Author: Flying Fish Charters
Key West January 2018 Fishing Report
The last few days we have just been hunkered down here as the cold fronts that were pounding the rest of he east coast finally made their way to the Florida Keys. We have had miserable weather, with heavy winds, rain and a sudden drop in temperature. The forecast for the weekend is still calling for heavy winds at 25 mph out of the northeast, but the temperature is on the rise and it is supposed to be sunny. After the weekend, the weather looks like its going to be more cooperative. The tuna bite was awesome before this front arrived and it should stay that way after the front. The sailfishing has been slow so far this season, but one of these cold fronts should turn it on.
I would recommend fishing rock piles on the southside the next few days, that will be the protected side and the fishing in shallow has been good. You can’t keep grouper anymore, but the big mutton snappers are still around. My favorite bait for mutton snappers are live ballyhoo, but pilchards, pinfish and strips on bonita will work as well. Whether I am fishing with jigs or carolina rigs, I prefer to use 30lb Bullbuster Fluorocarbon leaders. Sometimes you can get away with heavier leaders, but 30lb fluorocarbon is a good place to start. There are plenty of other fish around those rock piles too, like kingfish, cero mackerels, sharks and jacks. The kingfish and ceros, like the live ballyhoo too, but due to their sharp teeth, you may want to go with a wire leader for those fish.
If you get out in the backcountry, look for mud slicks and dirty water in the basins. You can drift round the mud slicks, casting bucktail jigs, looking for jacks, snappers, lady fish and trout. Fishing in the basins is great when you have colder, windy weather. You can stay busy catching fish and the snappers and trout are excellent eating. If you can get up on the flats and push around, the barracuda bite has been great. The water temperature will be way down and the barracudas like that, they may be super aggressive the next few days.
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