Winter time fishing in Key West

Winter time fishing in Key West can be very good. You get wide variety of options in winter as long as you get the weather.

The wind tends to blow more in the winter, and that fluctuates every year, some winters are windier then others.


Sailfish show up around November and December and they tend to like it the windier the better.

Black fin tuna also start to show, often on the deeper wrecks such as the sub and airplane wreck.

The wahoo run begins somewhere in this time, depending on reports the whole key west fleet will be at the end of the bar targeting these fish, along with king mackerel, amber jacks and other offshore fish that congregate there.

The bar in Key West is second dead reef that is outside the main barrier reef. This bar comes up to 50 feet deep on the top, to the north and south this bar drops off to 100+. In the winter when the currents are right, this bar will be bathed in dark blue water and often ripping currents. These conditions will cause upwellings, which will make huge schools of bait congregate out there, speedos, bar jacks and blue runners primarily. This bait attracts the predators.

The most sought after fish out there will be the wahoo which can grow to over 80#. They will not be the only fish shadowing these bait schools, mackerel will be out there in force both king and cero. Yellow jacks, amber jacks sometimes crevelle jacks. Sailfish and the occasionally a dolphin as well.

Numerous sharks will be cruising this area as well.


The colder water turns on the reef big time. Grouper will suddenly be everywhere and you will catch nice reef fish in very shallow water. There will also be a lot more pelagic fish on the reef such as mackerel and jacks.

Big yellow tails will congregate on the bar and deeper reef, these are commonly called flags. They are harder to catch then the smaller versions but once you can get them biting it’s really blast catching them.

The inshore patch reefs can be very productive at this time, and often will have a lot of mutton snappers along with red grouper.


Fall fishing in Key West

Fishing in fall can be pretty productive on the reef for snapper, but the grouper don’t really start coming back until the water gets colder.

We often have a lot of calm weather in the early fall and these flats calm days can be great for running to more remote fishing spots but offshore fishing is not usually that great this time of year.

The dolphin have kind of cleared bout and the sailfish don’t really start showing up until the cold fronts of December and November.

Lobstering can be cery good, particularly in September.

This is the off season and there will be way less people on the island.  There will be no snow birds, and it is when many locals take off for their vacations.

Summertime fishing in Key West

When I say summertime fishing in Key West what I am more referring to is July, August and September. In terms of fishing the change from spring to summer takes place more somewhere in July.

Warmer Water

Typically in July the water will start getting hot and you will algae blooms which tend to turn the water on the reef green. The warm water is not as good fishing for some species of fish like grouper, yellow jacks, and amber jacks.

A lot of fish will move deeper this time of year, shallow patches that were on fire a couple months earlier will turn into ghost towns.

There will still be dolphin offshore but the big rush that happens in May and June will usually slow down. Tarpon will still be around and off course sharks.

Snapper Fishing

The snapper will be still around on the reef and in good numbers, as it gets later in the season the gray snapper on the reef tend to get smaller, as the bigger ones complete their spawn and head back to the gulf. These fish can pretty smart and sometimes it will take some live bait to catch both the larger yellow tails and larger grey snappers.

Bottom fishing in the deep water will be very productive. Also the gulf can be good this time of year but you may have to run farther then when the water was cooler.

Lobster Season

August marks the mini sport season for lobster the beginning of the regular lobster season, so that will be red hot for the first month or so.

The seas tend to be calm during this time period so although the fishing might be a big slower, it will be very easy to run further distances so sometimes that will make up for it.  This can allow for longer trips such as the Air force relay towers in the gulf of Mexico.