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April arrives and we enter into a period of outstanding action, over the next few months some of the best fishing action of the entire year. The migrating Tarpon have arrived and are flooding into shallows of the backcountry, schools of Bonefish are feeding heavily on the flats. Sailfish and now Mahi dominate the blue water while the first choice reef species become aggressive. It’s a time of exceptional action when fishing the waters of Key West!
Our offshore fishing has continued to improve since the recent unseasonably cold and windy conditions have passed. March is a time of wind and April is as well but to a lesser degree however on the more typical days the offshore bite can be spectacular now. The iconic Sailfish bite continues! April does signal the beginning of the end to our Kingfish action unfortunately. April sees an explosion in the aggressiveness of Black Fin Tuna. There are few species of pelagic fish capable of the total chaos when a school of big Black Fin show up. Mahi action swings into high gear during April and will rapidly become the angler’s bread & butter species. Mahi (Dolphin fish-Dorado) are plentiful, schooling fish that provide excellent action at a blistering pace. High leapers when hooked up, beautiful colored fish that also are a favorite for many on the dinner plate. When the Mahi are biting, businesses close on the island…it gets that good!
The predators remain aggressive with April being an awesome month for large Barracuda. We have moved into an exciting period for offshore angling however, we always believe a ½ day charter still has some challenges with ever changing travel times between marina and fishing grounds. Best bet book at least the ¾ day (six hour trip) especially if you are a party of three or four or more.
Light Tackle Reef & Wreck:
April typically has some wind with it therefore the waters on the reef verses further offshore will remain far more comfortable most days. This continues to be a good time for the angler with concerns about rough sea conditions to head out to the nearer shore wreck sites as well. The Cobia action continues to be outstanding with fish exceeding 50 pounds taken of late. Cobia should remain excellent for all of April then typically slow over the next few months. The Snapper family continues to produce and with April we expect steady action targeting the Mangrove and YellowTail action. The larger Mutton Snapper will continue to provide some exceptional days on the reef. The Grouper family as always provides outstanding action however the harvest of Grouper ended January 1 with the season now closed until May in Monroe county (all of the keys). Our elusive Permit is always challenging, the Permit is a sought after sport fish and prized by anglers from around the planet. April typically shows a marked improvement from the last few months and we are on the way to excellent Permit action over the next few months. The predator action with Barracuda and Sharks continues to be crazy good.
Always a fun and productive trip the back country this time of year remains an excellent time for fast paced action while targeting a very wide variety of species. Anglers will appreciate our calm, crystal clear waters now filling with pre-spawn Tarpon. The overall population of Tarpon in the back country continues to grow throughout the month joining with several additional sport fish species, edible fish, and predators to target. Redfish are all but done for now as our water temperatures begin a season rise. Snook are a hit or miss in still in early April and better targeted in later April. The numerous schooling species will continue to provide non stop action most days. Just a few of the schooling species remaining in our bays now are Trout and Pompano but their days here are numbered and the action is definitely coming to an abrupt end. The ever present Jack, Lady Fish, Blue Runners, Grunts, Porgies…the list is nearly endless again in April that keeps the younger anglers happy with the super fast bite of schooling fish. A perfect trip for the hard core light tackle angler to the novice angler or the family. The back country is also a fly fishers dream come true with protection from the wind for casting and plentiful fish which will readily pursue a fly.
Tarpon time is here. The population of Tarpon has continued to increase daily throughout all of March. The spawning migration that brings adult Tarpon to Key West is well underway and the activity and productivity on Tarpon is increasing. Tarpon fishing in Key West becomes prolific. These behemoth sport fish are on every saltwater angler’s “bucket list” and rightfully so. Key West now offers the angler a high level of success to landing possibly the largest fish of a life time. We begin seeing the sunset Tarpon feeding activity increase so we will offer our Sunset Tarpon trips beginning about April 1. These trips are spectacular when conditions (primarily the tides) are optimal. We do not recommend more than 3 anglers as a max on our Tarpon bay boats for night trips. If you have more than three anglers understand the time restraints in catching multiple Tarpon and the need for larger vessels to accommodate the chaos that comes with a 100 pound fish going berserk at boat side.
The ½ day to ¾ day trips continue to produce well as the afternoon water temperatures are still far from high so the later part of the day with good tides can be awesome. Good Cobia fishing continues and can produce some quality fish and action in the back country. The Mangrove and Yellow Tail Snapper fishing continues to be very good in the back country in March. For serious “table fare” harvest we certainly recommend the reef & wreck trips now but to include a few “keeper” fish for lunch or dinner will not be a problem in our shallows. The predator fishing continues. Giant Barracuda and several species of Sharks in the shallows are on the hit list. Our Monster Shark charters are awesome and continually produce multiple larger sharks even on the ½ day trips. Remember where you find large Tarpon schools you find feeding sharks. April remains predator time especially in the Marquesas so anglers can count on these aggressive species to be ready to go “head to head”. We “highly recommend” a back country charter this time of year and especially for those guests looking for a shorter than full day trip in calmer waters.
Our Bonefish action kicks in big time for April…April is the first of a few months that typically produce those Grand Slam events where the anglers successfully lands a Bonefish, a Permit and a Tarpon in the same day…a rare feat at the very pinnacle of flats fishing accomplishments. Permit have been scarce on the flats but the action is coming to us better now. Tarpon are still primarily found at home in the back country but are beginning to venture out onto the flats now. The flats angler should certainly be including Barracuda and sharks on his hit list. 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.
This is a time of transition in regards to our water temperatures so fishing conditions in general have improved nicely, friends. We still recommend fishing morning trips if going shallow as they remain the most productive over the later afternoon hours for the serious angler but again the afternoon trips are good. The PM half day trips only continue to improve as the population of fish in the shallows continues to increase. The afternoons can be quite enjoyable especially for those people just looking to stay in calm waters and enjoy a fun few hours catching fish. Reef trips in the afternoon fishing slightly deeper waters along with the patch reefs can be very good trips for later in the day departure times. Sharks are plentiful and active. Pursuing these heavy weight monsters on light tackle is challenging to say the least and talk about something you cannot do at home!
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!