February 2014 Key West FIshing Report
While the rest of the nation is taking a pounding of snow and winter weather we are still enjoying the warmth and sunshine that makes this state the envy of the nation. At least right now it does.
Ok so this morning it was a little cooler out but the last week or so has been spectacular weather. Calm and crystal clear water, warmth up in the 80s and tarpon! Yes, that’s right, Tarpon in February. It doesn’t happen every year but a few lucky souls get to enjoy the sun and the tarpon fishing – what a treat!
Backcountry fishing has it’s ups and downs this time of year in general. Permit are always on hand but may fluxuate in and out of deeper water depending on the temperatures and air pressure. Look for the permit fishing to get better and better as we head into March. We will keep our fingers crossed that the permit stick around until mid-March for the March Merkin Permit Tournament. The tournament runs March 17-20 in Key West and benefits Bonefish Tarpon Trust specifiically to the Jon Ain Memorial Fund. Ain was the founder of the March Merkin and a very accomplished permit angler too.
Other backcountry options include barracuda which can be quite large this time of year. Our Cuda Bowllargest fish measured was by David Moloney of Summerland Key at 51.5 inches! That’s a big one! Jack crevalle, sharks, snappers, grouper and sea trout are also good rod bending material in the shallow waters.
Offshore has been just as active the past few weeks. Wahoo, tuna, sailfish, mahi mahi and kingfish are out beyond the reef. Although finding bait can be a challenge at times once you find it and head out there you are bound to make the ocean boil behind your boat.
Reefs and wrecks are alive with grouper and snapper. Don’t forget grouper season is closed until May 1 so enjoy the fight but let them go for another day.
Tarpon will continue to move around as long as the water temperature is higher and calm winds also help too. They will be migrating soon and it’s hard to tell when exactly it will start but peak times for tarpon are April through July.