We’ve been extremely busy here in Islamorada, Florida Keys. One of the busiest spring times I can remember! Unfortunately this last week we had another late cold front dropping the temperatures extremely low. Some parts of the everglades national park the water was in the high 50s, and even florida bay was in the low 60s – not ideal for this time of year or any time! The hot ticket for my anglers has been fishing the islamorada patch reefs. The last several days we’ve done that and the fishing has been pretty good. Lots of good eating fish too! We’ve caught some nice mangrove snappers, porgies, and hogfish which are all delicious! There has also been a mix of smaller yellowtails, mutton snappers, various groupers, blue runners, grunts, chubs, and even a few small sharks. A few days ago one of my anglers was after sharks, but with the water temperatures being what they were I did not think much of our chances. However we fished near the ocean side with the incoming tide from the atlantic and that kept things quite a bit warmer than in the bayside. We didn’t catch anything we consider ‘trophies’ here, but he was thrilled to catch a few very large nurse sharks, big sting rays, and large bonnet head sharks. The april tarpon fishing in islamorada should pick up too. The last several nights have obviously been pretty slow with the cold water. We saw plenty of fish last night, though never could get one to eat. I fished 3 different spots and all held fish that we could see rolling consistently. The cold front has since passed and the waters should have a chance to warm up, once they reach ~70 again everything should get better slowly. If your thinking of doing a backcountry islamorada fishing charter give me a call!
Today the winds howled out of the southwest 25 mph, not a favorable march florida keys fishing condition! We didn’t let it get the best of us though as we made our way into the islamorada backcountry fishing. We took a little longer running but were able to stay on the edges of the banks and in my comfortable 20′ seacraft the ride was not an issue, just a little minor spray here and there. We fished the edge of the gulf which you could not do in a little skiff and the fishing was good! Lots of big trout, ladyfish, and some mangrove snappers. We got our limit of trout and kept the ladyfish for bait. After a couple long drifts we decided to go try for bigger stuff so we ran to some deeper channels close by. Unfortunately the water did not look very pretty, but we found an area deep inside that had some bluish color and looked a better than the mouths of the channels where we normally fish. So i anchored us up for some shark fishing in islamorada in march. We had action fairly quick, mostly black noses and blacktips. After a few of those, all of a sudden we had a rod slam down and a big 100 lb tarpon went flying! We chased him down and kept him on, getting the fish boatside in about 25 minutes. Fantastic catch! Eventually the weed and grass got too bad to fish after this, so we went to another channel to fish. The action wasn’t quite as hot and heavy, had a few more shark bites and caught a couple, then called it a day and went home! Also pictured here is a 400+ lb islamorada goliath grouper caught by young 10 year old Sam and his brother last week with me! Big beasts like these are often caught in the spring and early summer here in Islamorada, so be sure to ask about it if you want to catch big fish!
Had Sam out today luckily after a last-minute cancellation. He wanted to try to catch a tarpon in islamorada and I told him I thought we had a decent shot at getting one today. The fish have been around though not biting great yet, however we had the wind switch around today to southeast from north yesterday which is a good thing – nice and warm weather! We started the morning early out at 7 AM, found some birds bombing and looked for mullet for a bit but they were very finicky so just continued our run in the back. We stopped in the bays near the edge of the gulf and got into the trout and ladyfish pretty good which we saved the ladyfish for bait. Islamorada trout fishing should be pretty good through the spring with lots of fish in the bays moving out from their winter holes, and these were nice size keeper fish too. Around 9:30 we had our fill of bait and such, so we went in search of tarpon. Set up in a channel with the start of the incoming tide, and within 10 minutes we hooked a nice 100 lber! Plenty of jumps and leaps, chased him down and leadered him up after a 25 minute battle. Good job Sam! The march tarpon fishing in islamorada i think will continue to get better and hopefully we will have a strong show of fish through season with the later start this year. We caught several black tip sharks after this, and had one myestery fish likely a big ‘mud marlin’ that we pulled the hook on. Anyways after the tide quit we went into the gulf for the last hour and caught about a dozen triple tail which was fun. The triple tail have been pretty thick in the gulf and even with it being a bit choppy it was a good bet for something different. If you want to catch islamorada triple tail then make sure to ask they are an option!
Well spring is officially here today the wind died out and left a beautiful flat calm day for march backcountry fishing islamorada. We started out the morning a little late but that was ok, we searched for some mullets and found a few on the flats nearby. Made a few throws only to get a couple of them which was what we needed! We ran back into the islamorada backcountry and fished some channels for trout, ladyfish, etc… We had lots of action and saved the ladyfish for bait too which we turned out not to need but saved for another day! Plenty of tarpon seen at this point in the main channel, so after we had enough fun with that we set up there for the big stuff. Within 10 minutes we hooked a gorgeous 80 lb fish that went airborne and nuts, he ate a mullet with the tail cut off on the bottom. Got the fish boatside after 15 minutes, but before we could get a picture we broke him off unfortunately, oh well still a technical catch with the leader in the rod tip! I’ve included a picture of a similar sized fish caught the day before. Everglades tarpon fishing is going to be getting better and better from this point on I think. After this we caught a smaller blacktip shark, and then decided to run to the gulf. Hit some structure in hopes of a cobia, which one did pop up and we cast a pinfish too him… He sunk down after it but did not eat it, and we did not see him again. Ran further out and got into a mess of tripletail, they were a little spooky but we caught about a dozen or so, including our limit of nice ones for dinner! Inshore fishing islamorada in march offers many different opportunities especially on this flat calm gorgeous days. After this we headed home, tomorrow heading out for a day of fun fishing with my dad so going to run deep in the backcountry to try some new things – hopefully have a good march islamorada fishing report!
Well last night took my first official evening tarpon fishing trip in Islamorada. Not ideal conditions with the breezy north wind and impending cold front, though luckily the water temperatures did not drop too drastically and had time to warm during the day. Anyways had all different kinds of baits – big shrimp, cigar minnows, crabs, and pinfish. We drifted the local channels for some tarpon in islamorada. I had seen several there days before, though early in the afternoon not much activity. We stopped near one of the bridges and I saw a fish roll, we set up our anchor and drifted baits back towards the bridge. We had a couple bites, one on cigar minnow and one on shrimp. Not sure what the shrimp bite was but likely a tarpon as it pulled drag for several seconds. The cigar minnow definitely was a tarpon but didn’t get a hook set. We did end up catching a legal gag grouper and nurse shark off the bottom to keep busy. March tarpon fishing Islamorada is just like any other time, around sunset can be your best bet for good bites. We ran further back to catch the end of the falling tide in one of the channels. Again saw fish roll right as we made our first drift, a welcome sign! After a couple more drifts we finally hooked up on a live crab around 7:30. After a 20 minute battle we had a nice 75 lb fish to the boat, just in time to make our way back home on our florida keys night tarpon fishing charter!
Today we fished in the backcountry for a half day, the winds were way up 20+mph out of the north. Pretty chilly too but not brutally cold. Not many options but we ran and hid behind some of the islands and caught some nice mangrove snappers. Got our limit of nice 12+ inchers, including this nice 17 inch fish which for the backcountry is gigantic! After that we tried to find some muds in the bay for trout/ladyfish/etc… but it was tough to fish in the bay as it was so rough, we anchored down in a muddy area and did catch half a dozen big ladyfish for something different before heading home. Islamorada mangrove snapper fishing is one of the best bets for edible tablefare in the backcountry, and they can be caught almost any day even when its blowing and nasty.