Spring into Some Great Key West Light Tackle Fishing

Key West spring fishing has been off the charts so far this year, and looks to keep going strong into April with some great Key West light tackle fishing already happening in these beautiful first few days of the month. Of course, it is going to be hard to find something to top the two weeks of flat calm weather that March closed out with. Key West old timers say such a thing is unheard of, and the fishing it brought on has been incredible as well. Finally, for the last weekend of the month, a springtime cold front blew in Friday evening on gusts up to 45mph and kept the temperatures in the low 70s on Saturday. By Sunday evening the wind was dropping and starting to come around to the east, and the first days of April have been perfect. The windy days turned the water over and got the bait and fish moving to set up the non-stop action we are seeing now.

If the numbers of 20-30lb. fish being reported in March are any indicator, the Mahi-Mahi are going to running big during the prime April, May and June season. Maybe it’s partly because the beautiful weather has a lot of boats out, but deep sea fishing has been excellent, producing the type of action that has made Key West light tackle fishing world famous. Blackfin Tuna ranging from 15 to 35lbs. are thick over the humps and wrecks on the Atlantic side, and reports are coming in that they are already following the shrimp boats out in the Gulf. If you are up for a long run out, there is an unforgettable fishing experience to be had behind those boats when they dump the by-catch and shrimp scraps overboard. You will hook and fight Tuna until your arms want to fall off. There are plenty of other big game fish on the prowl as well. Anchoring in the Gulf to lure Kingfish with live bait has been working fine, and there are a lot worse ways to spend an afternoon than listening to a screaming drag while a King busts out of the water trying to shake the hook. Wahoo and Sailfish have also been coming into the dock every day, and the word is that late April is going to bring a big push of Sailfish through the area.

Out on the reef, it has been easy to fill a limit of Yellowtail Snapper, and the Grouper are also biting even though you have to throw them back until the end of the month. Locals are anticipating the first round of the Mutton Snapper spawn on the April full moon. The Moonlight Madness will go on around the full moon from now until June. Fishermen in the know will be packing town to head out into the amazing Key West sunset for an evening of fast Key West light tackle fishing action. Muttons are one of the most exciting fish on the reef because of their willingness to bite, beautiful colors and delicious taste. Not to mention the fact that they can run up to 30lbs. and are tough, tenacious fighters. Reserve your seats for this event early because it books up every year.Key West Light Tackle Fishing

The Permit spawn is another April special that is not to be missed. These fish are famous for being hard to get close to and catch out on the Flats, but during the spawn when they gather over their favorite reefs and wrecks, it can be a different story. Permit will congregate in big schools inshore then move through gaps in the reef to spawn in deep water. When you find one of their spawning locations, it is typical to sight packs of 500 or more fish in one spot. They are often found milling around at the surface with fins out of the water similar to what is seen when fishing Permit on the Flats. But during the spawn, instead of trying to creep up on one or two smart, spooky fish, all you need to do is throw a live crab or maybe a buck tail jig into the pack and wait for the hit. Permit are very strong fish and they will give a good fight with some long runs thrown in. By the time you get one worn down and up to the boat for pictures and release, you may be feeling a bit worn out yourself.

Of course the fish that is on everyone’s mind and the real reason that April is one of the busiest months of the year for Key West charter fishing is the mighty Tarpon. The season kicked off early this year and has been going steady with no major cold fronts to interrupt the action. The harbor and the Backcountry channels and basins are the place to be this time of year when the water temps are still on the cool side. Chumming in the harbor has been producing steady action on the late evening trips, and on calm weather days it is an excellent time to get out and enjoy the scenery along with the chance to fight fish in the 100lb. range. For those who want to work a bit harder, hunting down rolling Tarpon in the channels and along the edges of the Flats and casting flies at them is a great way to get into a fight. Local guides have been reporting fish that are ready and willing to eat most things thrown their way, so if your version of Key West light tackle fishing involves a five-foot long fish on the end of a skinny fly rod, now is the time to go for it.

Welcome in spring after a cold winter by coming down to Key West and joining the fun. You can’t beat April for sheer variety when it comes to Key West light tackle fishing. Sailfish, Mahi-Mahi, Permit, Tarpon, cold snappers, Wahoo, Tuna and Shark – they are all here now so book a trip and find the fish of your dreams in Key West.