Spring brings better weather and brings lots of fish species ready for your hook. Everywhere there is hot action.
There are large Permit in the shallows. Tarpon are starting to show back up in the deeper flats, and Bull sharks are spawning. In May, the bonefish are back, and this is some of the year’s best fishing. The “Grand Slam” of Permit, Tarpon and Bonefish is possible, but all three of these are elusive.
In March, you can find Tarpon in good numbers along with Cobia, Permit, and Snapper in the channels. There is also excellent large shark fishing like Hammerheads and Bulls.
For all of Spring in the wrecks, you can find a large number of Permit as they are spawning on the reefs. Cobia and Snapper are found in the wrecks and reefs. Kingfish are found in the Gulf, and many Blackfin Tuna can be seen near shrimp boats. It is the best time for Amberjack and Grouper season starts in May. Overall the fishing in Spring at the wrecks and reefs is Epic.
The Spring in the deep blue has a very strong bite for Sailfish, Mahi Mahi and Blackfin Tuna. April and May are the time for the Marlin to start frequenting the waters.
Summer gets hot both in temperature and in fishing. Because of the heat, try to plan your trips in the morning or the afternoon to escape the sun! Also, the heat tends to slow the fish bite down considerably.
The flats are open all Summer long for chances of Grand Slams of Permit, Tarpon and Bonefish. This is one of the best places in the world to get your chances of catching all three sport fish in one day. If you are a fly fisherman, you must come to Key West to experience Summer on the Flats. You want to try to fish early before the water temperature rises.
It is all about the Tarpon in the backcountry in the Summer. While you can find Snapper and Grouper in the shallows, it is the “Silver King” for which most anglers have come to fish. Also, Barracuda and Sharks can be found here.
The summer months are when the temperature gets hot, but the fish do not mind because it takes a lot of time for the temperatures to rise. If you can stand the sun and heat, you are in for a treat fishing Key West in the Summer. It is the start of the Mangrove Snappers’ spawn in late July. These and other large Snapper varieties and Grouper, yes, it is finally Grouper season. You can find Permit in significant numbers in the wrecks and reefs, and Barracuda are always found on the reefs.
In the fall, the heat dies down, and the summer tourists leave, leaving more room for fishing, which is still excellent. In September, you might still want to plan the trips with the sun and choose early or late charters because while it cools on days, the sun sometimes shines as bright as the Summer.
While the flats have been good fishing in these months, the fishing is the best it will be all year. THE SLAM is still on, and September and October are undoubtedly the best months of the year for Permit, Bonefish and Tarpon. In November, the weather gets colder, and the Bonefish and Tarpon start to leave. However, there is still plenty of Permit along with Sharks and large Barracuda.
In the fall, there is still a chance for a Slam with Permit and Bonefish still available, but the Tarpon, while still here, will start their migration to warmer waters. Sharks, Snapper, Grouper and more are still ready to be reeled in.
The water temperature in the wrecks and reefs is optimal for great fishing. Loads of baitfish bring all the fish to the party. You can drop your line down for bottom-feeding Snapper and Grouper. Other fish like Amberjacks, Mackerel, Jacks and Barracuda are a good bet on the reefs and deeper at the wrecks. Of course, all these fish attracts Sharks, which is excellent Shark fishing time too. In late November, Sailfish come back to Key West.
This is not the best time of year for going out to the Blue. The Marlin season is starting to tail down, and the Mahi Mahi are the smallest all year. Sailfishing is beginning to heat up, though, in November.
In the winter, while it does not get cold air temperature-wise, the water does get colder. Bonefish and Tarpon have left for warmer waters, but fear not because Permit are still here and in the middle of winter Cobia and Jacks abound chasing after baitfish. Sharks and Barracuda like always patrol the waters.
The backcountry has some real action still. This is the best time of year for Mangrove Snapper and Sea Trout. There are plenty of other fish to reel in, but be warned, this is also the time for Blacktip Sharks. They love eating anything that moves, including your catch. But you can always change plans and target them for a fun day on the water.
Sailfish and Kingfish are the big two when going offshore, and this time of year is the best for both of them. Another fish that comes back in Winter is Wahoo. It is still Grouper season in December so try your luck at deep dropping for them, Snapper and even the occasional Swordfish. This may not be the best fishing time, but it is still an exhilarating time on the water with the bite.