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Fly fishing guides Key West, Florida
Key West  fishing seasons - best times to fish for tarpon, bonefish, permit, redfish, snook

The Winter (December, January & early February)

A Snowbirds delight. Cool days are in the upper sixties (day time highs average mid 70’s) and night time lows rarely reach the fifties. Cloudless skies and north winds are the norm. The fishing most days does not revolve around the “glamour” species. Think lots of shots, lots of fish and plenty of fun.

  • Keys: During these months, the cold fronts that push their way through the Keys often provide numerous opportunities to catch barracuda and jacks. Permit are also generally active especially during the warm-up following cold fronts. A couple of warm, calm days can certainly bring large tarpon into backcountry basins where they will “lay up” soaking up the rays of the sun. Bonefish provide action on warm days. Cobia are also an occasional target as they follow stingrays and sharks onto the flats.
  • Everglades: This can be a great time to fish the waters of Florida Bay. Redfish and Snook are often active except on the very coldest of days. The Bay can also produce some very good early season tarpon fishing.

The Spring (Mid February, March & April)

Blue skies, warming water and hungry fish. Some years it’s warmer and others a bit cool, but the fish always feel the change. Everything seems to come alive – it’s spring.

  • Keys: This is often a wonderful time to fish the Keys as cold fronts began to loose their severity. The permit fishing is at its peak, until the fish move offshore to spawn in the first half of April. This can also be some of the best tarpon fishing of the year, especially for truly large resident fish many larger than 100lbs. Bonefish are also a target, although they often take a back seat to the permit and tarpon.
  • Everglades: Redfish and snook are excellent targets in Florida Bay. Tarpon also make a strong showing during this time of the year as the weather moderates and spring takes hold. Some of the earliest tarpon will make their appearance here in some of the many secluded basins.

The Early Summer (May & June)

The best time of the year, period. Great weather, great skies and hordes of fish. What more needs to be said.

  • Keys: Tarpon are the primary focus. May and June are the peak of the one of the greatest spectacles in nature – the tarpon migration. Permit also begin to make their way back onto the flats, particularly during the month of June.
  • Everglades: As in the Keys, tarpon are the primary focus. Calm days seem to produce the best fishing. Redfish are also a target if the tarpon are scarce.
The Rest of the Summer (July, August & early September)

Who doesn’t love summer? It is hard not to feel like school just ended this time of the year. The crowds of May and June have disappeared. The weather is hot and humid, the winds are light and the fishing is easy. It’s hard not to feel like a kid again.

  • Keys: There are still quite a few large tarpon laid-up and the baby tarpon fishing is nothing short of outstanding, often found rolling on the edges of basins on early, calm mornings and swimming mangrove shorelines during the day. The bonefishing reaches its peak at this time of the year. The permit fishing is also fantastic. In our opinion, this and fall are the best times to fish the Keys – fewer anglers and superb fishing.
  • Everglades: Like the Lower Keys, the tarpon fishing is outstanding. Numerous small fish and occasional giants in excess of 120lbs are possible. Snook can be caught on the flats and Gulf beaches. Redfish are active on the flats throughout the day. The calm conditions also make trips from the Keys to the ‘Glades very comfortable.

The Fall (Mid September, October & November)

Yes, we have a fall here too. High pressure systems build, skies clear and the water begins to cool. With the exception of tropical events (fingers crossed) you can’t go wrong. Some of the best permit fishing and none of the crowds.

  • Keys: The tarpon fishing, especially for babies (less than 30lbs), is still consistent unless early cold fronts slow the action. Permit, as well as bonefishing, remains strong. The cooler water often encourages the bonefish to tail any time during the day. The permit also respond to the change of seasons, sometimes feeding aggressively as they move across the flats.
  • Everglades: Tarpon are still a common target, as well as redfish. Snook fishing in Florida Bay improves as the waters begin to cool and can still be found cruising Gulf Beaches. Triple Tail can also be found hanging around the numerous crab and lobster trap buoys found around the perimeter of the Park.

If you noticed that every season seems to offer great fishing, you are right. Good weather means good fishing, no matter what the calendar says.

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