2010 was a memorable year for fishing in the Florida Keys—both for the outstanding catches, and for the record-low temperatures that resulted in one of the largest fish kills in recent history. Fortunately, it didn’t take long for the weather or the fishing to warm up. And as we progressed through the year, each season brought us exciting action for a variety of different species.
2010 began with the coldest winter I have ever experienced in the Keys. The inshore species took a beating, and everywhere you looked you’d see fish floating on the surface, either dead, or stunned from the cold. Fortunately, the fishing remained red hot on the reef throughout the cold weather. The mangrove snapper fishing was off-the-charts, and the sailfish season was nothing short of spectacular. In addition, the cold front really turned on the grouper fishing. And although we weren’t able to keep any grouper because of the closure, they were still loads of fun to catch.
As we rolled into spring the reef remained on fire. Snapper fishing was exceptional on the patches, and the sailfish continued to provide anglers with plenty of excitement. As tarpon season approached no one knew quite what to expect, or what impact the cold winter would have on the Florida Keys tarpon run. By April however, all doubts were cast aside as a nice influx of fish moved into our waters. As the water continued to warm, more and more tarpon arrived, resulting in a banner year for tarpon fishing up and down the islands.
As summer came along the much anticipated dolphin fishing season started off with a bang. Reports of big fish poured in throughout the Keys and all indications were that we were going to have an incredible dolphin season. Unfortunately, this was not the case, and as fast as the season started, it faded just as quickly. We did catch fish throughout the summer, but they were spread out and harder to come by than we would have liked. While the dolphin fishing was a little lackluster, the excellent blackfin tuna bite helped make up for it. As did the mutton snapper fishing on the wrecks, which really came to life towards the end of summer.
Late summer and early fall brought us one of the best lobstering seasons we’ve experienced in a number of years. Fall also yielded excellent catches of snook, redfish, and tarpon in the backcountry, as well as several big bonefish on Middle Keys flats.
So far this winter it appears we’re going to have another outstanding sailfish season. We’ve caught multiple sails on several trips already, and with all the bait still around the sailfish action should remain excellent throughout the months ahead. In addition, the reef remains red hot for all the snapper species, and the channel humps are starting to turn on with excellent grouper fishing.
Your Best Bet for the Year Ahead: Go Fishing!
Make it your New Year’s Resolution to get on the water and fish in 2011!
Dolphin: While the summer dolphin fishing wasn’t as consistent as we’d of liked, there were fish out there if you put your time in.
Tarpon: 2010 was an excellent year for Florida Keys tarpon fishing.
Sailfish: 2011 should be an exceptional year for sailfishing.