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Our KEY WEST Fishing has Exploded!
May is all about angling options and variety from Tarpon to Sailfish & Mahi-Mahi in Key West. Here are some helpful insights to anglers interested in targeting these iconic sport fish.
Sailfish are spawning well offshore. These are elusive nomadic sport fish that remain in constant motion. Time is the number one tool for success for the angler and guide as they work in concert to pursue these “bucket list” impressive fish.
Tarpon are pursued in shallow waters primarily in our “Back Country” Night Tarpon charters can be awesome when the tides are favorable…the biggest Tarpon come shallow to feed at sunset. Tarpon feed nocturnally therefore early morning and sunset are the most productive time frames…Let’s go fishing!
May arrives and our fishing continues to improve with outstanding action both shallow and offshore. Over the next few months some of the best fishing of the entire year comes to us and in every location from the backcountry to the light tackle. Here, anglers in the backcountry, reef & wrecks and blue waters well offshore are in for a blast.
The huge schools of migrating Tarpon have flooded into the shallows of the back country and their spawning rituals are well underway. Key West is now one of the most prolific Tarpon fisheries on the planet. May becomes the last month for “excellent” Sailfish action. However, most anglers favorite pelagic the Mahi-Mahi will dominate the blue water. The reef and wrecks are holding massive populations of true heavy weight gladiators ready to go head-to-head with Grouper season opening May 1, for harvest. Grouper is the first choice of bottom fishers and with a massive population untouched since January 1, the Grouper action becomes epic. It’s a time of exceptional action when fishing in the waters of Key West! You may have the fishing rod knocked out of your hand over the next few months friends.
As we enter May conditions improve for the anglers looking to fish deep. The iconic Sailfish is still in high gear! Our Sailfish action so far this year overshadows recent past years easily and we look to an exceptional May. May continues the aggressiveness of Black Fin Tuna which remain consistently plentiful and of quality size. Mahi action moves into full swing, during May so becomes the angler’s bread & butter species. Mahi-Mahi (Dolphin fish-Dorado) are plentiful, schooling fish that provide excellent action at a blistering pace while keeping things non-technical for the angler. High leapers when hooked up, beautiful colored fish that are also a favorite for many on the dinner plate. When the Mahi-Mahi are biting, businesses close on the island…it gets that good! By late May we expect Wahoo to come into the limelight. From about the end of May and for the following one hundred days Wahoo become the talk of the dock.
The predators remain aggressive with May always 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:
May brings calm winds and small seas conditions on the reef verses further offshore will remain far more comfortable for the angler concerned about motion discomfort. Outstanding Cobia action continues throughout the month. Cobia typically slow slightly over the next few months. Grouper season opens to harvest May 1, for Monroe Country (all of the keys) with a frenzy. Amberjack action is off the charts as well during May. The Snapper family continues to produce and with May we can count on exceptional action when targeting the Mangrove and Yellowtail. The larger Mutton Snapper will continue to provide some exceptional days on the reef especially as we move into their spawning time best the few days prior to and just after the full moon on May 16th. (Check our web site for Mutton Spawn Trips on our “Specialty Charters” page! Our elusive Permit is always challenging, the Permit is a sought-after sport fish and prized by anglers from around the planet. May continues with outstanding 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 backcountry 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 behemoth 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. Snook get busy in May and continue improving so better by mid to late May. The numerous schooling species will continue to provide non-stop action most days and the list is nearly endless again in May that keeps the younger anglers happy with the super-fast bite of schooling fish. It remains a productive time to pursue larger Jacks. A perfect trip for the hard-core light tackle angler to the novice angler or the family.
Tarpon spawning rituals are well underway, so the action is exploding. Tarpon fishing in Key West by May is prolific. These behemoth sport fish should be 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 lifetime. We continue witnessing the sunset Tarpon feeding activity. Our Sunset Tarpon trips are spectacular when conditions (primarily the tides) are optimal. Tarpon “Split Day” charters are offered for the hard-core Tarpon aficionados where we fish from 6 AM to 10 AM return to the dock and depart the same day at 4 PM returning at 8 PM on the same day fishing the absolute peak Tarpon feeding/activities windows.
Tarpon are pursued in shallow waters primarily in our “Back Country” waters. Night Tarpon charters are underway. Tarpon feed nocturnally therefore early morning and sunset are the most productive time frames…Let’s go fishing! We do not recommend fly fishing from back country bay boats.
The 1/2 day to 3/4 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 Yellowtail 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 “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 1/2 day trips. Remember where you find large Tarpon schools you find feeding sharks. May becomes peak 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.
May is a spectacular time frame to make the 28 mile run to the west to fish the fabled Marquesas Atoll. The schools of Tarpon are being targeted by the apex predator sharks. Giant Barracuda can be counted on for memorable days in the atoll during May. You may refer to our very concise “Marquesas” page on www.keywestproguides.com
This is a time of more stable water temperatures so fishing conditions in general have settled in and improved, 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 have improved and 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 in 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 305-296-6602 daily 8 AM to 9 PM. Remember peak fishing season dates are from December through July. April, May and June are the busiest months of our entire fishing calendar! Our legendary guide team is always in high demand. We look forward to your call!