The Keys have seen some unstable weather conditions lately, which has definitely thrown me some curveballs, but the necessary adjustments have worked out in my favor.
This past week, we’ve had a fairly constant blow of 15-plus mph winds from the south, the east, or the northwest. This makes for constantly changing water levels in the backcountry, which is what us fishing guides live and die on. Water height and water movement are just two of the factors that will allow you to catch fish or make a thousand casts to end up with nothing. Luckily, I have been able to stay on top of the weather, and it has been pretty accurate.
With the stronger east winds, I have been able to take my 22-foot Pathfinder into areas I typically would not be able to. In this case, the snook fishing has been significantly better than it has on a north wind. However, on a northwest wind, the redfish and trout fishing has been absolutely stellar. That’s why I let people know in advance that although suggestions are acknowledged, it’s best to go with the guide’s gut about what to fish for.
On the offshore side of the island, the biggest sailfish tournament of the year, known as the Jimmy Johnson “Quest for the Ring” Fishing Championship Week was this past weekend with over 100 boats fishing it. The winner of the tournament was a beautiful sportfish by Team Sandman, out of Fort Lauderdale, who caught 12 sailfish in a matter of two days. I heard reports of several kingfish, mahi and tuna caught as well in the tournament, but as for the sailfish, it was mildly slow fishing. This time of the year as we hit the tail end of our cooler water and start to have rising air temperatures to go along with it, offshore fishing gets slow until the tunas start to show up thick on the humps again.
As we start to see the winter time finish line and work our way into the spring, soon it will be time to put some boardshorts on and go looking for tarpon at the bridges, and mahi in the gulfstream. I can’t wait!
Remember, the tug is the drug and if you chum they will come!