The quality of the fishing at this time depends on the weather and most importantly water temperature. If the weather cooperates, bonefish, permit and tarpon are available target species. During that time permit are the most abundant of the three, having a better tolerance to colder water. This is a great time of year for shark, barracuda and jack, which are very reliable in the winter months. This is a great fishery for both the experienced on fly rod or inexperienced first time flats fisherman.
With warmer conditions around the corner, the first signs of tarpon begin to shown in a few of the basins and harbors. Permit fishing is picking up and if the water warms, permit fishing can be spectacular. Also with warm water, the bonefish and baby tarpon will make a showing. Still a great time for shark, barracuda and jack.
March is the month of change. Permit flood the flats during March before their offshore spawn at the end of April. Bonefishing can get very good, especially for the big bruisers. The tarpon start moving up onto the flats and basins. This is the start of our “laid up” tarpon fishery. Many believe that if the weather cooperates, this is a time when keys fishing is as good as it gets.
Tarpon fishing continues to get better by the day. Permit and bonefishing, its hard to decide, all three make a strong appearance. Fishermen’s dreams do come true. A sight of a tarpon taking a fly or bait is as exciting as it gets.
Prime time for tarpon during these months. Watching a 100 pound tarpon track, then rise up and engulf a fly is one of those scenes that can not be forgotten. During this time of year, it is not uncommon to see and throw at literally hundreds of tarpon per day. At the same time there are lots of bonefish on the flats and the permit start to come back to the flats in May and get really strong in June. June is one of my favorite months to fish – low winds, tons of fish.
Along with June, July is a great month to be here in the Keys. A lot of the part time guides have gone home out west, so there is little fishing pressure. The weather is great and the fish are plentiful. Baby tarpon are in their peak. The permit are schooled up on the flats. Big tarpon are still found, but are thinning out.