The Keys: 5/25


Florida Keys Fishing Report week of 5/22/2017
Provided by:
(this report may be reproduced in any media format as long as credit is given
Reminder: The Ask the Captain and fishing forums are open for new members once again at


As usual the month of May is [arguably] when Dolphin catches are usually the best in numbers and size and this is not far from true currently. The “but” is that the past week was what one might call a little “sporty” meaning the wind blew hard. A high-pressure system sat close offshore and spun in strong wind for most of the week. Many charters cancelled or came home early and some fished the full day. And of course this applied to the back country also. For those who fished, catches were good with lots of gaffer and school size Mahi. Captain Don on the Kay k IV cancelled Thursday and Friday, but fished Saturday and had a great catch of 30 heavy lifter Dolphin and one Blackfin Tuna. Captain Jack on the Fish On out of Whale Harbor Marina abbreviated his trip when the clients got a case of the mal de mer and still had very nice nine gaffer Mahi to show for his short trip.
The book on the reef is all about the Yellowtail Snapper. This is the time of season when the Snapper are in pre-spawn mode and Yellowtail, Mutton and Mangrove Snapper will turn on and feed voraciously. Captain Billy on the Vera Vita fished the reef on one relatively calm day and got into the yellowtail Snapper very well, as did Captain David Morris on the Miller Time. This is the time of year when the reef holds some bonus fish including African Pompano and Permit, both in the Jack family. These species like structure and will be found on wrecks just outside the reef edge. There are still King and Cero Mackerel available also.
Gulf and Bay:
There was not much action reported from the Gulf, probably due to the wind, but guides were fishing Trout and Snapper in the bay and doing well. The banks out to the west, Schooner and Oxfoot and the deep channels near Sandy Key are holding lots of Tarpon and Sharks and the method is to soak a chunk on the channel bottom and wait for the bite. Using live bait under a float can be labor intensive with the amount of grass one must deal with.
Flats, Backcountry and Flamingo:
There is a wide variety of fishing opportunity available depending on your wants and needs. There are Tarpon all over the bay from the Islamorada area all the way out to Flamingo and Cape Sable. The nice thing is you can find often seclusion in your Tarpon quest. There is a fly Tarpon tournament going on this week, yes even in all this wind. Bait fishing a secluded channel or basin for Tarpon in the Flamingo area will yield Tarpon and or Sharks. Captain Gary Skrobeck out of Whale Harbor Marina has been fishing his classic Willy Roberts skiff and finding Snook in pot holes and along shorelines.