October 2021 Fishing Report
October is here bringing cooler water temperatures, improving our action for the Key West angler.
From the Back Country, out to the Reef & Ship Wreck sites to the Blue Waters Offshore the overall population and wide variety of sport fish and predator species in our local waters now offers the light tackle angler so many options…
October Weather Averages:
Air Temperature 85/76
Rain Days 11
Wind 10 MPH
This is the time of year when the offshore angler understands our run times and distances 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 1/2 day charter still has real limits for the remainder of our next few weeks/months. October weather can be somewhat unpredictable therefore our captains will adjust and fish to the conditions of the day for the best results.
The Dolphin (Mahi Mahi) bite remains good but is dwindling somewhat from the past few months. Dolphin ruled the offshore weed lines through September. Late October draws the Dolphin action pretty much to a close. Black Fin Tuna will pick up providing the angler with some outstanding days. 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. Our Spanish and Cero Mackerel remain quite active traveling in large schools. October continues to be a time frame for behemoth Barracuda as these apex predators remain super aggressive. The rare Marlin “can” come this time of year well offshore way beyond the ½ day charter range however will always be extremely “hit or miss” in our local waters. Anglers should keep in mind that although a bit smaller in 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. Amberjack come to life late in October providing outstanding battles on light tackle gear. 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 reef. On the shallower “patch reef’s” the Red Grouper should be plentiful if not huge. Many calm days our Back Country guides will fish these same “patch reef” areas with great success as is commonly done based upon conditions. 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 found 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 1/2 to 3/4 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 that enjoys “sight casting” to fish to the novice angler or the family or groups numbering up to 4 anglers looking for non-technical yet fast paced action.
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 1/2 day to 3/4 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 to the west of Key West and the bite is good on quality size fish most days. Snook on the given day continue near the Mangrove Island shorelines and deeper channel edges, jetties, etc. 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 1/2 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 can provide some fun 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.
This is a time of still warm but falling 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. Shark fishing in the shallows will provide you with memories of a lifetime. Are you up for it?
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!