There are currently two options for decent fishing action in the Key West area. On full days when we have the time, we have been finding Dolphin from the “wall” or continental shelf on out, 25 or more miles from the dock. Most of these fish are associated with large mats of floating Sargassum weed. On half day trips we have been having success along the reef edge for Grey, Yellowtail and Mutton Snapper along with Cero, Little Tunny and the occasional Grouper.
Key West Fishing Reports
The heat is oppressive but it’s cooler on the water than anywhere else you might be. So far the fishing is holding up pretty well. Plenty of Dolphin remain offshore, as always you just have to find what area they are holding in. Recently we have been finding huge patches of weed along the continental shelf which have been productive. Best recent catch was a Blue Marlin estimated at between 175-200 pounds. The fish was fought and released in 35 minutes on 30lb trolling tackle. Sailfish remain on the scene offshore as well, we’ve been averaging a Sail bite about every other day. In on the reef edge the Grey Snapper spawned on the recent full moon and we had several decent catches. Muttons, Yellowtail and jumbo sized little Tunny are also biting on the reef.
Summertime has arrived in the Key West area over the last ten days. Temperatures close to 90 degrees, light and variable breezes from the Southeast with isolated but intense thunder storms developing in the afternoon has become the normal weather pattern. Plenty of Dolphin remain in our offshore waters but the best of the season is now past and the quality of the fishing is more inconsistent. A few Sailfish continue to bite in depths from 120′ to 250′ just beyond the reef edge. Mixed in with the Sails have been plenty of Little Tunny, and the occasional full grown Blackfin Tuna. The reef edge is producing decent catches of Yellowtail and Mangrove Snapper along with a few Grouper.
Dolphin fishing remains strong which is to be expected this time of year. We have been experiencing unusually strong Gulf Stream current over the last 10 days or so, with blue water pushed in against a distinct color change just offshore of the reef. Many of our larger Dolphin have been caught in this relatively shallow water. In addition to quality Dolphin, there have been quite a few Sailfish bites along the color change as well. We had 3 Sail bites on a morning 1/2 day yesterday and 2 Sail bites the previous 3/4 day. We fished the Mutton Snapper spawn one night but the current was too strong, making it difficult to hold bottom. We caught 4 over 10 pounds and lost that many during the sunset bite.
We are probably somewhere near the peak of the Dolphin season. Over the last week our area has been innundated with schools of 4 to 6 pound Dolphin. There are plenty of larger fish still around, it just takes patience and a bit of luck to hook the larger fish with so many smaller fish around. We’ve also been getting a few Sailfish bites on the Dolphin grounds.
Dolphin Season has arrived and we are catching plenty on a daily basis. The very best of the Dolphin action should take place over the next month. Over the last 10 days our largest Dolphin was 40lbs. We have caught several in the mid 30 lb range and many from 20-25 lbs. There have been some Sailfish around as well. We caught 4 Sails during one 3 day stretch last week. The Mutton Snapper spawned on the full moon last week and we had a very good catch the one evening we went. Very strong East and North Easterly winds hampered our fishing over the past week. Those with good sea legs were rewarded with good catches of fish however.
The big migration of Sailfish is apparently over, although we are still getting the occasional Sail bite. Dolphin action is ramping up. Over the last week we have seen a steady improvement in the Dolphin bite and over the last several days the arrival of some big fish. The best Dolphin fishing of the year historically takes place during the last two weeks of May. It looks like its shaping up that way again. Several days ago we saw half a dozen large Bluefin Tuna while offshore. We have also had some decent reef fishing of late, big muttons over 15 pounds, Yellowtail, Red Grouper and even a 125 pound Goliath as well as a trophy size African Pompano.
It is mid April and the wind and water conditions have come together as they so often do this time of year to produce the ideal situation for catching migrating Sailfish, along with many other species including Dolphin, Blackfin Tuna, and Cobia. Strong east current flowing into an east or southeast wind creates the situation where these fish get up on the surface and swim down sea. Combined with a distinct edge where green in shore water meets blue offshore water and mingles to produce “powder” colored water is where the action takes place. We have been catching our fish with the use of live baits fished off kites and also on sunny days by riding up and down the color change sight casting to fish swimming on the surface. We have been seeing 20 to 30 Sailfish a day during the last week. With our tuna tower, nimble manuverability, and over sized live wells, the SOUTHPAW was built for this.
We have been catching a little bit of everything over the course of the last 10 days. This is a transitional time of year and our catch reflects that. Some days we’ve been catching Snapper, Grouper and Kings on the reef edge, other days we’ve been trolling the blue water for Tuna, Dolphin and Wahoo.
In the temporary absence of Tuna, Sailfish and other bluewater fish we have been catching King Mackerel, Yellowtail Snapper, Amberjack and other assorted reef and wreck dwellers. All of these fish are fine fighters and many of them are delicious eating.