January/February Fishing Report

The fishing the last couple of months has been increasingly improving. The “winter” has been very mild and temperatures have been fairly steady for the majority of the last two months. With the exception of a few cold fronts moving through quickly the environment has been consistent and the fish become more predictable and responsive. With consistent temps, water temps have been hovering near 80 degrees which is a great temperature for most fish.

We had a chance to fish the Cuda Bowl the first week of February during Super Bowl Weekend. I got to fish with Cody Miller who is a great angler and incredible fly tier. The fishing was really good during the couple days leading up to the tournament as well as the first day of the tournament. There were plenty of fish out there and we had more than our share of chances. We stuck to throwing flies for the entire tournament and we able to turn in one fish at 41″ in length. There were 49 boats and 69 anglers participating in the tournament. Over two days, we all managed to catch over 9,200 inches of barracudas. While we weren’t able to capitalize on most of our opportunities, we had an incredible tournament and really enjoyed the time on the water. Congrats to all the winners and participants for a great showing. Also, big thanks to Loren Rea and co. for putting on an awesome tournament. We will be back next year.

Fishing in the Backcountry is producing great numbers of sea trout, pompano, large jack crevalles, snappers, barracudas, and sharks. We fish artificial lures primarily and regularly find multiple species on the same lure. The trout bite in particular has been the best we have seen in years.

Flats fishing is rolling into the spring time patterns with good numbers of bonefish around. These fish are a blast on fly or light spinning gear. This fishery will only get better as the year progresses. There are still plenty of big barracudas on the flats as well. These toothy guys make awesome runs and can come flying out of the water during the fight. There have been some large fish taken on artificial lures up to 20 lbs in the last few weeks.

Tarpon fishing is starting to pick up as well. The resident gulf fish are moving into the local cuts and areas we like to fish in decent numbers already. We are getting a wide range of sizes from 15 lbs up to 60lbs at this point. This warm water may speed up the migratory fish, but we haven’t seen them here just yet. Stalking tarpon on flats and channel edges with flies can produce a lot of excitement and a great challenge. We can also use live bait or other artificial lures on spinning tackle to get the job done.

Overall, it has been a great winter. Things are getting busier by the day and it’s shaping up to be a great year all around. Prime Tarpon dates are filling up, but there are still a few available. If you’ve never done any fishing in Key West, you should do yourself a favor and take the plunge. You won’t regret it.

Thanks for reading,

Capt. Brian

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Captain Brian Stilley