Key West Summer Fishing
*Typical weather patterns this time of year:
Light and variable winds, chances of precipitation starting mid-day towards the afternoon. Rare to see a day that is completely rainy all day. Temperatures very hot mid day and afternoon.
Summer Time Backcountry Fishing
Fishing the backcountry in the summer time is different every day. Depending on how much rain we have gotten or wether its cloudy or not can really make a big difference in the fishing. The waters can get very hot when you are in the shallows and closer to the mangrove islands. Water temperatures have been seen in the mid 90s in these shallow estuaries. Finding the cooler water is key to a successful day, as most fish do not like temperatures that high.
We have found out that fishing the shallows earlier in the morning can be very beneficial. These fish seem to be a lot more active at these times since the temperatures have not risen quite yet. We will see permit and bonefish up on the flats, as well as a possibility of a tarpon in a nearby channel. Even though tarpon season is in the spring, we still have some local fish that we get into every once in a while. In the channels, we also have jacks, snappers, grouper, barracudas, and definitely sharks. If it is too calm out and too hot too quickly, we move out to some deeper water and fish more of a reef setting.
Summer Time at the Reef
Fishing at the reef in the summer time can be quite productive, especially if the backcountry waters are heating up. The deeper waters in the Atlantic take much longer to heat up. In the summer, we always look forward to the mangrove snapper spawn. This happens usually early to mid July, and lasts half way into August. This is when a majority of the mangrove snappers move from their inshore or nearshore habitat to the reef at depths around 60 feet. Mangrove snapper are the most productive fish to catch in that timeframe. It is common for the weather to be nice enough for bay boats and smaller boats to get out there daily. This is also a good thing to do on the second half of your charter if you fish the backcountry in the morning when it’s cooler.
Other fish hanging around these same reefs include yellowtail snapper, mutton snapper, grouper, sharks, barracuda, amberjack, mackerel, and other tropical bottom dwellers. Some days the backcountry is where you’re going to find your target species and hard to catch species like permit and bonefish, while the reef serves for extreme action and food fishing!
*Another fun thing to do in the summer time is to rent some snorkel gear to bring along the boat with you. A lot of people like to go snorkeling at the remainder of their day to COOL OFF from the heat and relax after their day of catching!