October 2018 Fishing Report
For today’s action call our “live line” at 866-259-4205
October is here bringing cooler water temperatures.
Fantastic action for Key West angling continues.
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 offshore angler understands our run times and distances to become a bit longer to reach the more productive fishing grounds offshore. Our recommendations are for early take off times but the “slightly better” fall afternoon air temperatures do allow the angler to remain comfortable providing a now much better full day charter to be experienced. However, we believe a ½-day charter still has real limits for the remainder of our next few weeks/months.
The Dolphin (Mahi Mahi) bite remains good but is dwindling from the past few months. Dolphin ruled the offshore weed lines through August and early September. Late October draws the Dolphin action pretty much to a close. Our Spanish and Cero Mackerel remain quite active traveling in large schools. Black Fin Tuna have already provided the angler with some outstanding days a bit early this year in our thinking. October usually kicks off the Blackfin action for a couple of exceptional months. When the Blackfin Tuna fire up it signals the soon to be arriving Kingfish. Typically, during October, we enjoy the beginning of several months of excellent Kingfish action. This continues to be a time frame for behemoth Barracuda as these apex predators really remain super aggressive. The rare Marlin “can” come this time of year well offshore way beyond the ½ day charter range and will always be extremely “hit or miss” in our local waters. Anglers should keep in mind that although a bit smaller variety to pursue most of these arriving pelagic species are “schooling fish” so when contact is made it becomes total chaos with strikes on every line in the water…a great problem to deal with for sure!
Reef & Wreck:
October continues with calmer waters on the reef verses further offshore. This continues to be a perfect time for the angler with concerns about rough sea conditions to head out to the remote wreck sites as well. The elusive Permit is schooled up on the shallower Gulf Wrecks and typically October can produce some quality trips and individual large fish. Cobia are commonly taken from these same locations and remain in the “good range” for action through November. Our resident reef and wreck species such as Snapper family and Grouper family continue with predictably good action. This is a particularly productive period for large Yellow Tail Snapper. On the shallower “patch reef’s” the Red Grouper have been plentiful if not huge of late. Many calm days our Back-Country guides have fished these areas with great success as is commonly done. Most days we fill the fish box with those wonderful “table fare” species such as Mangrove and Yellow Tail Snapper along with the tasty Jack family, in our waters in huge numbers. Sharks and large Barracuda are absolutely everywhere and if you feel well rested, friends they are always ready to go “head to head”. This is the best charter in our recommendation this month to be enjoyed on a ½ to ¾-day charter.
Always a fun and productive trip the back country this time of year also offers an abundance of visible marine life and tropical birds on the Mangrove Island shorelines with mirror calm, crystal clear waters. The overall population of fish in the back country remains large with several sport fish species, edible fish, and predators to target. A perfect trip for the hard-core light tackle angler to the novice angler or the family or groups numbering up to 4 anglers.
Tarpon time is over in the back country as the migration away from Key West of adult fish has taken place. Remaining is our resident population of primarily juvenile Tarpon and these fish are super sensitive to changing conditions and become very “hit or miss”. Some Tarpon are still here but we typically do not target them now! Consider a Tarpon in October as a wonderful “bonus” fish.
The ½ day to ¾ day morning departure trips continue to produce well however the afternoon water temperatures are not as high now so the later part of the day with good tides can be awesome. Permit can be pursued on the shallow patch reef and isolated shallow wrecks and the bite is good on quality size fish most days. Snook on the given day continue and we would place them in the “good” range. Cobia fishing continues again in the “good range”. This is a time of fast paced “excellent” action from the schools of BIG Jacks including some huge Yellow Jacks which continue to be red hot with the larger fish going north of 25 pounds…an absolute blast on light tackle and top water! Towards the end of October, we should see the ramping up of both Redfish and Trout fishing. These along with the schools of Pompano are the first of the fall, cooler water temperature, species to signal the transition from summer time angling.
The Mangrove and Yellow Tail Snapper fishing remains excellent in the back country. For serious “table fare” harvest we always recommend the reef & wreck trips but to include a few fish for lunch or dinner this is never a problem in our shallows.
The outstanding 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. This is predator time! These aggressive species are always ready to go “head to head” so you adrenaline junkies out there could be sight casting top water lures to cruising Barracuda! The Bonefish population in the back country has been fun lately on the deeper flats especially to the west of the island, and we should continue to enjoy this bonus back country action for all of October before slowing somewhat. For the serious Bonefish angler, the flats are still your trip but to include the possibility of Bonefish on the back-country trips for a while yet is reasonable. We “highly recommend” a back-country charter this time of year and especially for those guests looking for a shorter than full day trip. Note…if you have fly fishing in mind…head to the flats, we do not recommend hard core fly trips from our bay boats.
Bonefish continue to provide excitement for the patient angler willing to work for his prey. The Bonefish action during all of October can produce quality size fish ranging from 4 to 8 pounds and occasionally larger yet but the number of fish shows to be slowing. Permit typically will provide another 30 days or more with good results on the flats but the Permit is always more abundant in slightly deeper waters. The flats angler should absolutely include Barracuda and sharks on his hit list as well. 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 a good time to book your trip with one of our legendary flats guides. Fly fishers…flats are where you need to be in October.
This is a time of still warm but lowering water temperatures, so good fishing conditions continue, friends. We still recommend fishing early morning trips as the most productive over the later afternoon hours for the serious angler. The PM half day trips 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. Sharks are plentiful now and active in the shallow waters of our back country. 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 at times Bull are the more common of the several sharks cruising the shallows. Granted not overly dangerous, but shark fishing in the shallows will provide you with memories of a lifetime. Are you up for it?