The first real cold front of the year has finally made its way down to the Lower Keys. The cooler water temperatures have pushed the large Barracuda onto the shallow flats where they can warm up in the sun. What this means for me and my anglers is the availability to pursue these magnificent creatures on light tackle and Fly gear in gin clear water. Its an experience like none other. Aggressive, fast, powerful and acrobatic are some of the words used to describe these trophy game fish.
If your tired of shoveling snow, do yourself a favor and get down here as soon as possible to take advantage of this unbelievable fishery!
Its been a long few months of rebuilding and recovery after Hurricane Irma. Thankfully, we were left with a home that was able to be repaired. The effects of the storm have made days on the water limited do to the priority's that are life but when I have been able to get out on the water, the fishing has been epic. The fall pattern is here which means that the big, aggressive barracuda have started to make their showing in the shallows. Along with that, schools of hungry Bonefish are also enjoying the cooler water temperatures. This time of year can be exciting and action packed.
The last few weeks have proven to be outstanding as both the weather and the fishing have been great! As we begin to approach the winter months, typically cold fronts move in and chill the waters down as well as introduce a fair amount of wind to the Lower Keys. Thus far however, the weather has been relatively mild. The water temps are still in the lower to mid 70's with average day time highs in the low 80's. That means both fish and angler are happy. Super comfortable conditions for hunter and hunted equal a great time on the water. Cooler water has brought in our seasonal predator, the Barracuda. They can be found on channel edges and flats basking in the sun. My buddy Tom fished with me a few days ago and was fortunate enough to catch the biggest "Cuda" I have landed on my skiff to date. I have seen a few bigger but never landed one. He was sight fished in a foot of water and destroyed a properly placed tube lure.
As the mid day sun warms the flats, Bonefish have been plentiful and frisky. I did a trip with the crew from Wilderness Systems Kayak to shoot a promo video for some new products and was able to put them on some Bones and a wide variety of other species.
Also last week, restaurateur David Snyder from St. Simon's GA, fished with me and missed a SLAM only by some unfortunate luck. Numerous Tarpon refusals in the morning and missed opportunities at Permit made the day frustrating as sight fishing can sometimes be. We were however fortunate to land a nice Bonefish.
This type of action should remain constant so book your trip with me soon and come experience what the Lower Keys has to offer. You wont regret it.
This week has brought huge tides to the Lower Keys with the seasonal "King" tide. The King tide occurs when the Earth, Moon and Sun are aligned at perigee and perihelion (what ever that means?). That translates to high water everywhere for a few days which can make sight fishing tough. We have also been blessed with the first cold front of the year which directly followed Hurricane Matthew causing water temperatures to drop to the mid 70's. So as of late, Tarpon and Bonefish have been hard to come by. But that has not slowed down the fishing, rather changed up the game plan. Cooler water has increased the amount of bait fish such as mullet in the basins from Big Pine to Key West. This in turn has increased the amount of predator fish into the area. Big Jacks, Barracuda and feisty Black Tip Sharks have made their presence known by exploding on pods of bait fish. Targeting these fish on both spin and fly tackle can be an exciting and rewarding experience. Nothing pulls harder than a big Jack and sight fishing a full grown Black Tip Shark on a 10wt fly rod is a heart pounding event. Both the anglers patience and gear are fully tested!
Great things are happening here in the Lower Keys. As the air temperatures starts to drop, the fishing heats up! Bonefish and Juvenile Tarpon have been the target species of choice over the last week with good numbers of both being found almost everywhere I have looked. I am finding Tarpon throughout the day but are much more prevalent either early or late. Evening trips can provide endless opportunities at theses smaller versions of the "Silver King". Once the sun is up, Bonefish can be found cruising the shallows looking for a meal. A well place fly or live shrimp is seldom refused.
Check back for the latest Key West fishing report!