April 2023 Fishing Report

Fishing in Key West has been steady this year so far. A lot of different weather trends have had us fishing in many different areas. We had a really warm February, which brought a lot of early tarpon to the area. March had some cool moments and some high winds which pushed them back a little, but helped our main fishery. The winds are good because they move things around in the water. The winds are not good for us, because of safety reasons and fishability, but help the fishery overall when we do get out once the winds have calmed down.

Coming into April we will be seeing more and more tarpon showing up. This is what a lot of people are wanting to fish for. Other than tarpon, we still have some of our winter time targets like sea trout and pompano. Many species thrive including a few types of sharks, snappers, barracuda, jacks, and more.

key west yellowjack

One thing that a lot of backcountry guides have had a problem with lately, is people booking backcountry charters to think that they are going to fill a cooler. This is not what we do in the backcountry or the shallows, at least in this part of the state. That is a light tackle reef trip or offshore fishing trip. The backcountry is too delicate to be wiping out a spot so you can fill your freezer. Taking enough for the people on the boat to have a meal is fine. Backcountry trips are designed for action and sport fish, not food fish. 

If you really want to fill your freezer or feed a big group of people, the seafood market has plenty fish that are already caught. If you used the same amount of money you were going to use on your charter, maybe even half, you would be able to feed a large group of people by going there. 

Going out on a backcountry charter to base it off of food fishing is shooting yourself in the foot. Take advantage of going to catch fish and a variety of species. If it happens that you can bring a couple home, consider that a bonus. Maybe even ask your captain to spend a little time trying to catch some food fish, but not base the trip around it. If you’re really interested in filling coolers or harvesting a ton of fish, do not book a backcountry trip. Book a reef trip or go to the marke