… We “highly recommend” a back country charter this time of year and especially for those guests looking for a shorter than full day trip.
Bonefish continue to provide heart stopping excitement for the highly skilled and patient angler willing to work hard for his prey. The Bonefish action is very good for this time of year with quality size fish ranging from 4 to 8 pounds. The flats angler can always include Barracuda and sharks on his hit list if so inclined. Just a remainder that we provide a true “flats fishing experience” and this should not be confused with the back country fishing. These are two totally different experiences and if you are unsure of the differences call us at 866 259 4205 for more insights. If Bonefish are on your angling “bucket list” this is an exceptional time to book your trip with one of our legendary flats guides.
This is a time of cooler temperatures but great fishing conditions friends. With our hard core anglers in mind we still recommend fishing early morning trips as the most productive over the later afternoon hours but the PM half day trips can be quite productive especially for those people just looking to stay in calm waters and enjoy a fun few hours catching fish. For those anglers looking for that “one of a kind” fishing experience we suggest Sharks in the Shallows! Sharks are especially plentiful and active in the shallow waters of our back country this time of year. Pursuing these heavy weight monsters on light tackle is challenging to say the least and talk about something you cannot do at home! Black Tip, Lemon and Bull are but a few of the several sharks cruising the shallows while feeding aggressively. Granted not dangerous but certainly not for the faint of heart either sharks in the shallows will provide you with memories of a lifetime. Are you up for it?
Let’s go Fishing!
Call Key West Pro Guides today to book your charter 866 259 4205 daily 7 AM to 9 PM. We look forward to your call!