September 2019 Fishing Report

For today’s action call 866-259-4205

With September we continue through a period of good late summer time action overall. Thankfully we now have some of our highest water temperatures of the entire year behind us. The late afternoon hours will continue to be noticeably slower, especially shallow verses the morning’s more productive low light, cooler water temperature time frame. We suggest early departures fishing until early afternoon for the best success most days.

Deep Sea/Offshore:

Our offshore fishing continues with decent but ever slowing action for Mahi Mahi. Mahi (Dolphin fish-Doradao) are plentiful, schooling fish that still can provide explosive action at a blistering pace most days. High leapers when hooked up, beautiful colored fish that also are a favorite for many on the dinner plate. Later in the season this year smaller fish has been plentiful but the larger Bull’s (males) have been fewer. Wahoo are prized and very sought after, elusive sport fish that peaked during July & August in our waters. Wahoo will be migrating away from Key West during September so as we get deeper into the month the Wahoo will noticeably lessen. September brings improvements to our already quite good Spanish and Cero Mackerel action as they now enter into the “excellent” range which lasts for several months. Typically, by later September the Kingfish migration will have brought decent numbers of good-sized fish to our offshore waters. Big Kings are always good for exciting action!

The predators remain aggressive with September also 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 and get on the water early. We recommend four as the maximum passenger count on any light tackle boat for the ultimate fishing experience.

Light Tackle Reef & Wreck:

September can be a calmer time for the angler with concerns about rough sea conditions found well offshore to head out to the offshore reef and wreck sites. In fact, August and September are often times referred to as “the calms” offshore. The Grouper and Snapper family continue to produce. Yellow Tails Snapper will try to eat your arms off most days in September while their cousin the Mangrove Snapper remain plentiful and tasty. Mutton Snapper are not particularly aggressive however, Snapper and Grouper remain the stars on the reef for table fare species to target! Our elusive Permit is always challenging but September remains a good time for these prized sport fish and they are moving towards better action yet in late September into October. Cobia remain in decent numbers and provide quality action but are now out of the “excellent” range, let’s say more the “good range”. Spanish and Cero Mackerel action improves and becomes quite good for September and can be counted on for fun with lighter tackle. Amberjack on the deeper wrecks can still provide brutal battles for the light tackle angler for early September but will be slowing later into September. The predator action with Barracuda and Sharks continues to be good.

Back Country:

Always a fun and productive trip the back country this time of year remains an excellent trip for fast paced action while targeting a very wide variety of species. When you add the amazing ambiance of fishing within the boundaries of a marine sanctuary home to an abundance of marine life, sea birds and blooming flora and fauna this trip checks off every box on the list for a memorable experience. Anglers will appreciate our calm, crystal clear waters for sight casting to fish. With the shallows we do continue to battle higher water temperatures so look to the morning half of the day to be far more productive. Tarpon are off our radar as the spawning migration that brought thousands of adult Tarpon to our waters has taken them away now. We do have a small year-round resident population of Tarpon however their level of activity is slower in the higher water temperatures found in our back country. A Tarpon taken in September is a “bonus fish” for sure. Permit and especially larger Cobia take the lead for the most desirable sport fish to pursue. September remains a decent time to target these nomadic fish as they free roam the back country. Several additional sport fish species, edible fish, and predators are in the near shore shallows now to target. Snook most days take up their positions on the mangrove shorelines and channel eddy’s with early morning, low light conditions being the most productive to pursue them. The Snook bite slows from the August levels but typically remains good. Key West is not a huge Snook fishery, nothing in comparison to the Everglades just 130 miles away but we do enjoy them here. September water temperatures remain too high for any real Redfish action. The numerous schooling species will continue to provide the best 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 again in September 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. We suggest considering the challenges of fly fishing in these higher water temps as many species are reluctant to chase bait down. For the most productive fishing, live bait and light tackle gear is our recommendation.

The ½ day to ¾-day trips with early departure times continue to produce well but the afternoon water temperatures are still high. Therefore, in September the later part of the day our action in the shallows slows. The Mangrove Snapper fishing continues to be very good in the back country for those who intend to save a few “keepers” for an evening meal. For serious “table fare” harvest we certainly recommend the reef & wreck trips now. The back country is not a “meat fish” trip should anglers be looking to harvest a larger quantity of fish. 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. September remains predator time 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 but be prepared to get off the docks early.


Our Bonefish action remains solid for September. Permit typically are rather scarce on the flats during the high-water temperatures of August. With September things begin to improve later in the month especially. Permit prefer lower water temperatures than the extremes of the super shallow flats in September. Some morning activity can be expected on the flats with Permit but by late morning the Permit typically will have retreated to more comfortable water conditions of the back country. 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. Fly anglers need to look to the flats stepping aboard with reasonable expectations for flats/fly fishing in September as challenging.


We recommend fishing morning trips for September as the air temps and in turn water temps continue to slow the afternoon bite. Fish early and understand 90% of the fish will be taken before 2:00 o’clock. Reef trips in the afternoon fishing slightly deeper waters along with the patch reefs can be good trips for later in the day departure times as the depths are not as drastically affected. 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!