It’s summertime, the air is hot and so is fishing on the flats! This is my favorite time of the year here in Key West. Flats fishing for bonefish, tarpon and permit is at its best now and with business slowing down, I get opportunities to do a little fishing myself.
With the rest of the country warmed up and the brutal winter a distant memory, fewer people are traveling to the Keys. Many of our residents are themselves up north enjoying their summer homes or taking extended vacations. This all adds up to town being quiet and very few boats on the water especially weekdays.
There are days on the water during the summer months I don’t see another skiff. I will have miles and miles of flats to myself. There has even been a few times over the years I’ve been the only boat fishing the Marquesas. Now that’s pretty awesome!!
I love fishing the flats now. Tides are good just about everyday, especially strong tides with negative lows early and late in the day around the new and full moon phases. These are excellent opportunities for casting to tailing bonefish and permit and a chance to wade the flats for these same fish. The big incoming tides are good for hunting baby tarpon around the mangrove islands in the backcountry and chasing permit on the flats.
Late spring through summer is when those special events occur on the water, such as the worm hatch and guppy hatches plus others that take place all summer long. Many of the fish species in our area and their prey spawn or migrate this time of year. Catching these events as they occur leads to spectacular fishing that we normally wouldn’t experience other times of the year.
Summer is also a time for me to do some other activities on the water that I very much enjoy and gives me a little break from flats fishing. Spearfishing, offshore and reef fishing, and lobstering are very good distractions for me - and a chance to put good food on the table. I am eager to take advantage when these opportunities arise, even though it might be only a few times a year.
Summer is a great time to catch up with friends I haven’t seen in several months when I was running trips everyday during tarpon season. It’s nice to relax on the water without the added pressure to produce for my clients. Of course I will be fishing and mostly on the flats, but whether fishing is red hot or a little slow, it doesn’t really matter. It’s a chance to unwind and enjoy the beautiful scenery.
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