Springtime is considered the best time to fish in Key West and the Florida Keys. Many species are spawning and often there is good weather although the beginning of spring can be touch and go.
Tarpon are here
The big tarpon migration is in full swing and there is big tarpon cruising all the islands of the Florida Keys. These silver giants will often cruise shallow flats and channels right along the shore. In fact, at night you can often see and hear them breaking the water right next to shore. Many light tackle boats will be targeting this fish right in the harbor and the channels leading to and from it.
The mangrove snapper and mutton snapper will start forming their spawning aggregation in the spring. You can literally catch fish until your arms fall off if you get near one of these schools. Currently, it is legal to target the spawn but these regulations might be changing shortly. If you do get on a mutton school that is spawning please just take a few, don’t take everyone you can.
Dolphin are thick
May and June are considered the best time to fish for mahi-mahi. They will be cruising the waters of Key West starting at the reef’s edge and then out about as far as you want to go. They will often be in large schools when the fish are smaller with the big fish running in singles and pairs. On a flat calm day this can be really a spectacular day on the water…fishing the dark blue water of the gulf stream and catching a lot of mahi. They tend to be pretty aggressive and are not hard to get to bite. Pretty much everyone at every skill level can target these fish.
Grouper season just opened
Shallow water groupers are legal to take again on May 1st and there will be a lot of them caught the first month of the season. These fish have been protected since January first and many of the large underwater structures by Key West will have many of these fish congregating on them. They are also considered one of the best-eating fish in the ocean so if you get one, you will probably want to take it home with you.
In summary, you cannot really go wrong with fishing Key West in the spring, but you will not be alone. Fisherman from all over the world will also be here!