Midsummer means Multi-species Fishing in Key West

We have been locked into the hot dry summer weather pattern for the past couple of weeks here in Key West. Air temps have been clocking between 91 and the low 80s, and other than a couple of passing thundershowers, it has been dry. Captains love this weather because they can run anywhere they want to find good fishing. With winds out of the east and staying below 15 mph for the most part, the whole ocean has been open for the hunt and the fishing in Key West has been great, with an impressive variety and number of fish showing up at the docks everyday since the first of the month.

Although water temperatures are running high in the shallows, the summer calm has been making it possible to hit the Backcountry early in the morning to look for Permit, Bonefish, Barracuda, juvenile Tarpon and more, then run offshore for an afternoon action fishing session out on the reef. A beautiful sunrise reflecting off a dead calm sea and the incoming tide flushing cool water in and pushing the bait fish around add up to fishing nirvana, and the past couple of weeks have been great for stalking Bonefish and Permit on the Flats. The glassy water conditions make the fish easy to see, and even anglers new to the Flats have been getting some good shots in.

The only catch has been a shortage of bait as crabs and shrimp have been in real short supply around the island. Both Bonefish and Permit will respond to a jig or a crab-pattern fly, but laying an artificial out in front of the fish with the right touch needed to get a hookup can be tough. Fortunately, early June saw a push of Tarpon onto the Flats for the Palolo worm hatch, and some of these fish are still around. Tarpon in the channels are a little easier to work than the skittish Bones and Permit because they can be tempted by a wide range of soft artificials, and presentation is simple as long as you get a good boat position ahead of the fish on the tide flow. Anyway, for those who are not up to all these technicalities, throwing plugs at schools of Jacks or fishing for Sharks are also good ways to start a summer day of fishing in Key West with some serious rod bending.

As the sun gets higher and it gets hotter, making the run out to the reefs or the wrecks has been the way to go. The reef fishing has been really solid the past week. On an incoming tide, limits of big Yellowtail Snapper have been nearly guaranteed, and the Mutton Snapper fishing has also been good. Throw in a couple of Grouper here and there and folks have been coming home with a nice collection of filets for the freezer. With the Mangrove Snapper spawn coming on, the dinner fishing should hold up well for the rest of the month.

Offshore, mixed bags of small Dolphin with a few Blackfin and Skipjack Tuna thrown in have been the rule. A few boats have managed to hook up with Wahoo. The deep water wrecks have been reliable for steady action on Amberjack, big Barracuda, Mutton Snapper, Sharks, and Permit. When it comes to wreck fishing, the Fish Key West charter captains have it dialed in, and throwing plugs over one of the shallow Gulf wrecks or dropping down deep out on the Atlantic side have been generating plenty of proof that it is possible to haul big fish over the side during the hottest days of the year. If you have ever wanted to check out the legendary fishing in Key West, now is the time to get deals on lodging and food, and while it may be hot, July offers some of the best weather of the year to be out on the water all day.