Cooling Off In The Keys

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Cooling Off in the KeysWe are starting to get into the fall and that is one of the best times of year to fish in the Florida Keys. Even though it is still blazing hot, the air definitely has a different feel to it and may even be a little less humid. Now what makes the fishing so great in the fall? Cooler weather for one thing. It is a welcome change for the fish as well. This summer water temperatures were really hot, sometimes reaching into the low 90’s in parts of the bay. As we get into winter, the temperature will slowly drop as we start getting more northeasterly winds bringing down cool air, and of course the cold fronts can drop temperatures significantly. With those winds we also get a strong push of bait usually for several weeks. This often happens as early as mid-October and can last through November. I have already started to see some pushes of bait coming down the mainland coasts. Tons of mullet both large and small were visible all along the shorelines, creek mouths, and flats of the Everglades. Obviously lots of bait usually means lots of aggressive, hungry fish following after them! Another great thing about this time of year is that it is still part of what we consider the off season here in the Keys. Business is at an all time low in September throughout the Keys, and while things perk up a little in October and November it is still on the slower side except over Thanksgiving of course. That means you can enjoy our great fishery and feel like you have the whole place to yourself. Now what type of fishing is good in the fall? The bait run often brings us stellar tarpon fishing for a few weeks, plus good action with snook and redfish in the Everglades areas. The tarpon fishing however will be starting to slow down through the winter until things warm up again. Bonefish fishing has traditionally been good in the fall with the ‘big tides’ that it brings. Permit, cobia, and tripletails can be found in the Gulf on the wrecks, especially on the calmer days. You’ll have some of those days where it is calm and the water just has that lively blue/green color to it. Spanish mackerel are beginning to make an appearance in the bays which is great action for light tackle enthusiasts. Patch reef fishing really starts to get good in November, and will remain strong through the winter into the spring. The patches often hold a mix of fish like porgy, hogfish, snapper, grouper and the occasional permit. I hope you get a chance to go out on the water and enjoy some of the changes in weather and the great fishing fall has to offer!


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