Gulf waters hold most action
Fishing offshore in Key West this week got a bit tough with the calm weather and clearer water. Deep sea fishing charters have reported the activity that is best this week is in the Gulf of Mexico and the bite has been on for king mackerel.
The Gulf of Mexico holds a lot of great fishing at certain times of the year. This last week was one of them. Even though grouper is out of season until May 1st, the fish don’t know it so they continue to bite. Goliath Grouper in particular (aka Jewfish) are sometimes a nuisance on the wrecks and other structures in the Gulf as they will devour every bait you put out and may even take a bait right off the surface if given the opportunity. The goliath is just that, a very large grouper with a HUGE mouth! These fish can come to grow to hundreds of pounds. In fact rod companies for both fly and conventional tackle will send their teams down here to test the resistance of rods on goliath grouper because they pull so incredibly hard!
Keep in mind that Goliath Grouper are a protected species. That’s right! These deep sea dwellers have been off the menu for a lot of years now and there is no sign they will be a delicacy again anytime soon. These fish are protected and it is strongly encouraged that you do not take them out of the water even for a photo. If you do, don’t go posting it on a social media network either or you are bound to get in trouble with someone.
Other species the Gulf of Mexico has this time of year are cobia. Cobia are a hard fighting fish and can be good eating if cooked correctly. Some fisherman will also serve up cobia as ceviche which is a great way to serve it.
On another note, in the Key West Harbor and in the shallows the tarpon fishing has been exceptional. Tarpon love warmer water and with the water temperatures in the mid to upper 70s it’s more like springtime for these fish right now.
The Key West weather forecast doesn’t indicate any major changes anytime soon so we can expect the tarpon to stick around for a while I think.
The offshore fishing in the Atlantic may get good for mahi-mahi if you can find something floating. The sargasso weed doesn’t usually form this early in the season but with a good south or east wind we may get a wave of it that brings the pelagic fish in closer to the reef. For now the water out front is pretty darn clear. For fishing that can be a good thing for tuna but a bad thing for yellowtailing. We need some dirty water to make things happen with the bottom dwelling fish.
March holds some great fishing for the Key West area. Permit fishing on the flats will be at a peak here in the coming weeks. These fish generally head offshore to spawn in April but in recent years they have been found offshore as early as February because the water temperatures are so much warmer.