Every year, I am asked the most common question a guide can get--“Which month is the best month to fish?” I always have a hard time answering that question because every year is different in regards to the weather, which plays a huge role in how the fishing will be. The safe answer is spring and fall. Historically, spring and fall are known as the best times because of the abundance of different species available to anglers--tarpon, permit, bonefish, snook, redfish, sharks, etc.
Springtime fishing is all about opportunities and being set up to take advantage of whatever gets thrown at you. By now, we should have already experienced the coldest days of the year, with a few more cold fronts to be expected this month, as we transition out of our wintertime fishery. During this time of year, the weather plays a huge role as to what species we target and when. Last year, I was lucky to have fly anglers fishing during the best weather days, and spin anglers during the less than perfect sight-fishing days. That’s me, but, if you are looking to target something, then I suggest that you give yourself a few days to do so rather than pick one day and hope the weather cooperates.
In the backcountry I spend a lot of time fishing for snook, redfish, and baby tarpon, on almost a daily basis, with fly and spin tackle. Baitfish or shrimp pattern flies seem to be the best all around flies targeting several species successfully. I start my day throwing either a dark or light version of my favorite pattern and see which one gets the most approvals. Additionally, every backcountry fly I have has some form of weed guard on it; when fishing around structure, or anywhere in Florida Bay, weed guards are a must. But, as I said before, not every day is stellar--that’s when I fall back on shark fishing on fly. For this, you really do not need perfect sight-fishing condition; all it takes is a stringer full of barracuda, ladyfish, mackerel, etc. The flies we use are nothing super special, just big red or green flies with a wire leader, tied to a 20lb. break section to keep it sporting. Sharks are typically common during the spring months and can provide lots of excitement and action.
Closer to home, I spend the rest of my days targeting bonefish, permit, and tarpon, either in Islamorada or Key Largo. Everybody has their favorite tide to fish for different species, and it comes down to throwing flies or slinging bait. Luckily, here in the Upper Keys there is always something to target no matter what the tide, it just comes down to personnel preferences.
Interested in all this fly-fishing stuff? Then you are in luck! For the 27th year, Florida Keys Outfitters is offering world-class fly-fishing instruction in a no pressure environment. Sessions take place over weekends during two full days, 9-5 (with lunch provided), where you will be taught all about the equipment, knots, casting, rigging, how to fight a fish, and how to work with a guide. Upcoming classes will be held the weekend of March 18th, 2017, April 29th, 2017, and June 24th, 2017. To learn more about the classes or register, just contact Florida Keys Outfitters at (305) 664-5423, check out the web site: www.floridakeysoutfitters.com, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
For those of you who know me, know that, to me, fishing is more than just a game, it is a way of life. So fish hard and fish often!
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