Florida Keys Fishing Report
Melinda and I took a couple weeks off through New Years this year. When I got back the wind machine was up. We had gale force winds and small craft advisories through the middle of January this year so no fishing for a couple weeks. Then winter arrived. Temperatures dropped into the 30’s this past week in South Florida. In the Upper Florida Keys we have see temperatures in the mid Forties. When Mel and I first moved here, our first winter was tragically cold. We remember that we had all these great fish in our backyard (the bay) and then they were gone. They never came back. I saw on the news that it snowed in West Palm Beach, Florida this week. Can you believe it? Here in The Keys, the only thing that fell from down from the sky were iguanas falling from trees. Why is it every year someone thinks to pick up these cold iguanas and put them in his car with the heater cranked up? I am sure I don’t have to tell you what happens next.
Cooler Weather and Fishing in the Florida Keys
How does the cooler weather affect Florida Keys Fishing? The pelagic (wahoo and dolphin) find warmer water temperatures while the snappers tend to get a little lethargic on the reef as their metabolisms slow down down a little. I prefer fishing mid morning into late afternoon on days when there is a little chill in the air. If the sun is out, the water temperatures will warm up a couple degrees by 10:00 or 11:00 AM. It takes a little more work to find them, but this is where technology comes into play. The trick is fishing the peak bite times for the most action.
Using Technology to Find Fish on Cooler Days
On a recent 3/4 day charter, I used my Sirius Satellite Weather Fishing Map subscription. I have this is piped into my Garmin GPS/Fishfinder to find the temperature break (cold to warm water). It worked out nicely as I was able to get my clients to a temperature break at the peak bite time. They ended up catching a pair of nice cold weather Mahi Mahi and few Blackfin Tuna. All of the fish were wearing hats, scarves and gloves. We then headed back to the reef after the bite shutdown for some snapper fishing. Gotta love technology.
Sailfish “Here One Day Gone the Next”
So far it has been a slow Sailfish season. Typically the best months for targeting Sailfish in the Florida Keys is late February into April. Most of my clients tend to request meat fishing. That means we target snappers, wahoo and tuna so I have not had much of chance to target sailfish this season so far. The Sailfish we have caught have been incidental catches while trolling for wahoo.
February Fishing Predication
February historically has been very good fishing for both snapper and pelagic fish. Typically in February, the Yellowtail Snapper start spawning and I begin targeting Mutton Snappers on deeper wrecks. Wahoo historically bite around the full moon and new moons in February. I like to deep drop during February for mutton outside the reef. However, on windy days I can’t fish the reef or outside. The best fishing for that weather pattern is patch reef fishing. We can have a great day of action and still catch some nice eating fish. I always have to remind my clients that grouper season is closed til May 1st.
If you are thinking about coming down to fish with me in February and March I would recommend calling ahead. My February is really filled up already and March is filling up quickly as well. I can imagine April and May will fill up fast soon too.