08 Oct Florida Keys bonefishing
Florida keys Bonefishing
Bonefishing in the Florida keys is undoubtedly one of the most popular activities in south Florida. The keys have earned a reputation of being a difficult fishery with highly educated fish, low numbers of shots and record size specimens. In other words, Biscayne and the keys are considered an advance level fishery for bones that offers quality vs quantity.
Current situation of Bonefish in the keys
After the freeze in 2010, our bonefish population took a big hit, as well as the health of the areas they used for forage (the prolonged cold killed the grass at many areas). Between 2010 and 2015 we witnessed the bonefishing in south Florida go downhill tremendously.
On the other hand, the redfish populations skyrocketed during that time, Mother Nature cycles I guess. Things have turned around and now, we are having a harder time catching redfish and the bonefish are thriving throughout the keys. From Biscayne down to key west, the bonefishing has been as good as I’ve seen it in a long time.
The Bonefish are thriving
This summer and fall I have spent a lot of time bonefishing all over the keys with very favorable catches and reports. Biscayne Bay has been producing double digit fish along with healthy numbers of smaller fish in the 3 to 5lb range.
I’ve seen more fish in islamorada this year that I remember in a very long time. However, these fish haven’t been the monster islamorada bones we were used to hear about.
Most fish we are catching around Islamorada are between 2 and 5lbs. The good news are that they have been plentiful and we are seeing them and catching them in areas they had stop visiting several years ago.
Florida keys Bonefishing bonanza
The lower keys have also seen a tremendous improvement in numbers and size of bonefish. I have spent some days fishing down there with great success as well. The fish have been plentiful and some unusual big fish for those areas have been seen and caught.
I recently guided for a TV show down in keys west and was lucky to find and catch some double digit fish for the camera. The show is called trophy taker outdoors and should be on air in the pursuit channel by the end of the year. stay tuned and check it out.
Fall season patterns
Fall weather patterns are in full force now. The calm days of summer are over and now we are experiencing higher winds (starting to come from the north) and cooler air temperatures.
Big tides and bait supply
The biggest tides of the year are starting to happen. Bonefishing can be tough with all that water but the fish can still be caught. Plan your trips around the lowest water and work the shallowest flats available.
Permit love big tides and hard current. A fairly windy day along with good visibility is hard to beat for permit this time of the year.
Another great thing I love about fall is the bait migration. The schools of mullet and pilchards are starting to arrive in the bay, opening a new array of opportunities. Big jacks, tarpon, snook, sharks, ladyfish, snappers are the most common characters joining the party.
This is the time of the year I really love to fish for mutton snappers and grouper in Biscayne Bay. I like throwing the cast net, black out my livewell with bait and then go fish a shallow wreck in the bay. Mutton snappers are some of my favorite fish to catch and eat.
Hope my report was helpful to you. Give me a call and Let’s go have fun!
Capt Alex Zapata
Flats fishing guide
IFFF certified fly casting instructor
Miami, Everglades and the keys
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