Florida Keys Fishing Report – March 2022
It sure has been a windy winter in the Florida Keys! We have been experiencing winds from 15 mph to 30mph these past few weeks. Although we run larger boats which allows us to fish in a wider variety of conditions, not everyone enjoys the rocking motion caused by the taller waves.
Having to shuffle and reschedule trips due to the weather is an unfortunate but necessary task when running a fishing charter in the Keys. Despite these weather-related challenges, the fishing has been consistently good, and we are excited for the official start of spring which is just 3 days away!
Even with higher winds, we can at least get out to the reef for some fishing on most days. When reef fishing, you are on anchor with chum blocks in the water while targeting reef species such as Yellowtail Snapper, Mangrove Snapper, Mutton Snapper, and Grouper; you might even catch a cool-looking Barracuda or Parrotfish.
When clients tell us they want good eating fish, we typically will go to the reef first to get some delicious snapper before trying out other things. This is a great way to get some dinner in the box before hunting for a larger quarry.
Ricky Vincent poses with a pal and their tasty Yellowtail catch.
Over the last week, the Yellowtail Snapper bite has been on fire, also catching Mutton Snapper. The higher winds have managed to help cloudy the water, making our fishing lines much harder for the skittish Yellowtails to see.
On a clear-water day, more than one fishing line in the water can spook a school of Yellowtail. But in these conditions, we can often fish multiple lines, which is a great way to rack up a nice catch quickly
A pretty Mutton Snapper caught with the Remold party aboard the Main Attraction II.
Another species we have been catching a lot of is Grouper. We’ve been joking around about how the Groupers know we can’t keep them until May 1st, so they let us catch them!
The good thing about an excellent Grouper bite is that it allows us to scope out some fishing spots for the season’s opening day. We’ve primarily been catching Black and Red Groupers, both fantastic table fare. But for now, catch, photo, and release will have to do.
Captain Aaron Sutcliffe and Corbin Black with a black grouper released a few days ago.
We have also been catching Sailfish periodically. Not a large quantity of Sailfish have been present, but we have been able to catch them when the conditions are right. We enjoy sight fishing for Sailfish, it’s our favorite technique because its loads of fun and an exciting experience for our clients. Hopefully, we will see ideal tailing conditions before summer’s Mahi season. We usually do, and the results have been spectacular when it happens.
The Bonaro Family
This past week, Captain Marty and first mate Lance had a morning ½ day charter wanting to target Sailfish specifically. Asking your Captain to target a specific species of fish, especially offshore, and on a half-day no less is quite risky! We advise against this because even if you find a Sailfish or two, there is no guarantee they will be hungry or eat. For these reasons we prefer to fish Offshore on a longer trip. Our client knew the risk and was willing to give it a try, so Captain Marty aimed to please. The fish gods must have been on their side because Bonaro’s doubled up the Main One with two Sailfish on the line within the first hour of fishing! The Bonaro family was ecstatic that they finally got their bucket list fish, and we were relieved!
A welled time shot taken this morning aboard the Main One with the Bonaro family.
The Mackerel bite has also been remarkably consistent. During the winter and spring months in the Florida Keys, we catch a lot of Cero and Spanish Mackerel, along with Kingfish (King Mackerel).
Kingfish grow to significantly larger sizes than their counterparts, and they are quite famous for smoking to make fish dip; since the flesh can be a bit oily and soft. However, the King’s cousins Cero and Spanish Mackerel are a whole ‘nother story. Sure, you can make fish dip with them too, but they are lovely to eat fried, grilled, baked, ceviche, or even sushi-style.
The Barillas family with their Yellowtail and Cero Mackerel catch.
We had the Adcock family out two days ago on the Main Attraction II. Their two junior anglers wanted to catch something big because they have a wall they plan to fill with fish mounts. When they asked to hook something cool-looking, Captain Alex said, “I know just the place.”
A little while later, Captain Alex had Tyler hooked up to his biggest barracuda yet, and he was ecstatic! You should have heard the fish stories the boys were telling back at the dock with such excitement and joy. It was a nice reminder of why we love what we do.
Tyler’s Barracuda is currently being mounted with Gray Taxidermy; a wonderful reminder of his spring break vacation to put on their wall!
The Adcock boys proudly showing off their catch aboard the Main Attraction II.
Despite the windy season, temperatures have remained in the 70- 80 range, primarily sunny; typical Florida Keys winter weather. As we like to say in the Keys, if it starts to rain, just wait 5 minutes!
We are excited for some great Permit fishing as it is about the time of year for them to start their spawn. We will have many exciting things to talk about in the coming months. Sailfish season is not quite over; there is still potential for some big days. Tarpon and Mahi season is right around the corner as well.
As always, we will keep you updated with the latest goings-on. If you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to reach out using our Contact page or by calling us at 305-289-0071.