May 2019 Fishing Report
For today’s action call 866-259-4205
May arrives and we continue through a period of outstanding action, over the next few months some of the best fishing action of the entire year takes place in Key West. Tarpon have flooded into our back-country shallows and the spawning rituals are playing out…making our local waters some of the most prolific Tarpon waters on the planet. Bonefish are feeding heavily on the flats. Sailfish and Mahi dominate the blue water while the first-choice reef species become aggressive entering into spawning time. It’s a time of exceptional action when fishing the waters of Key West and the wise angler understands you need reservations well in advance to fish with the top pro’s during May in Key West!
Our offshore fishing has exploded. The winds of March and April are now well behind us. Our typical May weather brings our offshore bite to the levels of spectacular. The iconic Sailfish bite continues! Mahi action swings into high gear during May and will rapidly become the angler’s bread & butter species. Mahi 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! Black Fin Tuna continue to be on a tear. There are few species of pelagic fish capable of the total chaos when a school of big Black Fin show up. Later May brings the arrival of Wahoo a top pelagic on every angler’s bucket list.
The predators remain aggressive with May 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:
Our May winds are typically light and refreshing. Gone are the gusty days of April and with them the rougher sea conditions. This is a great calm water time for the angler with concerns about rough sea conditions to head out to the nearer shore wreck sites as well. Grouper season opens May 1 and it is Katie bar the door! The Snapper family continues to produce. The larger Mutton Snapper will continue to provide some exceptional days on the reef as they enter into their spawning rituals now. Yellow Tails Snapper and cousin the Mangrove Snapper are plentiful and tasty nowadays! Our elusive Permit is always challenging however May is an excellent action time for these prized sport fish. Cobia remain in numbers and provide quality action. Spanish and Cero Mackerel remain in the “good” range and can be counted on for fun with lighter tackle. The predator action with Barracuda and Sharks continue to be crazy good.
Always a fun and productive trip the back country this time of year remains an excellent choice for fast paced action while targeting a very wide variety of species. Anglers will appreciate our calm, crystal clear waters now filling with spawning Tarpon. The overall population of Tarpon in the back country has reached epic proportions. Plus, several additional sport fish species, edible fish, and predators are in the near shore shallows now to target. Redfish are all but done for now as our summer time water temperatures rise, however Snook take up their positions on the mangrove shorelines and channel eddy’s. The numerous schooling species will continue to provide nonstop action most days. Just a few of the schooling species remaining in our bays now are the ever-present brutish Jack, Lady Fish, Blue Runners, Grunts, Porgies…the list is nearly endless in May that keep 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.
Tarpon as we said earlier are here. The population of Tarpon has continued to increase daily throughout all of April. 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. The Tarpon are aggressively feeding on the evening tides now as well as first light. Our sunset Tarpon trips fishing through the twilight 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. We do not recommend younger children anglers either as the action can result in a chaotic environment at times. 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 May. For serious “table fare” harvest we certainly recommend the reef & wreck trips now but to include a few “keepers” 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. May 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 May…May continues to produces those Grand Slam events where the anglers successfully land a Bonefish, a Permit and a Tarpon in the same day…a rare feat at the very pinnacle of flats fishing accomplishments. Permit are no longer scarce on the flats as the action is peaking now. More Permit will be found on the reef & wrecks for summer especially during their spawning cycle which takes place between early June and later July.
Tarpon are still primarily found at home in the back country but are beginning to venture out onto the flats and into the deeper channels just off our harbor 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.
We still recommend fishing morning trips if going shallow as they remain the most productive over the later afternoon hours for the serious angler looking primarily for Tarpon action, but again the afternoon trips are good and Tarpon are certainly possible. 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!